If you’ve never thought of yourself as a salesperson and have been afraid to try your hand at work-at-home telemarketing, it might not be quite as hard as you think it is. In fact, you might accidentally discover a new talent. As Thelma said to Louise after she made that cop get in the trunk of his car at gunpoint:
Thelma: This is going to sound weird, but I think I got a knack for this sh*t.
Louise: I believe you do.
And you just may have a knack for it, too. Here are some tips, whether you’re a seasoned telemarketer, just jumping in for the first time, or even just thinking about getting your feet wet a little bit.
Find a Product You Can Believe In
Now, by product, you can define that pretty loosely. A product is not something you necessarily put a price tag on, but whatever it is you’re trying to get your lead interested in. (For newbies, a lead or prospect is the person on the phone.) For instance, you might be matching prospects with career and educational opportunities. That is a no-cost service to them. You may be doing calls for a political cause you believe in. The bottom line is, try to find a product you believe in and something that you feel good about convincing other people to try.
If it’s a product with an actual price tag, the same principle still applies. There are plenty of sites out there selling questionable items and services. There is one big telemarketing company out there that is constantly hiring, regardless of your experience. And what is it you’d be selling? You’d be handling calls from people who have signed up for something — probably a free credit report — and then been enrolled in some kind of a recurring billing program and they want out of it. Your job is to convince them to stay in it.
Will you feel good about that? If it doesn’t bother you, more power to you, sister. But if it’s going to bother you to sell something to somebody you wouldn’t want yourself, that’s a big red flag.
When You Smile, the World Smiles with You
If you follow the advice above, this next one comes a whole lot easier. You know how they always say if you smile while you’re talking in the phone, people can “hear” your smile? That is so true. In fact, don’t be afraid to look a little goofy by being very animated and gesturing while you’re talking on the phone.
I can’t speak for everyone, but it works for me. Thank goodness the mailboxes in my complex are all together so the mailman doesn’t come to the door and see me when I’m working. Only my cats are witness to the crazy gesturing and faces I make while I’m talking to people.
It may look weird, but it sounds good.
Avoid the Dreaded “Dead Air”
“Dead air” — silence on the airwaves — isn’t only death in the world of radio, but will kill you as a telemarketer. You’re practically inviting those people to hang up on you. In any kind of telemarketing job, you’re typically moving around on the computer from one screen to another, and like anything that has to do with computers, sometimes pages or software menus load slowly. That can leave you without your scripting or waiting for a form to load that needs to be filled out.
You’ve got to fill that gap.
This is where you really have to be personable, make small talk to get your improvisation on. If you hear kids in the background, comment that it sounds like mom or dad has their hands full today. Empathize with how hard it is to juggle work, kids, school. Do anything to fill that gap, or almost anything. Say anything that’s going to keep them talking with you and make them feel like they’re just chatting with a friend.
When they start sharing with you and chatting, you can have your Sally Field, “They like me, they really like me!” moment. And more importantly, if you can get that reaction from people, no matter what kind of telemarketing you’re doing, you’re bound to have great numbers at the end of the day.
Telemarketing isn’t rocket science. At its best, it’s selling a good product to people whose trust you’ve gained by being likable and giving them the info they need to make a decision. It may be a little intimidating at first, but if you’re chatty and friendly, you might want to give telemarketing a try.
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