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Dec 06 2012

Two things you should do, and one thing you shouldn’t, when making sales calls

marketing agency orange countyI’ve got a soft spot  for telemarketers. After being laid off from the company he had been working for for 20 years, my dad got a job as a telemarketer. He came back with terrible stories of people yelling at him, calling him names, etc. So I always try to be nice and respectful. Even if I don’t end up buying anything, I usually learn something. I recently had experiences with three different telemarketers and these encounters provided some excellent lessons on how to conduct sales pitches.

The case for Yelp

A couple months ago I created a business account for One Step Services on Yelp. A few days later, I received a call from one of their sales reps. I hadn’t asked for a call, or indicated that I was interested in any of their paid services. However, since I had signed up for their free service and given them my contact info, I was a good prospect.

I took the call and was immediately impressed by the professional conversation skills of the salesman. He wasn’t reading from a script or talking at me. Instead, he talked with me. He had read my bio on our website and struck up a little conversation about the Angels to break the ice. Then he asked me about my experience with Yelp. I told him I had used it for personal reasons only, so he skipped over that part of his sales pitch and went right to the things I cared about. Throughout the conversation he asked me if I had any questions and he even emailed me some visual aids to help prove his points.

After the conversation, he followed up with an email. We haven’t done any business with Yelp yet, due to budget constraints, but we haven’t completely dismissed them, either. Every once and a while the sales guy will send me emails about new products I read them and become more convinced that advertising on Yelp is a good idea. It’s definitely a goal we will work towards in 2012, and its all because of one friendly salesman and an effective telemarketing call.

The case for Hubspot

I’ve been a fan of Hubspot since I first started in the marketing industry. I’ve downloaded ebooks from them, liked them on Facebook, and receive their emails. However, I had never received a sales call from them until a few days ago. I couldn’t take the call at the time and although customer service jotted down a number for me, I didn’t plan on calling back. But then I checked Twitter. And wouldn’t you know it, the sales person that called me started following One Step on Twitter. Not only that, but she put us on a list titled “Marketing Thought Leaders.” Who wouldn’t want to talk to someone who thinks they are a thought leader? I called her back the next day.

The sales woman at Hubspot really took things a step further by following me on Twitter. If I didn’t buy from her on our initial call (which I didn’t) Twitter becomes another line of communication and a way she can keep in touch with us. Not only can she share information with us, but she can see what our company is doing, what our challenges are, and then possibly help us find solutions. She’s building a trust relationship that may very well lead to us becoming paying customers.

The case for company unknown

Just last week I received a cold sales call. Unlike the other two calls, where the salespeople knew I had expressed in interest in their company and products, this guy had no idea who I was or if I was even remotely interested in what he was selling. The fact that this was a cold call is not a bad thing, but the way this gentleman handled the call was no bueno.

I picked up the phone and before I could finish saying “thank you for calling One Step Services” this guy launched into his sales speech. He didn’t even let me finish my  greeting! Strike One.

He made no attempts to strike up a conversation with me. Not even something as simple as “hi how are you?” Strike two.

And finally, this guy was clearly reading from a script. While I completely understand having guidelines, in this day in age you aren’t going to impress anybody with a script. People want to do business with genuine people, not sales robots. Consumers want individualized messages that explain why a certain product or service is going to help them specifically, not the whole world. Plus, he was talking so fast I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Strike three. I hung up the phone and moved on with my day.

So there you have it. Hopefully these three experiences will give you some guidance in how to conduct your own telemarketing calls or sales pitches. If you have any questions, write them in the comments below and I’d be happy to answer!

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