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Rogue Google Review!

I just wanted to do a short post to flag up the fact that if you search for Telephone Prospector on google and click my “Google My Business” page, you’ll notice I received a 1 star review recently.

This concerned me and having looked into the details, I wanted to state that I’ve never heard of the person or had any contact with them at all.

Upon further investigation, it appears they have submitted a number of reviews from companies like Volvo Truck, McDonalds and even a service station on the M6!

I’ve been self-employed since 2003 and whilst I don’t profess to be the best telemarketer in the world, I know that I do a reasonable job.

Please see my testimonials page for more details:

http://telephone-prospector.biz/testimonials/

Cold Call or Warm Call

A question I sometimes get asked, is whether you should email / post information to a prospect prior to calling or, should you just call them cold.

Everyone in the telemarketing business will have an opinion on this and here is my two pennies worth:
Personally, I don’t think it matters whether you send information or not – what I think is important, is that you carry out calling regularly!

I’ve worked with clients in the past who’ve spent a lot of time tweaking a mailshot or e-shot until – in their minds – it’s just right.

I understand the reasoning behind that but, at the end of the day, for the time spent tweaking, you may as well just pick up the phone and speak to someone!

That being said, I’ve worked on some successful campaigns were a really good mailer has gone out before hand and, by good, I mean it’s memorable for the right reasons:

“Oh yes, you sent that fold out mailer didn’t you?”

Bear in mind that nowadays, most people are swamped in emails and your email – no matter how great you think it is – may be sent to the trash can without being read.

Conversely, by calling before you send information, you can at least establish whether or not a prospect has a genuine need in your product / service – after all, to send a posted letter does cost money and if you are sending 100 + at a time, the costs soon add up.

To echo what I said earlier in the post, the key aspect of all this, is to make sure you are calling regularly – just 20 calls a day can make a huge difference to your sales pipeline.

If you want to see how I can help you, please get in touch.

The Barrow Boys Of The Marketing Industry

A few months ago, I had a very interesting conversation with another hugely experienced telemarketer and we were discussing the reputation of telemarketers.

We both agreed that telemarketers and telemarketing companies don’t always get the best press – and unfortunately, some people in the industry don’t exactly go all out to cover themselves in glory.

Whilst we were talking, we came up with the idea that telemarketers are seen as the barrow boys of the marketing industry – you know, gift of the gab, little bit cheeky, always selling you something.

Sadly, the industry is only to blame for this. After all, how often have you or someone you know, had a negative experience with a telemarketing company.

As I see it, the problems start when the client approaches a telemarketing company with their requirement and the telemarketing company fails to manage the client’s expectations.

I cannot emphasise enough, the importance of being realistic about what can be achieved on the telephone.

It is not a quick fix. It is not a silver bullet and it is certainly not a magic wand.

When I am calling, I have to go through a lot of prospects to get to the appointments or leads – I don’t have a magical tree at the bottom of my garden where I can pluck hot leads from.

Here’s an example:

Client goes to a telemarketing company and says that they need X appointments per week.

Telemarketing company says “Yes, we can do that. It will cost you this amount. When can we start?”

I’ve got no problem with the fact that people need to set targets but, rather than focusing on what WE need, let’s focus on what the prospect needs.

Going back to our example, said telemarketing company starts calling and manages to set a few more appointments than the client wanted.

Client is delighted until they go out on the appointments and is told that:

“I told the caller I wasn’t really in the market for 12 months”
“The caller said you’d only need 5 minutes”
“We’re really happy with our current provider but happy to see your brochure”

The net result, is that the client will most likely not continue with the calling and worse still, will form an opinion that telemarketing hasn’t worked for them.

This could all have been avoided by the telemarketing company being realistic and honest about what is achievable.
My approach is to tell the client how difficult it is to find business on the telephone – I want them to appreciate that it is not a quick fix and that I don’t use clever NLP techniques to get them appointments.

A good telemarketer will build rapport and by doing so, will identify short, medium and long term prospects.

If you want to find out how I can help your business, please get in touch.

Mindful Telemarketing

I’m a big fan of meditation and mindfulness.

There are a number of definitions of mindfulness on the web, but I like to think of it as living your life the present moment.

When carrying out telemarketing, it’s very easy to stop being in the present moment. For example, you may start your calling day with a specific objective of X amount of appointments, or Y amount of leads – nothing wrong with this by the way!

However, when we get so focused on ‘our’ objectives for the call, we forget that, actually, the most important person on the call is our prospect.

In my early days as a telemarketer, I was guilty of focusing on my needs rather than the clients and I still talk to other telemarketers who see their job to just get an appointment or lead.

But, if we step back from that and become more mindful in the way we call, we can pick up on how a prospect is feeling.

A nice example of this, is a call I made to a prospect who sounded very busy – I acknowledged this and it transpired that they were going on holiday at the end of the week and were rushed off their feet. With this information, I was able to say that it wasn’t a problem, I’d leave them in peace and call them on their return. And by the way, were they going anywhere nice?

It turned out they were going to Alicante and I was able to suggest a visit to a lovely little town called Villa Joyosa whilst they were in the area.

Whilst this may not seem that important, it shows that I listened to the prospect, took an interest in their situation and, critically, when they returned from holiday, I was able to set up an appointment with them.
The next time you are going to make some cold calls, before you pick up the phone, take time to pause, breathe calmly and really focus on what you are doing.

By being more mindful (and alert) you will be surprised at how much you pick up on when making your calls.

And whether you are on the telephone, making supper, visiting friends or even filling out your tax return(!), remember to live in the present moment – it’s so under-rated!

Why I work on a day rate basis

It may not come as a complete surprise, but I use the telephone to generate leads and business for myself!

I had an interesting call with a new prospect recently and I thought I’d share the details with you.

The conversation went well and they saw the benefit in doing telemarketing, but then we hit a brick wall – the subject of fees reared its ugly head.

I’m totally transparent about the fact I charge a day rate of £250 per day (as of July 2016) and the prospect I was talking to, felt that it was ‘a bit excessive’ and they’d prefer to pay on a results-only basis.

As this is something I hear quite a lot, I thought I’d do a blog post on the topic.

To start with, I’d like to address the issue of paying on a results only basis.

Whilst I can see the attraction in this model for clients, there are also additional factors that need to be considered.

For the sake of this example, we’ll assume that the client wants to pay a fee on a per appointment basis – let’s say £100 per appointment.

In a typical 10-day campaign, I’d expect to make between 6 and 10 appointments – let’s say I make 8 appointments.
On the fee per appointment basis, the client would pay £800 i.e. £100 for each appointment.

So far, so good.

Based on my experience, the majority of the appointments will come towards the latter part of the campaign – I did a campaign recently where 70% of the appointments came from the last 2 days of the calling activity.

This would mean on a 10-day campaign, I’d get 5 appointments from days 9 and 10 meaning, that for the first 8 days, I’d make £300 or, a day rate of £60 per day – that’s £8.57 per hour in case you are interested.

You could argue that by day 10, I’d made a total of £800 which brings the day rate up to £80 per day or £11.42 per hour.

Of course, you could further argue that if I got more appointments, I’d earn more money – a very valid point. But, I’m not a telemarketer who sets appointments for the sake of setting appointments – the only time I put a client in front of a prospect, is when there is a genuine sales opportunity.

And then we have the other curveball with this pricing model – what constitutes a valid appointment?

Most of the people I know in my industry have had similar experiences when working on a fee per appointment basis – they set X amount of appointments, client then feels that Y amount of those appointments weren’t valid and refuses to pay for those appointments.

Net result being, telemarketing firm or telemarketing person out of pocket.

Now that I’ve discussed the fee per appointment model, I’ll go through why I work on day rate basis and why I charge the fee that I do.

A typical day of calling will start at 9am and finish at 5pm.

In that time, I will make at least 100 call attempts but as little as 5% of those may be successful.

Whilst getting appointments and leads is my ultimate objective, to get to those results, I have to work through prospects who are not interested, prospects who are unavailable, dealing with receptionists etc.

Once I’ve finished my calling for the day, I then need to produce a report for the client.

So, as you can see, there is quite a lot involved with what I do but there are some other practical reasons for how I charge as well:

Being self-employed, I have costs that I need to cover; office equipment, laptop, telephone bill, web hosting.

I also don’t have the luxury of paid annual leave, sick pay or a pension.

Finally, and most importantly, you are paying for my experience – I’ve been doing this for over 12 years and I’m good at what I do.

And that, is why I work on a day rate basis.

Good telemarketing is more of a marathon than a sprint

You’re no doubt familiar with the phrase “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” and, in my opinion, this is especially true with any telemarketing activity that you carry out.

When you make contact with a company for the first time, it is unlikely that they are going to be in the market for your product or service at the exact moment you call. That’s not to say that you won’t strike it lucky from time to time but, if we are being honest, these type of calls are simply a case of ‘being in the right place at the right time’

For telemarketing to be truly effective, you need to take a long term view.

Over the years, I’ve called dozens of companies who, when I’ve contacted them for the first time, whilst interested in the product or service I was promoting, weren’t in a position to review for a number of weeks, months or even years. However, by establishing that at that stage, meant that I was able add them into the sales pipeline and, by diligently following them up at a date when agreed, I was able to convert them from leads to appointments.

Too often, I’ve heard from companies that have done an initial burst of telemarketing activity and not got any appointments or sales from it and, have viewed it as a failure. More worryingly, when pressed, some of those companies admitted –albeit sheepishly – that they weren’t sure if anyone was actually following up the leads they did get.

In my opinion, the best way to carry out telemarketing is as follows:

1) An initial burst of activity of at least 10 days activity to build a sales pipeline.
2) Ongoing activity of a day a week to maintain and continue building that sales pipeline.

It doesn’t matter whether you use me to do this, a member of your own team or even yourself – as long as someone is picking up the phone, then you WILL start to see results.

Remember, good telemarketing activity is a marathon and not a sprint.

Telemarketing – It’s more than just a numbers game.

If you’ve ever considered carrying out telemarketing in your business, it’s likely you’ve either used or, at the very least, heard the following:

“Telemarketing – it’s just a numbers game really, isn’t it”

To a certain point I would agree but, as I hope this post will illustrate, it’s actually a lot more than that.

Preparation is key.

In my many years’ experience of delivering business to business cold calls, without doubt the most significant factor in terms of whether a campaign is successful, is down to how much preparation takes place.

You’ve no doubt heard the phrases: “Fail to plan, plan to fail” and “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance”

And in the case of the above, for the latter at least, possibly a more earthy version!

How I prepare for a campaign:

Every time I start a new campaign, I ask myself and my client the following:

Who, What, Why, When, Where & How.

For example, under “How” I might consider:

How will I be calling? Will I send a letter or email before calling or will I go in cold?

In addition to the above, I’ll spend time familiarising myself with the clients service, their marketplace, competition and even if there is any trending news within the industry I can use on my call.

I could write a whole blog post on preparation but the above will give you food for thought.

The D Word: Data

I’m often surprised at the differing opinions of people around the subject of data.

Some people are 100% focused on ensuring that they are working with fresh, clean, up-to-date and focused data whilst others, are quite happy to spend time gathering names on the internet and start calling straightaway.

I have no issue with saying that I fall into the former, rather than the latter every time.

I was recently approached by a prospective new client who asked, whether I would be able to start work the next day and ‘get some names from google’ – I politely declined.

Why?

My expertise is getting on the telephone and building relationships that will result in leads, appointments and ultimately, sales.

My clients should be paying me to make telephone calls, not farming for data.

There are some exceptions to the rule.

For example, some job titles are so specific and a traditional data broker may not hold a list of these contacts. In which case, it is perfectly permissible to use LinkedIn to build a list – as long as you get the data screened against the Corporate Telephone Preference Service Register!

The importance of Mind Set

Be in no doubt, telemarketing is very hard work and, without the correct mind set, it becomes a lot harder.

Anyone can pick up the telephone and talk to people. But it takes a special type of person to do that 100 times per day and remain positive, focused and professional.

I’ve had plenty of days, where I’ve not got a decent lead or appointment until 4pm.

The reason I got that result, was that my mind set and attitude at 4pm, was the same as it was at 9am.

There is no magic formula, no secret to reveal or hidden method.

It’s about having a positive attitude, faith in yourself and being humble on every call.

Reporting The Facts

After each day of calling I deliver, I send a comprehensive summary to my client that detail:

  • The number of calls made
  • The number of appointments and leads I set
  • The number of decision makers I spoke to
  • The number of decision makers not interested

I spoke to a business associate recently, who informed me a client of his had engaged the services of a telemarketing company and, despite having done 8 weeks work, had failed not only to deliver a single appointment but more worryingly, had not sent a single report to his client!

The beauty of telemarketing is that unlike other marketing methods, we are able to tweak a campaign as we go along.

If, for example, we have had no appointments for 2 days, we can look at whether we need to change the proposition or the data.

But, without accurate reporting, it would be impossible to see whether or not the campaign is working.

Conclusion:

I hope this post has given you some food for thought and proved to be interesting.

I could have gone into far more detail and expanding further on the topics I covered however, I’ve got some preparation for an upcoming campaign to do!

With that being said, after reading this post, I hope you will agree that telemarketing is far more than just a numbers game.