Telemarketing

Telemarketing
Telemarketing Telemarketing, despite having earned itself something of a bad reputation with its cold calling and automated messages, can be a useful way to market your business. As part of a properly planned marketing campaign, and conducted with consideration for the customer, it can be a remarkably cost-effective way to grow your business.

Telemarketing can be useful to all kinds of different companies - charities, alumni organisations and political parties soliciting donations; businesses making sales; market research companies gathering information.

Some degree of telemarketing is often unavoidable as customers ring to make enquiries and a company's products, services and special offers are explained to them. But the phone can be used more proactively. It can be used to generate new leads. 'Cold calling' doesn't have to be just ringing a new prospect to introduce your products, although this can generate interest if done well. It can also mean identifying the best contact person in an organisation, gathering information about individuals' or businesses' needs, making appointments, and inviting people to events.

The phone can also be a good way to make a sale. Prospective customers' needs can be discussed and the seller can explain why a particular product or service would be desirable to that customer personally. It can also be used to contact existing customers and up-sell, or talk through other products that might be of interest to them.

It is this conversation element that makes good telemarketing so effective. Often, several calls will be involved, as you discuss what your prospective customer wants and needs and help them find a solution. It also makes the phone a more effective research tool as more detailed answers can be extracted during a conversation than via a multiple-choice tick-box survey.

There is also an immediacy to a phone call that email or direct marketing campaigns don't have. A prospect can be contacted, their needs determined, and a sale made, without any drawn out to-ing and fro-ing of emails or letters.

To be successful, a telemarketing campaign has to be well planned. You have to be clear what information you wish to discover, or what sales you want to make. If you are attempting to set up appointments, make sure you know what times you have available; if your calls will need to be followed-up by the sending out of brochures or invitations or catalogues, make sure these are printed and ready for mailing.

The phone call itself must be thought-through beforehand. Whilst a scripted call can seem cold and impersonal, a rambling and unfocused chat is likely to be uneffective and a waste of your resources. If the prospect is clearly not going to buy your products or services, end the call. Have an idea of how the call should be structured to guide the prospect to your desired end goal, while making sure that you respond to the needs and character of the person on the other end of the line. And have answers to difficult questions ready-prepared.

As you're going along, note down which approaches work - how many sales are generated, appointments scheduled, contact details collected. If a trend emerges - lots of customers describe a particular offer as too expensive, or the date and location of an event as impractical - make a note of it.

Crucially, make sure you're calling the right people. Identifying the right target audience is crucial to any marketing campaign. Either make sure your own database of contacts is extensive and up-to-date, or consider buying a data list from a company such as www.mailinglists.com.au. This will give you new leads in your target area and ensure that you have the right phone number for the person you want to call.

Make sure you follow federal legislation regarding when and who you can ring, and telemarketing could be an effective way of starting a conversation with your customers and, potentially, making sales.

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