Monday, October 19, 2009

If You Want To Sell Me Something...

Everyone has pet peeves and I am no different. The phone skills of most telemarketers guarantee I will not buy. Here is what the typical call sounds like:

TELEMARKETER: Is the decision-maker available? (Or they start with: Can I speak with the owner/manager/boss/head kahuna?)

Here are the mistakes: 1.) Caller didn’t introduce themselves. 2.) Caller did zero research; they don’t even know who I am.

Depending on my mood, here is how I answer:

KEITH: Which owner?
The company is shutting down.
You have the wrong company.
He died.
Do you know who you are calling?
And if a phone company calls: We don’t have a phone.

Why do I respond in any of these ways? First, because you called me and I expect you to introduce yourself. Imagine a stranger walking up to you on the street and asking you how much money you have on you. How would you respond? Now you know how I feel. Second, you did no research. You don’t even know my name so you are making the coldest of all cold calls. Here is what could work:

TELEMARKETER: Hello, my name is Alice with XYZ Taxes R Us. I am calling for Keith about our new tax program.

This doesn’t guarantee I’ll buy, but at least you didn’t blow the sale before you finish the first sentence. In most cases, I will listen. I get 10-20 sales calls per day and I never buy from a sales call. But I do ask for more information a few times a month. When I have quiet time to review, I go over those that sent me the information requested.

If a sales call comes from a computer, as most do, you lose every time. I know the telemarketer sales person doesn’t control this, but it is a deal breaker for me. If I have to wait for someone to pick up on a call made to me, even for a fraction of a second, forget about it. If it isn’t important enough to have a live person contact me, then the product or service is something I really don’t care to have.

Break my taboos and I shoot you down every time. You want my time, and if you want my money, better follow my rules. “That isn’t fair,” I hear you say. Maybe. But my money, my rules. If you want a chance, call yourself, don’t send a machine; introduce yourself, company, and reason for the call; and know who you are calling. If you don’t know who handles the phone service/copier/computer/on ad nauseam, how can I trust you know anything about the product you are selling?

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