9 Cold Calling Mistakes to Avoid

I do a lot of telemarketing training. Tips can be found on the internet to help improve the techniques but ultimately practice makes perfect and there’s nothing better than learning on the job once the right instruction has been provided.

Yet, despite the plethora of cold calling training tips available, I find that many companies don’t get the basics right and make the most basic telemarketing errors. So I thought I would pull together nine telemarketing mistakes to avoid. These are primarily aimed at b2b telemarketing but can also be relevant for calls to consumers.

  1. Not making enough calls
    We made an appointment for one of our clients with the Prime Minister’s Press Office. Was this the only government department we called? Certainly not? Was this call the only one we made to this particular office? Nope. The reality is that we made lots of calls to other government departments and even to this office.

You will never make an appointment with someone you don’t call. So make sure you build sufficient volume into your planning even when you’re calling at senior level. You can’t win the gold medal if you’re even not in the stadium!

  1. Not defining your target market
    Nothing slows telemarketing success more than an ill-defined target market. It’s like shooting at a target. You might be the best marksman and have the best aim but fire in the wrong direction and you have no chance of success. It’s the same with telemarketing. If you are clear on sector, location, size of company, job role for your decision maker, head office or branch and so on, you have a better chance of success, Get it wrong and you bounce round organisations wasting time and ultimately money.Using out of date data
    All data will have some obsolescence and you have to live with it. But take the time to invest in good quality, up to date recently gathered data from a reputable source and you won’t regret it. The better the quality, the more likely you are to reach your decision maker quickly and to avoid being blocked by no name policies and officious gatekeepers. Good data increases accuracy, speeds up success and decreases cost.

           A weak proposition
    It’s all well and good getting hold of the decision maker. But when you get there, is does what you communicate sound interesting? If it isn’t compelling, you aren’t going to get far. Scripted, stilted calls that start with a boring explanation of what you do and the features of your products or services won’t cut through. Find something genuinely interesting and talk about the prospects’ needs, their issues, their pains and how you can help take them away. Do that and you will improve your telemarketing success rate.

           Lack of passion
    Get through to the decision maker and you have a chance of success. Show a lack of passion and energy in the call and you’ve just wasted all that effort. No-one likes to be surrounded by uninterested and uninspiring people. Why should prospective buyers engage with you if you sound as if you can’t be bothered? So, make sure you sound interested in them and inspired by what you’re selling.

           Poor use of language
    Bland and low-key language is also unlikely to inspire. Use of ‘relevant’ but inspiring language makes a difference. There a world of difference between saying ‘we work with Marks and Spencer for their shirt department’ and ‘we do a HUGE (massive/amazing) amount of work helping M&S boost (grow/drive) sales of their shirts’

People like people like them. So, without becoming a parrot or sounding like a stalker, try to mirror. If they say, I’m drowning in paperwork’. Maybe reply by saying something like ‘wow, if only I were just drowning in paperwork!’ Of course, you have to take care and the above is only feasible once you’ve built rapport with the other person. But there’s no doubt, matching is an essential tool in the sales process. Fail to match and you fail to win interest, trust and almost certainly won’t get the sale.

  1. Not listening
    There is a world of difference between listening actively and waiting ones turn to speak. The former includes nodding (even on the phone), ums and ahs to signify listening and summaries such as

‘Ok John, so if I understand what you’re saying ……’

It doesn’t include butting in which is the height of rudeness. Listening is a skill and one that every successful telemarketer needs to learn. One mouth and two ears should be used in that proportion to engage with your buyers.

  1. Poor briefing
    The mushroom treatment is unlikely to work. If you stick your telemarketer in a dark corner and don’t feed them anything but you know what, your telemarketing success will fail to grow. Good briefings work. Inform callers about the sector you’re targeting and its issues. Paint a picture of the likely problems the prospect might face and how you can solve them with your products and services. Get the telemarketers excited by the solutions you offer. If they feel they understand, they are much more likely to give a good performance on the phone. Train them well using effective telemarketingtechniques and you will see your telemarketing results leap.
    Lack of follow up
    So many sales people fail through lack of follow up. One of our biggest customers came from a follow up process that lasted nearly three years. We followed up every 3-6 months. It is a telemarketing crime not to send out info on time and not to make call backs when you say you will. Build the relationship. Keep in touch and win some business. You never know when the current supplier may foul up, market circumstances might change, more budget may become available, the buyer you didn’t get on with leaves or some other material change occurs that might work to your advantage.

So, boost your telemarketing success through diligent follow up with those valid prospects on your list.

Successful telemarketing is a process. It is about getting the basics in order and doing them right. Common cold calling mistakes can be avoided and effective telemarketing can be possible if you simply do the basics right.

We offer telemarketing services and telemarketing training to ensure that you can hone your telemarketing techniques and deliver better results.

If you’d like to know more or book a new business development strategy workshop and find out how GSA Business Development can help Generate Growth for your Business, by contacting us now on 0845 658 8192 or send us an email.

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