Tag Archives: Marketing Articles

Understanding the Importance of Decision Triggers in Selling to Your Prospects



By Jill J. Johnson

A key component of effective target marketing involves developing deep insight into how the decision-making process influences your prospects to make their purchasing choices. For organizations working with diverse customer needs, moving your prospects from “I’m interested” to “I’ll buy” is a complex process. What’s significant and how this will impact each of your prospects in their buying decisions can vary. These buying decisions may also impact how they view the value of buying additional services or other resources you offer.

Understanding how your target market makes decisions is fundamental to more effectively promoting your products and services. It’s essential for you to understand your prospect’s decision-making process and what triggers their buying decisions to move your sales more quickly to a “yes.” Insight into what triggers your prospects in their decision-making process allows you to adapt your messages to highlight the unique characteristics of concern to them. You want to adapt your sales approach to their needs rather than using a cookie-cutter approach. By tailoring your promotional strategies, you can enhance your opportunities to win the sale or deepen your relationship with your potential customer. You can use this insight to carefully craft your sales approach to meet their unique needs and concerns.

Your goal is to keep them engaged with you and moving forward toward completing the sale and joining your customer ranks Click To Tweet

Each Prospect Has Unique Decision Triggers

Knowing what will move your prospects forward in a sale is just as important as knowing what is holding them back from saying yes. Decision triggers can range from stress about the costs of your product or service and not understanding the value-add you offer to believing they need support for the decision from a trusted member of their leadership team. In your sales approach, you need to utilize probing questions to isolate how they will make their decision about investing in buying a product or service from you. You must also uncover and understand the motives of who else is involved in making the decision.

Do the work to understand what decision triggers are at play with your prospective customers and with the other key stakeholders they rely on for support. Knowing how to activate or neutralize these triggers will provide you with vital insight on how to adjust your sales-messaging tactics. Once you understand their decision triggers, you can determine what you should provide your prospect so they can move forward with their decision to buy from you. 

Navigate the Decision Continuum

As you move your prospective customers through their decision continuum, consider what your goals are each step of the way. If they reach out to you via your website or email, your goal is to get them to talk with you in person. If they ask you for information, determine what information they really need and what you can follow up with if the sale is going to take longer than one interaction. Your goal is to keep them engaged with you and moving forward toward completing the sale and joining your customer ranks, both now and long-term. 

Understanding how to navigate a prospect along their decision continuum requires you to probe carefully about what is important to them and their key stakeholders. In this process, you identify their critical decision triggers while gaining an understanding of how to incorporate this insight into your sales approach. 

All too often when a company or organization has been around a long time, the process of selling to prospects becomes stagnant. Use decision insight to make sure your messaging is fresh, unique, and clearly matched to the evolving needs of your prospect. It might be time to reassess and revise your messaging to ensure you’re hitting the hot buttons of your prospects and matching your approach to what they’re most concerned about. This approach will get them to buy and stay with you beyond the initial sale. 

Decision Triggers Drive Sales and Promotional Strategy

Listen carefully to the words your prospective customers use and how they describe their needs and concerns. This insight can help you shape your sales messaging back to them in ways that mirror their words. As you match your sales messaging to where they are on their decision continuum, you will have a better understanding of how to highlight key product or service features or benefits. This approach leverages the decision triggers to your target market to match what matters most to them. By specifically tailoring your messages to your prospect’s decision triggers, you can significantly increase the potential for achieving the sale. What you offer only matters if it matters to your prospective customers. 

Once you understand the decision triggers driving your sales prospects, you can tie it to the rest of your promotional strategy. You can incorporate your deep customer insight into all your collateral materials, advertising, public relations stories, video clips, website, and social media. These communications messages can reinforce how you want your prospective customers to respond to your sales messages. If there is a disconnect anywhere in the decision continuum, you’re at risk of not achieving the sales success you desire.

Final Thoughts

By incorporating insight about your prospective customer’s decision triggers, you can help your prospect gain confidence that your product or service will truly benefit them and make a difference in their life or business. They will have more confidence in buying from you because you will have tied your presentation to their concerns. 

As a result, your prospective customers receive reassurance that your products or services can and will effectively meet their needs. Using your prospect’s decision triggers will make your sales cycle more efficient. It will result in more sales, help you build superior customer relationships, and boost customer satisfaction when you deliver on what you promised. 

Jill J. Johnson is the president and founder of Johnson Consulting Services, an accomplished speaker, an award-winning management consultant, and author of the best-selling book Compounding Your Confidence. Jill helps her clients make critical business decisions and develop market-based strategic plans for turnarounds or growth. Her consulting work has impacted more than four billion dollars’ worth of decisions. She has a proven track record of dealing with complex business issues and getting results. For more information, visit www.jcs-usa.com.

Top Tips for Beginning Telemarketers


By Patrick Bailey

Telemarketing can be quite stressful and daunting, especially for beginners. There is often a fear that your prospects will hang up on you or be straight-out rude. Many beginners are afraid they will get tongue-tied and forget what to say at critical times in the conversation. In addition, you might also feel anxious when it comes to answering tough questions that arise during your conversation.

However, good telemarketers are a valuable, cherished asset to any company. The thing is that most of them didn’t start out being telemarketing winners. They started out making their first call just like all novices do when beginning a new career. Of course, they likely began with high energy and a positive attitude. However, you can bet they had the same fears as every cold-caller.

If you are a telemarketer novice, you don’t have to feel afraid or overwhelmed making your first cold call. These tips can help you breeze through your calls. Start using them and see how they help you and your business.

Take a deep breath and move on from bad calls because you never know what your next call will entail. It might be the best one of the day. Click To Tweet

Try to Stay Relaxed

To be a top telemarketer, you need to stay relaxed and sound as comfortable as possible using natural language. Prospects don’t respond well to scripted calls in which the telemarketer sounds stiff. The more you use generic introductions such as “How are you doing today?” or “Hello, how is everything going for you?” the easier it is for your prospects to tag you as the typical telemarketer right from the onset. Try to stay relaxed and soften your tone to sound more interesting, and then your entire conversation will go more smoothly.

Make Plenty of Calls

First, realize that prospects won’t be walking into your establishment to give you their business. They won’t be ringing your bell to ask you for your services. The reality is you won’t be getting any business without making a call. Therefore, make enough calls to ensure that you bring in new clientele. Stay focused and don’t become distracted with other activities going on around you. 

Many experts say the best telemarketers make one hundred calls during a seven-hour shift. However, if you are having engaging conversations, the numbers of calls you make will decrease. On the other hand, if you are only reaching voicemail or answering machines, the amount of calls you should be making increases to about 140 calls for a seven-hour shift. 

Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Prospects

You should know how to answer the following important questions: 

  • Why should your prospects talk to you?
  • What do you have that can benefit your prospects?
  • Why do your prospects need to use you when they already have a supplier offering the same services or products you provide? 
  • What will your prospects get out of the services you offer? 

If you can answer these questions while speaking with your prospects, you will be able to obtain better results. Although it’s not ideal to use a script, you must be able to have a clear answer to why you are calling and what your prospects can gain by choosing you over anyone else. Do a little research beforehand and understand why you are making the call. This way you can face hard questions from any prospect you reach.

Be Prepared

Being prepared is essential to be a successful telemarketer. This is especially true in cases where data is involved. Giving bad data is a surefire sign your call will go awry. To address this, you might set up a pre-call planning agenda. This agenda will identify and refine your target market.

Build Resilience

Let’s face it, telemarketing can be tough. You must build resilience. This means you need to develop a thick skin. If you take to heart every hang-up or negative call, you will surely become overwhelmed and extremely stressed. You must remember to take a deep breath and move on from bad calls because you never know what your next call will entail. It might be the best one of the day.

Training Can Help

If you are just starting out in telemarketing, training could help you get some guidance on methods used within the industry. The fact is that not everything a person does comes instinctively. The person next to you might be a natural at sales. However, many people need a little extra training to learn the ins and outs of being a great salesperson. There is nothing wrong with getting help to improve your results.

Dealing with Rejections

Be realistic. You will face roadblocks. It’s part of telemarketing. It’s also part of life, such as recovering from abuse, being fired, having to move, or getting a new job. Many people face these at one point or another during their lifetime. The important thing about rejection is that you can learn to use it to better yourself. Don’t let rejections dampen your day. Look at them, and ask yourself how you can learn from each one. This will help you become a successful telemarketer.

Conclusion

These tips won’t make you an effective winner overnight. However, they can help improve your chances of someday becoming one of the best telemarketers in town. Taking the initiative can help you enhance your telemarketing skills. 

These tips have helped many other telemarketers and business owners. Whether you are new to the telemarketing business, new to making business calls, or you have been at it awhile and need a refresher, these tips will help you move forward. 

Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoys writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.

How to Write an Outbound Telemarketing Script



By Julie Kramme

So, you’ve decided to use outbound calling as part of your sales and marketing strategy. You’ve acquired a list of prospects to call, and you know what you want the outcome of those calls to be. Now you need to develop a message for your telemarketing staff to effectively convey on your behalf. You need a telemarketing script. But what does that look like?

What Should a Telemarketing Script Include?

For some call center agents, a traditional script that tells your agent what you want to say and how you want them to say it works well—especially for those who are new and still building confidence. The challenge with traditional scripting is that with time and repetition, message delivery can get a bit stale. How can we prevent this? Through training and motivation, of course! But that’s not the only way.

Carefully consider your wording to avoid sounding too rigid or too official early in the conversation. Click To Tweet

When to Consider Eliminating the Telemarketing Script

The key to ensuring long-term effectiveness of your outbound telemarketing script may be to eliminate the script. Instead of writing paragraphs for agents to read, consider developing an outline or road map that provides directional conversation and key talking points to assist the agent in accomplishing their objective. Doing so allows the agent to insert their personality, use their own words, and build credibility with the prospect.

Using talking points works particularly well with lead generation, sales, and recruitment calls. But in other scenarios, such as market research and survey calls, where it’s important to eliminate personal opinions or bias, a traditional script may be necessary. So be open to both methods. Regardless of which approach you take, include the following components to ensure long-term effectiveness of your outbound telemarketing script.

Eight Components of an Outbound Telemarketing Script

1. Introduction: When making an outbound call, getting your “foot in the door” can be the biggest hurdle. Utilizing an effective call introduction is key. Keep it short: Who are you? Why are you calling? Why should the prospect listen?

2. Transition Statements: Be mindful of your prospect’s time, and be aware that your call interrupted their day. Use transition statements to set expectations and to maintain call control while moving from one phase of the conversation to the next.

3. Discovery: Learning about your prospect’s needs is the key to winning their business. Take a minute to ask them a few simple questions about what they’re doing today, what they like about it, and what they don’t. Use a combination of open- and close-ended questions to ensure qualification and get your prospect talking so you can build rapport.

4. Presentation: When presenting an offer, keep it concise. Clearly outline the key details of your proposal, and don’t forget to apply what you learned during the discovery phase of the conversation. Always tie your prospect’s needs back to a feature that provides benefit to them. Verbalizing these value statements is the key to generating interest and buy-in.

5. Assumptive Close: Be confident in your offering. If you’re setting an appointment, go ahead and ask what time of day works best for your prospect. If you’re selling a paid service, ask what method of payment they’d like to use to complete their order today. Until the prospect gives you a reason to believe they’re not interested, always assume a positive outcome.

6. Confirmation/Recap: Take a moment to confirm your prospect’s contact info and ensure they understand their level of commitment, along with any actions they must take. Then set expectations for the next steps. For example, when setting an appointment, let your prospect know that they’ll be getting an email confirmation, and schedule appointments within reasonable time frames to ensure follow through.

7. FAQs/Rebuttals: This is the most important component of any telemarketing script. Answering questions and overcoming objections is often the most difficult step for any telemarketing agent to master. Always remember that knowledge is power. Arm your team with the necessary tools to complete their objective successfully. Anticipate common questions and objections, providing talking points to help agents over these hurdles.

8. Compliance: Always make sure your telemarketing script includes any language that is a legal requirement, such as disclosing that you’re calling on a recorded line. Make this verbiage stand out so that it’s not easily overlooked. Also, carefully consider your wording to avoid sounding too rigid or too official early in the conversation, as this can make prospects wary about the call.

Listening Skills and a Positive Attitude Make the Difference

Two additional components are vital to the long-term effectiveness of your telemarketing script: a listening ear and a positive attitude. An agent’s ability to listen to their prospect and stay upbeat has more impact on the long-term success of your program than any scripted component. In a job full of repetition and rejection, this is a challenge. 

Work with other leaders on your team to apply this information. These telemarketing script components, when combined with effective training, motivational leadership, and responsible quality assurance practices, are sure to make your program a success, now and in the future.

Julie Kramme leads the sales team as sales executive for Quality Contact Solutions. Julie has a record for building strong and lasting partnerships with each client she works with. With more than twenty years of call center and telemarketing industry experience, Julie is an expert in call center operations, regulatory compliance, and technology. She assists each client with creating customized solutions to meet their growth and customer engagement goals. Julie’s primary passion is achieving goals without sacrificing quality.

Five Website Features That May Be Working Against You



By Molly Yurick

Contrary to popular belief, your website is not about the products you sell, the services you provide, or the information you share. It’s about the people who visit it and their needs. As a website owner, your job is to turn those visitors into paying clients. But before you can do that, you must keep visitors on your website long enough to pique their interest. And that means not scaring off your prospects with features that are annoying or—even worse—make you look unprofessional.

With all the web-design elements available today, it’s easy to lose sight of what will work best for your target audience. However, once you shift your focus to serving your visitors’ needs instead of your own, avoiding these features becomes much easier.

Here are five website features that may work against you:

1. Aggressive Pop-Ups

Pop-ups come in all shapes and sizes. Some are intended to persuade visitors to interact with your call-to-action (“Sign up for our newsletter” or “Take our survey”), while others are paid advertisements to bring in some extra income. But let’s be honest: pop-ups are quite bothersome, especially if they appear repeatedly. Expect to lose visitors if they must spend more time closing pop-up windows than exploring your content. If you feel you need to include pop-ups on your site, make sure you do your homework, place them well, and use them wisely.

2. Translation Plug-In

Translating your website into other languages is a smart business move if you are looking to expand internationally. It makes your products or services available to more people in more places and may very well increase your sales and online success. While it might seem like a translation plug-in or machine translation service will save you time and money, think twice before acting. 

Machine translation systems are great at getting the gist of a text, but they often skew the meaning. For example, in some languages, a popular machine translation tool translated “US President” as “Bush” well into the Obama administration. To avoid embarrassing mistakes that scare off global customers, it makes more sense to hire a professional translator who can perfectly craft your message for your audiences abroad.

Let users decide whether they want to watch the video instead of deciding for them. Click To Tweet

3. Auto-Play Video

It’s happened to every internet surfer out there. They arrive at a new website and an unfamiliar voice or loud music blasts through their speakers. They frantically stop the video, rub their sore ears, shake their fist at the screen, and close the tab. Video may be all the rage right now, but the secret lies in knowing how to use it effectively. 

Auto-play videos—whether for informational purposes or to bring in revenue from advertisers—are annoying and will often push visitors away from your site. If you plan on using video on your website, add a prominent play button instead of having it auto-play. Let users decide whether they want to watch the video instead of deciding for them.

4. A Dysfunctional Mobile Version of Your Website

Mobile internet usage now surpasses computer usage. This means that you must have a mobile-friendly version of your website that maintains all the same key functions as the desktop version. If visitors do not have a positive experience when they land on your mobile site, you may drive away a huge portion of potential traffic. So make sure your website is responsive. Responsive websites include all the same content and information on any device used to access them, but the display changes automatically based on the size of the viewer’s screen.

5. Infinite-Scrolling Home Page

Infinite scrolling is a design technique in which content continuously populates at the bottom of the screen as the user scrolls down the page. This technique can be effective for certain types of sites, but for most users, an infinitely long home page can be distracting and confusing. It increases load time, makes navigation and linking messy, and hides or eliminates the highly valuable website footer. Users often search the footer for contact information, social media links, and privacy or security notices. If you’re not sure what type of home page will work best for your target audience, consult with a web-design professional.

Whether you are a freelancer or you own a multimillion-dollar company, all you must remember is this: make your website for them, not for you.

Molly Yurick is a Spanish-to-English translator specializing in tourism, hospitality, and airline industry translations. She is also an active volunteer for the American Translators Association, which represents over ten thousand translators and interpreters across 103 countries. For more information on ATA and to hire a translation or interpreting professional, please visit www.atanet.org.

Telemarketing Appointment Setting Best Practices: Part 3



By Angela Garfinkel

In Part 1 of “Telemarketing Appointment Setting Best Practices,” we discussed how to maximize the appointment kept rate when conducting telemarketing appointment setting. In addition, we introduced the six primary components of a successful telemarketing appointment setting program.

In Part 2, we discussed how to write an effective script that delivers a powerful nutshell message with a clear WIIFM (What’s In It for Me?).

All outbound telemarketing appointment setting professionals know that the third key component of success is the list you’re calling. In Part 3 of this series on telemarketing appointment setting, I’ll share my experience with curating the best outbound call list. Because my primary list purchase experience is in B2B appointment setting, I’ll focus there.

Because NAICS is more specific than SIC codes, we prefer to purchase outbound telemarketing call lists using NAICS. Click To Tweet

What Makes a Good List?

How do you identify what list to purchase? If you already have existing customers for your product or service, start by identifying what characteristics make up your best ones. Pinpointing your best customers and their similar characteristics become your criteria for purchasing prospect data from which to make outbound telemarketing appointment setting calls.

In the US there are about fifteen million businesses. There are many different list companies that will sell you business data, but knowing which segment(s) of the fifteen million businesses you should target is critical.

Here are some common B2B list selection variables:

• SIC (Standard Industrial Classification)
• NAICS (North American Industry Classification System)
• Revenues
• Number of employees
• Geography, typically by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
• Type of location (single, headquarters, branch)
• Credit rating
• Holding status (private, public)

Because NAICS is more specific than SIC codes, we prefer to purchase outbound telemarketing call lists using NAICS. This allows us to narrow the list to ensure we aren’t purchasing data that isn’t applicable for a client. For example, a travel solutions client is looking for businesses that have employees who travel. One of our good segments is construction. The NAICS code for construction starts with 23. We know that purchasing all available data with a NAICS code that starts with 23 is a waste of money. By narrowing it down to the type of construction, we can get better results. Single family home construction companies (NAICS 236115) don’t tend to have employees who travel. Specialized large project construction companies (such as NAICS 236210) tend to have employees who do travel. They go where the work is because large projects often aren’t in the geographic region where the construction company is located. This is just one example.

Create a Model, Validate, and Test

Once you’ve identified your best customers, purchased a list of more prospects that have the same characteristics as your best customers (called a look-alike model), then start placing calls. As you get call result data (disposition data) from the outbound B2B telemarketing appointment setting campaign, feed the results back to your data scientists to validate the model. Then tweak the model based on real performance.

Expertise Is Invaluable

Depending on the size of your company, it may even make sense to hire a list analyst to work full-time on developing your prospecting list. The alternative is relying on account reps from the list companies you purchase from. Their experience can be varied, and their ambition of selling you a larger list doesn’t necessarily align with your objective of buying just enough of the right list to achieve your goals.

If you could increase your telemarketing appointment set percentage by even a small amount, what would that be worth to you? List acquisition is a specialized field, and the options are varied. As a rule of thumb, we like to purchase data from compiled resources such as D&B, InfoUSA, and Accudata. Knowing who you want to target with your calling effort, knowing the results of the calls, and tracking performance by list segment will help drive smarter list acquisition efforts.

Angela Garfinkel is the president and founder of Quality Contact Solutions (https://qualitycontactsolutions.com), a leading outsourced telemarketing services organization serving the healthcare, financial services, automotive, market research, professional associations, and other B2B focused verticals. Angela leads a talented team that runs thousands of outbound telemarketing program hours daily. She is also a certified Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) auditor with the Professional Association for Customer Engagement, and she is a designated Customer Engagement Compliance Professional (CECP). Contact Angela at angela.garfinkel@qualitycontactsolutions.com or 516-656-5118.

Marketing and Sales Integration: Optimizing Your Business



By Adam Mergist

With the rise of the internet and streamlined conversion paths provided by megabrands such as Amazon, consumers expect more from every company they interact with. These higher expectations start at the very first communication—whether that interaction is via email, phone, or some other channel. According to Forbes contributor Stan Phelps, “76 percent of customers expect organizations to understand their individual needs,” while 81 percent demand “improved response time,” and 68 percent “anticipate organizations will harmonize consumer experiences.”

Those are high expectations for every part of the customer journey, from marketing to customer service. Such a demand poses an important question: How do companies meet such lofty expectations on a consistent basis?

The best place to start is with corporate integration. Here are four reasons you should take your company to the next level by integrating your sales and marketing data.

Better Cater to Consumers

The most dominant company in the world, Amazon, has set the customer service bar higher for every company. As an accounting of Amazon’s success, founder Jeff Bezos says, “We’re not competitor obsessed; we’re customer obsessed. We start with the customer, and we work backwards.” That’s an easy thing for the world’s richest person to say; what’s harder is backing it up. To follow through on Bezos’ big words, Amazon works to learn what a consumer wants before even the consumer knows for sure.

To get on Amazon’s level, you, too, need to anticipate your consumers’ needs. The best way to do that is to learn as much about them as possible. Integrating your sales and marketing data is the first step in gathering the customer knowledge you need.

A marketing team’s goal is to attract potential customers while retaining existing ones. Through a variety of marketing tactics, marketing teams gain information and learn about their customers. A sales team hopes to take those intrigued customers and begin a dialogue that will convert them to paying consumers. During this process they also gain insights and information about their customer base.

Each group, through their work, has an opportunity to learn about their customers’ buying habits from different perspectives. Compiling this valuable customer information from a sales perspective helps marketing teams—and vice versa. And the numbers back it up; according to MarketingProfs, “Organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing had 36 percent higher customer retention rates and achieved 38 percent higher sales win rates than their competitors.”

Only 37 percent of companies characterize their marketing approach as “somewhat advanced". Click To Tweet

Reduce Marketing Spending

Sharing consumer information between sales and marketing teams is step one in improving your overall sales. To take your sales and marketing data to the next level, pool it and turn it into advanced analytics. Too many companies think the answer to improved sales is upping their marketing budget. Smart companies take the information they already have and put it to better use.

That’s no pipe dream either. According to a McKinsey review of over four hundred organizations of different types and locations, “An integrated analytics approach can free up some 15 to 20 percent of marketing spending. Worldwide, that equates to as much as 200 billion dollars that can be reinvested by companies or drop straight to the bottom line.” The key to creating an effective advanced analytics model is having the right mix of marketing and sales data.

Improve Communication

In most organizations, the marketing department oversees generating leads before passing them on to sales to seal the deal. Other approaches, such as account-based marketing, focus on removing silos for better communication and an improved customer experience.

Instead of two silos of people working independently to make a sale to a single consumer, sales and marketing teams get together, share their data, and create a marketing campaign based on that collaboration. This helps both teams stay on message and most importantly, on the same page. Increasingly B2B companies are taking this approach but it is still vastly underutilized. If you want to pull ahead of your competition, try this tactic.

Get Ahead of the Curve

Despite the effectiveness of the varied approaches we have laid out thus far, many organizations have yet to take the data-sharing plunge. Data sharing and data strategy are the future of marketing and sales. According to Radius and Harvard Business Review, “Sixty-three percent of B2B marketers say data and analytics will be very influential on marketing activities within the next two years.”

Despite the overwhelming proof of the efficacy of this type of integration, only 37 percent of companies characterize their marketing approach as “somewhat advanced.” The trend of advanced strategic marketing is only becoming more prevalent as companies see the numerous benefits. If you start integrating now, you can get ahead of the curve.

Consumers continue to expect more from organizations, and businesses must make changes to meet those expectations. Organizations must learn about their customers and anticipate their needs. The companies that make the customer journey as enjoyable, intuitive, and efficient as possible will be the most successful. Integrating the data from your sales and marketing teams is the best way to reach that goal.

Adam Mergist is a chief operating officer and president of Home Services at Clearlink, an award-winning digital marketing, sales, and technology company and a trusted partner for Fortune 500 companies since 2003.

Are You Building Trust with Your Website?



By Sean Wright

You likely believe that your business offers something different or something unique—why else would you be in business? But how well does your website reflect this?

The most common reason a visitor to your website doesn’t contact you is trust: they don’t trust that what you’re offering will meet their demands. So how do you improve your website’s ability to build trust?

Honesty

Being transparent about what you can and cannot do goes a long way to endear yourself to a prospective customer. Play to your strengths, and don’t shy away from your weak spots.

We’ve all had customers we took on knowing full well that our services didn’t quite match their requirements. It usually ends up being more work than we expected, resulting in a net loss for everyone involved.

Being honest about your service and having pride in your attributes will attract the right kind of customer. Oh, and ditch “we provide excellent customer service” and replace it with something that has impact and charm.

Focus on What You’re Best At

Being honest about your service and having pride in your attributes will attract the right kind of customer. Click To Tweet

There are merits to SEO optimization and online advertising, but attracting a website visitor doesn’t equal a new client. Capturing their attention and providing the right answers as quickly as possible will secure their interest. Your sales team can do the rest.

It’s important to avoid attempting to be everything to everyone. Many contact centers fall victim to the “we offer everything under the sun” slogan. Kudos to you if your business can offer the full works, but in most cases, it simply isn’t true.

Look closely at your best, most reliable clients. What is it about you that has kept them loyal for so long? If it is the personal touch you offer with every interaction, then why is this not highlighted on your website?

Show Some Personality

The final thing to look for when scrutinizing your website is personality. Gone are the days of stiff corporate personas and menu-heavy websites. People want to work with people, not machines.

Ensure that your site has some character. Add a backstory or timeline to show how your business arrived at this point. Profile your staff and show their faces. Videos and pictures are great ways to lighten the tone.

Get rid of the technical jargon. It’s likely your potential clients don’t know your industry’s lingo and will be put off by anything they don’t understand. Put your offer in clear and concise terms.

Conclusion

You can read thousands of articles citing the best way to capture leads through your website, but the simple answer is to build trust and show your business’ true colors.

nSolve

Sean Wright is the sales and marketing manager at nSolve Ltd, experienced developers of TAS software.

Telemarketing Appointment Setting Best Practices: Part 2



By Angela Garfinkel

In Part 1 of “Telemarketing Appointment Setting Best Practices,” we discussed how to maximize the appointment-kept rate when conducting telemarketing appointment setting. In addition, we introduced the six primary components of a successful telemarketing appointment setting program:

  1. A targeted contact list with phone numbers
  2. A friendly, open phone voice
  3. A nutshell message
  4. A reason for the prospect to schedule the appointment with you—WIIFM (What’s in it for me?)
  5. A timely calendar invite sent via email with a summary of what will be discussed in the appointment
  6. Productive outbound dialing (about thirty-five dials per hour, 262 dials per day from a B2B telemarketing appointment setting program)

There is no doubt that having a powerful nutshell message delivered with a friendly, open phone voice helps ensure that your telemarketing appointment setting program is successful. Here is how to make this a reality.

Five Requirements for an Effective Script

There’s a fine line between selling an appointment and diving too deep into selling the product or service that you’re setting the appointment to discuss. A successful telemarketing appointment setting program provides just enough information to peak the prospect’s interest without putting the telemarketing agent in a position where they have so much information that they’re tempted to go too deep in the appointment setting call.

Telemarketing appointment setting scripts have five primary sections:

1. Who can the telemarketing agent speak to? Define this clearly. Setting an appointment with the wrong title or with a non-decision-maker doesn’t make sense.

2. Nutshell message. Who is your company and what problem does your company/product/service solve? Why is your solution better than the competition?

3. Ask for the appointment, and keep the appointment date within the next five business days. One good technique is to provide the “option close”: “Does Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. or Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. work better for you? We’ll need twenty to thirty minutes of your time.”

4. Close the conversation with an affirmation of what the prospect will learn during the appointment and how, even if your product or solution isn’t a good fit, it won’t be a waste of their time. Let the prospect know that you’re sending a calendar invite and they should accept the invite right away, so you can block off the sales exec’s calendar for the appointment.

5. “Not Interested” rebuttal. Be prepared to restate why the solution you are presenting is unique. Try to trigger curiosity for accepting an appointment with your company. Don’t restate the same information from your initial pitch. Instead give them some additional, compelling information and ask them again for an appointment. Possibly give them an option for a shorter appointment so there is a lower threshold for the required time investment during the first appointment.

Don’t restate the same information from your initial pitch. Instead give them some additional, compelling information and ask them again for an appointment. Click To Tweet

In the next article on this topic, I’ll share best practices for finding a good prospect list.

Angela Garfinkel is the president and founder of Quality Contact Solutions, a leading outsourced telemarketing services organization serving the healthcare, financial services, automotive, market research, professional associations, and other B2B focused verticals. Angela leads a talented team that runs thousands of outbound telemarketing program hours daily. She is also a certified Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) auditor with the Professional Association for Customer Engagement, and she is a designated Customer Engagement Compliance Professional (CECP). Contact Angela at angela.garfinkel@qualitycontactsolutions.comor 516-656-5118.

Telemarketing Appointment Setting Best Practices—Part 1



By Angela Garfinkel

Telemarketing appointment setting is a cost-effective way to use less expensive people resources to set appointments for your salespeople. The best telemarketing appointment setting initiatives have these things in common:

  • A targeted contact list with phone numbers
  • A friendly, open phone voice
  • A nutshell message
  • A reason for the prospect to schedule the appointment with you: WIIFM (what’s in it for me)
  • A timely calendar invite sent via email with a very brief summary of what the appointment will cover
  • Productive outbound dialing—ideally about thirty-five dials per hour, 262 dials per day from a B2B telemarketing appointment setting program

If any of these core components aren’t optimized, then your telemarketing appointment setting program won’t produce the highest possible return on investment (ROI).

Telemarketing appointment setting requires tenacity and creativity. The tenacity is having the willpower to make hundreds of phone calls a day, resulting in a handful of appointments. The creativity is identifying what works and what isn’t working to come up with the best approach to secure more appointments that are kept. Some people agree to appointments because they don’t like conflict or don’t like saying no. Click To Tweet

In this first article in a three-part series, I’ll cover the concept of appointment kept rate and what you can do to ensure the highest appointment kept rate possible.

What Is the Appointment Kept Rate?

The appointment kept rate is the percentage of appointments that are kept (not cancelled or no-showed) by your prospect divided by the total number of appointments set for the period you’re measuring. For example, if your outbound telemarketing appointment setting team set five hundred appointments last month and three hundred appointments were kept (including those that were rescheduled), your appointment kept rate is 60 percent. That’s a pretty good rate.

As an outsourced telemarketing appointment setting resource, our company works with many clients in many different industries, and we find that the methodology of getting a high appointment kept percent is relatively simple.

The first critical component for a high appointment kept rate is making sure the prospect is told clearly WIIFM (what’s in it for me). Some people agree to appointments because they don’t like conflict or don’t like saying no. So they agree to the appointment but don’t honor their commitment because it is easier to say yes and then not show up. Make sure that you reinforce with your appointment confirmation (wrap-up) verbiage what your prospect will gain by attending the appointment. If you can’t put that in one or two sentences, you need to work on creating an effective nutshell message.

Next, be sure you send a calendar invite immediately following the telemarketing call to lock in the appointment time on your prospect’s calendar. It’s best if you can get access to the salespeople’s calendars and set the appointments on their calendar on their behalf, inviting them to the appointment. In the calendar invite, include the nutshell language in the appointment notes or comments to reinforce why it’s worth them keeping the appointment.

Another nice touch is to send an email from the appointment setter to the prospect (copying the salesperson for whom the appointment is set). Thank them for their time, let them know that they should have received a calendar invite, and ask them to please accept the appointment to lock in the time.

If you set appointments too far in advance, expect a high rate of no-shows or reschedules. As a rule of thumb, we limit our outbound telemarketing appointment setters to set appointments no more than one week from the date of the call. If the prospect insists they can’t do an appointment sooner, then set a callback to set the appointment; don’t set the appointment and hope for the best.

In the next two articles on this topic, I’ll share best practices for finding a good prospect list and best practices for writing an appointment setting script.

Angela Garfinkel is the president and founder of Quality Contact Solutions, a leading outsourced telemarketing services organization serving the healthcare, financial services, automotive, market research, professional associations, and other B2B focused verticals. Angela leads a talented team that runs thousands of outbound telemarketing program hours daily. She is also a certified Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) auditor with the Professional Association for Customer Engagement, and she is a designated Customer Engagement Compliance Professional (CECP). Contact Angela at angela.garfinkel@qualitycontactsolutions.com or 516-656-5118.

The Failure of New Customer Discounts



Companies Focus on New Customer Acquisition and Then Encourage Customers to Leave in Two Years

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

My family just completed our biennial cell phone switch. We’ve been doing this like clockwork for two decades. We pick the company that offers the best price and switch to that one. Two years later our rates jump, and no amount of pleading results in a package we can accept. So we switch carriers.

Of course, the same thing happens with our internet service provider and our cable TV/satellite provider. They also entice us with low introductory rates and then methodically jack up our bill every chance they get. We’re on a two-year cycle with them too.

Loyalty Goes Both Ways

new customer

I’d prefer to find a vendor I can stick with and not change every two years. All they need to do to earn my loyalty is to offer fair prices. But they don’t. They give sweet deals to new customers as they gouge their current ones. They apparently value new business more than existing business. Don’t they know it costs several times more to gain new customers than to simply keep the ones they have? They should, but their actions don’t show it.

They prove their disloyalty to me with their unfair pricing. This causes me to be disloyal to them, and I have no regret about leaving them for a better deal. They’ve trained me to act this way.

The Burden on Customer Service Staff

Each time we switch a provider, we make multiple calls and even visits to each potential vendor, gathering information and looking for potential shortfalls in their service package. Of course, we foolishly start with our existing provider, but they’re not interested in keeping our business—at least not yet.

As we proceed, we take time with our existing provider and then all their competitors, including the one we eventually select. Our existing provider spends time with us to lose our business. Our new provider spends a couple of hours to close the deal and transfer our account. That’s a huge investment of time to obtain an account they won’t keep. In addition, all the other providers waste time with a prospect they won’t land.

The Impact on Customers

As customers, we spend a lot of time analyzing our options. Then we expend more time switching providers. But the biggest investment of our time is programming and learning our new technology, be it our phones, video entertainment, or internet access. Maybe someday I will gladly accept my bill doubling to avoid the agony of switching. Or maybe not.It costs several times more to gain new customers than to simply keep the ones you have. Click To Tweet

Churning Customers Is a Futile Business Model

If companies worked harder to keep the customers they have, there wouldn’t be so much pressure to gain new ones. They wouldn’t have to offer their new-customer incentives, which are likely at or below cost. They wouldn’t have to spend as much money on marketing. And their sales and customer service people could avoid a lot a of needless effort that produces no results.

Too Late to Make a Difference

Most of the time, once we switch providers, our former provider then makes a last-ditch effort to “win back” our business. But they’re too late. We’ve just gone through the agony of considering our options and doing a thorough spreadsheet analysis. We’ve gone through the pain of switching. We have shiny new equipment, which looks promising—once we learn how to use it. And now they think they can keep our business? No way. The only way we’ll do business with them is in two, four, or six years as we go through another cycle of selecting a new provider.

Though these service providers will persist in their insane cycle of customer acquisition and churn, your company doesn’t have to. Make sure you don’t follow their foolish example.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Connections Magazine. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.