A lot has been written on the subject of telesales, cold calling and telemarketing techniques and tips. I will not try and reinvent the wheel. In fact, the wheel itself is just perfect the way it is. I was always taught that if something isn't broken you shouldn't try and fix it. So - let's leave it that way it is, shall we!? The fact of the matter is that to achieve cold calling success, a good telesales professional simply needs to know the right way to do things.

The bottom line is that telesales, just like any other job or 'life commitment' (more on that in a future post), as I call it, has a system. A process if you will. And if you follow the process you can't go a step out of place.

So, within this first post here at Telesales Magic, we will break that process down, bit by bit, and incorporate it into what I like to call the Ultimate Top Ten Telesales Tips. I'll warn you in advance; this is a pretty long, in-depth post. I don't expect every post to be this long, but I thought it would be the nice way to kick things off, and give people a nice run-down to get going! Let's get started.

Tip #1 - Preparation
Not preparing for your calls is like a high-scoring basketball player not practicing his free-throws when he knows for a FACT that he will be at the foul line on-and-off all night long. Think about it. Preparation covers many different aspects in telesales - we'll look into these in future posts here, but they basically breakdown to getting your hands on a good, strong calling list, having the correct equipment to make your calls, a professional uncomplicated working environment, writing a compelling script and having all the rebuttals you believe you will need, based on the objections you know you will hear on your calls, a good 'notes' system, or CRM in place, and then the ability to follow through with any promises you make your prospects, such as info to email or send out, etc, etc. at the end of the day, the more prepared for your calls you are the more successful you are going to be.

Tip #2 - Prospecting
This, for me, is the single most important part of any telesales professional's working day. Think about it logically. The moment you stop prospecting, (in other words simply going through your lists and lead sources, dialing the phone and getting 'moving' every day), is the moment your sales pipeline will dry up - like the Sahara desert! You should be looking to do at least 2 hours of true cold call prospecting every day. This will enable you to get to more people and create more opportunities for yourself. Remember the movie "GlenGarry, Glenross" and the classic "Always Be Closing" line. It's true, yes, but I prefer "Always Be Prospecting" instead!

Tip #3 - Qualifying
Once you've got through to a human being, its time to qualify. A lot of new telesales people tend to pitch the first person they get on the phone to. This is obviously a) a waste of time, because the chances are that the person who picks up the phone (99%) of the time is not the decision maker, and b) because you haven't found out anything about them yet. Making sure that you have the right person on the phone is absolutely paramount in making the sale. Use some probing questions such as "Mr. Big is the person I should be speaking to in relation to your restroom supplies, am I right?", and "Is there anyone else involved in the decision making process in regards to your restroom supplies? By being polite and friendly, qualifying your prospect with the gatekeeper, for example, will almost always confirm the info you have is correct, and that Mr. Big is indeed the right guy, or you'll get given the name of the real decision maker.

Tip #4 - Building Rapport & Gaining Trust
An old friend of mine once told me that you shouldn't even think about asking a lady out on a date, unless you have made her laugh a minimum of 3 times in one sitting! Same can be said with telesales, in a round-a-bout way. Trust (its coming up, don't worry!) is an important part of the telesales process. But, to gain somebody's trust, particularly when you have never met or spoken to them before, as with most telesales deals, you need to build rapport with your prospect in order to get them to trust you. This can be done in a number of ways, and is not as simple as just asking "How s the weather over there"..!

Try asking a few opened ended questions (questions that gain information, that require a prospect to tell you something about who they are or what they do), be sure you make notes to go back to the points they bring up later on. Within this exercise you will always probably find out a little about the 'pain' your prospect is in and the 'problems' they need solving - all this will enable you to mould and shape your pitch, or presentation, a little better to be able to suit and match your prospects mindset, needs, etc. Once you feel you have enough rapport built up, the trust will automatically be there, the guard will come down and you'll be able to pitch.

Tip #5 - Presenting
Never EVER attempt to present your product or service until you have your prospects trust (see #4!). Think about it, you wouldn't ask a complete stranger to marry you, without going on a few dates, would you? And let's get these right, sales - whether it be via the phone, or face-to-face, is a marriage, a relationship. When presenting try to make sure you avoid using statements like "If I could show you a way to be able to... These kinds of sales strokes are used by everyone. Plus, they almost get the prospect concerned immediately because a lot of them 'sound too good to be true'.

Use a script. Always use a script. A professional telesales person without a script is like a president without his chief speech writer! A lot of telesales people don't like reading scripts; they say it makes them sound like a robot. Granted, some people do read scripts (I've had my far share of telemarketers call me, and some of they are just down right terrible!), and it sounds obvious they are using a script. But, the bottom line is that if they practiced it enough, they wouldn't sound like that, and would actually be able to use it purely as a guideline. But, attempting to get into a presentation without knowing how, or where, to connect all the dots is just madness!

Tip #6 - Overcoming Objections
This is the juicy part of your telesales call. The real selling begins with the first objection that the prospect throws at you. Like presenting, you have to learn the rebuttals to the objections that you'll hear. Try making a few 'less important' calls and trying out your pitch - you'll get people giving you the objections. Note them down. And then get creative and put together some killer rebuttals. The important part to remember about overcoming objections is that you shouldn't use all your rebuttals at once.

Some telesales people are so hungry to make sure that they DON'T hear an objection (because of fear of rejection) that they throw all their rebuttals out there without even needing to! This is like a soldier coming over the trenches and firing his gun consistently without even aiming properly. What happens when all the bullets are gone, and then an enemy starts running towards him? He'll be killed. In this regard, save your rebuttals until you hear the objection and then use your bullets one at a time!

Tip #7 - Closing
There are a lot of different 'techniques' used to close the sale. A hell of a lot, and don't worry, we'll go over all of them in due time. The fact of the matter is however, that if you follow all the other points in the telesales process, as discussed above, the 'close' will, most of the time, present itself to the salesperson. It could come in the form of an all-out "Sounds great, let's do it...!", or maybe a little more subtle in the form of a buying signal, such as "How quickly can we get going...? either way, you're in! This is the time that a lot of salespeople talk too much, they get excited. Don't let that happen to you. Remember, never sell pass the close.

Tip #8 - Follow Up
Following up on the sale is about as important as any other part of our telesales process. Sometimes you'll not even need to do it. That signed fax or confirmation purchase order might just land on your desk automatically. But, a lot of the time you'll have to call your client up and follow-up. Again, I can t stress how important it is to go into this type of call with the 'assumed' attitude of "I've already closed this sale, no need to sell again... Simply call, get friendly, and then ask for the PO, the fax confirmation or whatever it is that you're waiting for from the prospect. Nowadays is the 'norm' to do a lot of follow-up via email. We'll go into this topic in a separate post coming soon.

Tip #9 - Customer Service
Once the sale is completed, and you've perhaps been paid the commission, lets not forget about our client. If you're working in a service related industry customer service is a lot more important than if you're selling a tangible product, as when they are close to running out, they will hopefully order again. In a service related sale, you have to make sure that your client is happy. That he/she feels as if they are getting a good enough bang for their buck to continue with the service the next month, or quarter, whatever. I make it a point to personally make sure that regardless of how busy I am, to always pick up the phone and say "Hello...!" to my clients at least once a week. Sometimes these 'happy client' calls, as I call them, present me with problems that need to be addressed, but sometimes they present me with an up sell opportunity, which, lets face it, is always a good thing, right!?

Tip #10 - The Mind of a Telesales Pro
We'll discuss how to stay motivated and how to psyche yourself up before calls, etc., in future posts, but the most important thing to remember here is that telesales people are the ELITE of the sales world. Think about it... They don't know you. They don't want what you're selling them. They are not expecting your call, and it's not as if they will be overly delighted with you interrupting their business day at work (not until you tell them how much you can help them!).

Cold call selling, telesales, telemarketing - call it what you like. The fact of the matter is that using the phone as a way to find and procure new clients, regardless of the industry you're in, is nothing new. It's been around for decades and decades and shows absolutely no signs of disappearing (well, I certainly hope not, otherwise all this typing was for no reason!). Stay positive, healthy, hard-working, polite and professional, and immerse yourself into your chosen profession as a professional telesales person, and you will succeed.

Bear in mind, not everyone reading this post might agree with all of these tips, or even perhaps the order in which I have placed them, but this is the process that I have personally followed in my telesales career, which is now entering its 19th year (been going since my first ever office job when I was 18 - yes, another future post!), and I believe that this system, or process if you prefer, has gotten me to where I am today.

Feel free to pass this post onto anyone and everyone that you think will enjoy reading it and find it even the least bit helpful. As the great philosopher and kung fu master, Bruce Lee, used to say "Knowing is not enough, we must apply... Get out there and start applying everyone!
This article features text from the forthcoming book "Telesales Magic - Proven Tips, Tactics and Techniques to Help you Sell More on the Telephone!"

Source: Chris C. Ducker link