What is the fastest way to reach a customer directly? Generally, some of the quickest channels for businesses to reach out to their customers or potential customers are fax, telephone, or internet. These types of practices have been in business for a long time, and they had their fair share of controversies. But, apart from this minor element, this mode of selling, also known as Telemarketing, has been super successful.
So, what exactly is telemarketing, and how it helps businesses in different ways.
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What is Telemarketing?
Telemarketing, also known as telesales or inside sales, is a form of direct marketing where businesses approach their potential customers via
- Telephone, e.g., phone calls, recorded sales pitches, etc.,
- Internet, e.g., web conferencing.
Of course, the primary motive is to sell your products or services and generate profits. However, telemarketing does not include direct mail marketing.
How Does Telemarketing Works?
Telemarketing is a practice that rose to prominence in the 1970s. It includes contacting, vetting, and reaching out to potential customers. Businesses can initiate phone calls from offices, hire call centers, or telemarketers can do it from their homes now because of the changing work practices.
The core objective of telemarketing is to assess the interest of a potential customer. That said, a phone call helps the companies in evaluating whether a specific customer has any sort of interest in their offerings. If there is a green signal, the telemarketer will close the deal on the phone call or may move to other modes of communication to convert that potential customer into an actual customer. So, mostly telemarketing sets a base for further communication.
Do the companies contact every potential customer? Well, it doesn’t work like that. Companies generate leads and evaluate the consumer’s spending patterns specifically related to the company’s own offerings. Then they narrow it down to high-profitability potential customers. It is better to convert one highly-profitable potential customer into a regular customer rather than focusing on three potential customers with low profitability.
Types of Telemarketing
Telemarketing has four most commonly used types including:
- Inbound Telemarketing
- Outbound Telemarketing
- Lead Generation
The main objective of inbound telemarketing is to prompt a potential customer to call you. There are a number of ways (such as websites, social media platforms, emails, etc.) for businesses to tempt their potential customers to call them.
Inbound telemarketing is relatively easier because a potential customer only calls you when he/she is already interested in your offering. An inbound call means you just have to make sure that you clear all the doubts in your potential customer’s mind and propel him/her to buy your product/service.
It won’t be wrong to say that inbound telemarketing basically deals with taking orders from already interested potential customers. Inbound telemarketing generally goes as:
- Advertising/marketing your products/services on different platforms.
- Receiving query calls from potential customers
- Booking/taking orders.
You ran an ad on Facebook with a “call-to-action” option and grabbed the attention of many potential customers. Now, you will get calls from those potential customers and answer their queries or take sale orders.
Outbound telemarketing is surely way tougher than inbound marketing. That said, you don’t wait for people “interested” in your product. Rather, you have to call people and make them “interested” in your offerings. It won’t be wrong to say that outbound telemarketing requires the highest form of communication and marketing skills.
However, one good thing about outbound telemarketing is that the expenses are generally lower than inbound telemarketing. Inbound telemarketing only works when you advertise or market your offerings on different platforms and make customers call you for further information. But, outbound telemarketing means you have to
- Call the customers
- Educate them about your offering
- Persuade them to buy your product/service
- Close the deal (if the customer agrees)
Suppose you a local internet service provider, and you want to educate your customers about your new package or an upgrade. Now, it is not compulsory to run an ad for current customers because it is more expensive. You can educate them over a phone call and convince them for the upgrade.
This approach is very similar to outbound telemarketing marketing, in which highly-skilled telemarketers call the prospects and persuade them to buy a company’s product or service. If the conversation turns out to be successful, they close the deal on the phone.
Lead generation is basically a process in which businesses collect demographic, personal, and even professional information about their potential customers. After collecting the required information, they reach out to their customers via different channels.
Companies can generate leads with the help of different sources such as
- Social events,
- Business expos
- Phone calls
Currently, many firms are specifically offering lead generation services. These companies generate lists of potential customers and sell those lists to related businesses.
5 Important Telemarketing Skills
Telemarketing is not an easy job by any means, and telemarketers need top-notch skills to persuade customers. Here are five must-have telemarketing skills.
Be Natural and Adaptive
A great telemarketer will always be relaxed, calm, composed, and adaptive. Most of the time, beginners just focus on the written scripts and may become speechless if they face an unexpected question.
Talk to your leads in a more natural way and make them feel comfortable while talking to you. Most importantly, you cannot deal with every potential customer with the same approach. Skilled marketers assess their potential clients and then adapt according to their caliber.
Complete Product Knowledge
Product knowledge is vital for any telemarketer. If you just recite the script, the chances of impressing a customer are almost zero. Your potential customer will hit you with a lot of questions and sometimes even silly ones. What is this product about? What benefit can I get from using it? Why or how is it different from other sellers? As a telemarketer, you have to prepare yourself for every question thrown at you.
Training is Mandatory
No matter how talented you are, chances of succeeding without prior training are very bleak. Persuasion is an art, and you need to learn at least its basics. Therefore, get some training courses and talk to senior/successful marketers.
You can improve your skills by talking to your friends, coworkers, family members, etc., and asking them what do they feel when a telemarketer contacts them. Apart from minor variations, human psychology is almost the same.
Present Statistical Information
Numbers play an important role in persuading people. For instance, “a lot of people benefitted from our weight loss program” looks like vague information. But, “on average, 58 percent of users of our weight loss program lost 5 pounds in just four weeks.” End results can convince people to buy a product or service.
Motivation is probably the most important skill in telemarketing, especially when you face rejections. Some people will cut your call as soon as they realize you are a telemarketer. Sometimes, they will drop the call if you hesitated a little or even if you are not energetic. Therefore, stay motivated even if you are facing constant rejections.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Telemarketing
|Advantages of Telemarketing||Disadvantages of Telemarketing|
|Telemarketing is generally less expensive as compared to other modes of marketing such as social media marketing, website, magazines, etc.||Telemarketing is a tough job that demands high-quality skills. Therefore, you may have to hire an expert or train your telemarketers.|
|Businesses can get immediate feedback via telemarketing because it is a direct conversation with the customer.||Government laws related to telemarketing are generally very strict. You have to be 100 percent sure before contacting every potential customer.|
|Telemarketing is more of a complete or instant method of marketing. Telemarketers can answer any queries immediately, and customers can understand technical things with greater ease.||Lead generation in telemarketing is a very time-consuming and expensive task. If you buy lists from agencies, you may have to pay them a good amount.|
|Businesses can use this marketing channel for potential and current customers.||If you hire a third party as your telemarketers, you may have no control over their methods of doing work. This can compromise the quality of your marketing campaign.|
|It is easier to achieve measurable results via telemarketing.||If it goes wrong, can ruin your brand’s reputation.|
Laws Affecting Telemarketing
One main drawback of telemarketing business is that federal and state governments have imposed laws, and they demand strict adherence. Let’s have a look at them:
Permissible times/days for telemarketing
The federal government has specifically defined the hours for telemarketing on private numbers. According to the law, a telemarketer cannot call before 8:00 AM and after 9:00 PM in accordance with the time zone of the receiver’s time zone. State governments can make alterations to the law, but they cannot extend that 13-hour time window.
It is an optional service that allows consumers to add their contact numbers to the list managed by the federal government. If your number is included in that do-not-call list, a telemarketer cannot contact you unless:
- You have a prior business relationship with any specific company.
- You had requested any sort of information or purchased any product prior to submitting your contact number in the do-not-call list.