Build your sales through successful telemarketing print Print

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Telemarketing can significantly boost sales for businesses if it’s completed properly. With so much email, online display advertising and social media competing for attention, sometimes a phone call is a nice break. It’s really a question of understanding how to apply it, and how it best fits into your operation. We look at some of the ways that telemarketing can be a productive tool for your business.


The right fit of products and services

One of the key elements of successful telemarketing is determining whether your products or services are suitable. Some things to consider are:

    • Value – general rule of thumb is that anything under $100 is too low to justify using telemarketing, unless the initial sale leads to ongoing sales, e.g. a lawn mowing service.
    • Niche market – telemarketing works best for a specialised product or service aimed at a small, defined market. If you’re going for the general public, broader reach advertising is probably a better option.
    • You can get hold of the decision maker – it’s important that the person you’re calling is the one who can make a decision. Make sure your research is accurate when drawing up your list of contacts.
    • Follow-up – it can be a good way to set up a meeting where you can go into the product in more detail, do a demonstration or talk to the customer about a different product. Do you have an existing relationship with the person you’re calling? It is generally easier to call an existing customer about a cross-sell opportunity than cold call a prospect.

Make it easy for people to say yes

If you are going to spend time on telemarketing, then the easier it is for people to say yes, the better. It’s unlikely anyone will give you their credit card details or order off you, if they haven’t heard of you before. To make it easier;

    • Mix telemarketing with other media to increase the chance the person has heard of your business before, and trusts your brand.
    • During the call, invite people to a social event to give you the chance to sell face to face. 
    • Offer some free research or whitepaper to send them, following up later with a second more qualified call. 
    • Ask for the customer’s email address. You can then send them special offers directly.

Tips for success

Successful telemarketing campaigns are efficient and professional. Here are some tips on how to achieve this:

    1. 15 second rule – if they haven’t answered in 15 seconds, they’re not going to. Drop the call and try again later. 
    2. Blocks of 20 – make calls in groups of 20 and evaluate results in each group. Pay attention to how long it took to make the calls and what you achieved in that call block.
    3. Three tries and out – if they haven’t answered after three tries, move on to the next group of numbers. It’s no great loss – unless you think they may be a really good prospect, it doesn’t hurt to put them to one side.
    4. Always ask if now’s a good time to talk. If they say no, ask if it would be convenient to call at another time. 
    5. Monitor progress – measure your call rate on the number of effective contacts per hour, not the number of times you pick up the phone and dial a number. You may make 30 call attempts an hour but only make 10 effective contacts per hour. Then how many sales did you make?
    6. Build your database – enter the data you collect at the time of a call directly into a database. Your data will be more accurate this way. You’re also gaining a valuable asset. It’s a good idea to use hands-free equipment for the calls so you can enter data as you speak.
    7. Training - It’s important that you and whoever else is making calls on your behalf has the right training. Telemarketing requires tact, skill and persistence. Talk to other businesses similar to yours and find out if they’ve used specific training or consulting services. 

Fair Trading Act

As of June 17 2014, many telemarketing sales fall under the “uninvited direct sales” section of the Fair Trading Act. If you make an uninvited direct sale over the phone, you have 5 days to send the customer a sales agreement. The idea is that if the customer feels forced into the sale, they have 5 days from receipt of the sale agreement to change their mind. The NZ Consumer website has a good section on this, and it’s important that you become familiar with it if you’re planning to use telemarketing as a sales technique.


Telemarketing sometimes has a negative ring to it, but used correctly it can help you increase sales and profits for your business. Keep in mind key factors such as product or service suitability, and ensure that your market research is accurate when it comes to drawing up a list of contacts. Getting the proper training for yourself and your staff is also essential, so that you’re increasing your chances of success when making calls.

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