A vintage telephoneMany businesses use telephone marketing to communicate with their customers. Any firm that sells direct usually handles enquiries, gives quotes and takes orders over the phone. Small firms that target business customers can use the telephone to call sales leads, give quotes and arrange appointments
Telephone marketing, or telemarketing, can offer several advantages over other forms of marketing. Unlike mobile phone marketing which sends advertising messages, you talk to the customer directly and can ask questions to gauge their interest, find out what their needs are and answer queries and objections.
Telephone sales calls to people at home, however, are often seen as an unwelcome interruption. If you are targeting consumers, you should think carefully before you use telemarketing. You risk alienating customers and you could damage your company's reputation.
And in any event, you should make sure that anyone you call is not registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).
Calling business prospects
Telephone marketing can help business-to-business firms achieve a number of goals. You can use outbound telephone marketing to build your database, generate leads and appointments, follow up a direct mail campaign and keep in touch with customers.
Business people are usually receptive to receiving sales calls as long as the caller is offering them something relevant. They may have made similar calls themselves to drum up business and they understand how it works.
Preparation and staff training is essential to maximize the success of your telephone marketing. Work towards specific sales targets to ensure you are making sales, not just making outbound calls. Prepare persuasive answers to common queries in advance, and have some questions of your own so you can find out more about your customers.
Telephone marketing is often used to generate new business by offering quotations or making appointments. Although it is harder to achieve, getting your foot in the door is the most effective way to make a sale. It's too easy for a prospect to rebuff you when you've sent them a quote.
To maximise your chances of success, it is worth making a two-call approach. In the first call, you can check the name of the decision-maker and get some basic information. Then you will be properly prepared for your conversation with the prospect.
How to persuade people to buy on the telephone
Cold calling can be very effective but many people lose their nerve - tension alters your voice. It can make you sound defensive, irritable or emotional. Confidence is essential - smile while you dial.
The best approach to telephone marketing calls is to ask open questions and listen to the replies. If you sell printer ink, for instance, asking, 'do you need printer ink?' is likely to get a 'no'. Instead, ask if they have a printer and find out who is supplying their ink.
Ask clients what issues they're facing - and offer relevant solutions. Find out who the decision-maker is and what timescale they are working to. Don't just sell on price. Instead, show how you are different to the competition and get to know your clients and their business needs.
Receiving calls from customers
Telephone marketing is not just about making calls. Many businesses get the chance to turn enquiries into sales when people ring them. It is important to prepare for these inbound calls. You and your staff must be professional and helpful on the telephone and should be well informed about your products and services.
Always conduct staff training to ensure everyone is fully briefed and that they are giving a high level of service on the telephone.