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Specific Sales - Telemarketing and Cold Calling


By Steven J. Schmidt

Telemarketing sales is much different than door-to-door and business-to-business sales. If you talk to a sales rep out in the field, they'll say that field sales are harder than telemarketing because a person can slam the door in your face or simply not answer the door. If you talk to a telemarketer, they will say that telemarketing is harder because the customer picking up the phone can simply hang the phone up on you or just not pick the phone up.

This leads me to believe that it depends on whom you talk to. Some people don't have the patience to sit on the phone and are much more animated, therefore working face-to-face might fit that salesperson better. However, some salespeople might be great conversationalists and have a knack for talking on the phone. I've done telemarketing sales before, and it was quite interesting because of the industry I was actually telemarketing in.

I worked for a burial company, and we sold space to bury the deceased in. Now, I know you're reading this and thinking, "What the heck? This tutorial just took a very interesting turn!" Well, the fact of the matter is, that business is a very lucrative one because every single person will need it eventually.

Basically, when we would call these customers, we would lean in with survey-type questions. For example, we would begin, "Hi, Mr. Bussichio, I'm calling with Blaze Funeral Home and we just wanted to ask you a few questions."

These were not completely cold calls because we had a list of people who were interested in purchasing some land and a casket. These would be considered leads, and lots of telemarketing companies usually have some type of lead list. Companies purchase lead lists so that they can telemarket more efficiently.

When trying to make a sale over the phone, you really have to try and be a pest, and be annoying to the point where the customer has to listen to you. You have to take the risk that they might hang up the phone. The more aggressive you are, the more of a chance you'll have at making the deal happen.

With calling over the phone, you should handle objections the same exact way as you do by being a sales rep working out in the field, as discussed HERE. The only difference, is that if a customer stands firm with saying that they're not the decision-maker in the household, you have to take great notes, so that you call back like clockwork until you get the decision-maker on the phone.

Let's say you go right to the Yellow Pages and you want to call people about washing their windows. That right there would be considered cold calling because you're not using lead list. You should treat this the same way you would walking up to a customer's business or house.

You call and say, "Good afternoon, my name is Brenda McKay, and I'm calling you because we'll be in your neighborhood washing windows and we'd like to give you the same opportunity as we did for some of your neighbors."

I used to know one guy who was tremendous at selling cell phones over the phone. He would say, "Hi, this is Bill Gates and you have just been selected as out Microsoft winner, and we're giving away a free trip to the Bahamas, one free computer, and $25,000." Some people would hang up the phone, while others would laugh, which would be his way in to strike up a conversation.

However you naturally get people to listen to you or to talk to you is the way you'll succeed. I've found that the more successful telemarketers usually try some unconventional methods. Unconventional methods are usually based around your personality, and that's why people want to hear what you are selling or pushing.

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