In business, as in life, thorough preparation offers the best chance at success. Being well-prepared doesn’t necessarily guarantee victory, but it does ensure that when an opportunity presents itself, you are in the best possible position to take advantage.
For the telemarketing agent, preparation means being ready with a response to any question that may be asked by a gatekeeper—the individual who decides whether you can reach the person who makes decisions. As a call center manager, to ensure that your representatives provide the correct answers, they need to know what questions might come up. Here are some suggestions for avoiding the stumbling blocks that are most likely to trip your agents:
“What is the purpose of your call?”
The first thing to keep in mind here is not to lie. Not only is it unethical, but it’s not good for your brand or for employee morale. Your agents don’t want to lie; they just want to know how to handle these questions.
Good training and telemarketing software that provides a strong campaign script could come in handy here. A script is like a security blanket for an agent; it shouldn’t be repeated verbatim on every call, but should instead be available as a support measure to make sure your employees don’t get flustered when confronted with a tricky situation.
“I am very busy. Why are you bothering me?”
Let’s be honest: not everyone is going to be happy to hear from a telemarketer. Some may even get downright nasty pretty quickly. But if the agent can keep the gatekeeper engaged, a successful call remains a possibility.
Even if the only thing accomplished is the establishment of your enterprise’s professionalism, that first impression may be beneficial down the road. And just because this particular call isn’t destined to end in a sale doesn’t mean the next one can’t.
Working around this difficult question may initially be challenging for some of your employees. Some may even fall into the trap of becoming snippy with the prospect; however, the right telemarketing software can record and archive all of your agents’ calls, creating excellent training opportunities. Using the archived calls, managers can determine areas where an agent is struggling and work to help the employee improve his or her performance.
“Would you send an e-mail or call back later?”
Handling this one can be delicate. Again, you never want your agents to be rude, but you don’t want them to give up at the first sign of pushback either. The important thing in this situation is to keep the gatekeeper on the phone, or at least initially. Have your agents ask a question about the company’s office operations, or anything else likely to elicit a response.
At the very least, keeping the conversation going may help your business gather more information about a potential client, as that knowledge could prove helpful during the next call or a follow-up e-mail. Using telemarketing software, the information gathered can be easily stored and retrieved when needed.
Think about your telemarketing calls as a construction project. After the plans are finalized, the key is giving your workers the equipment they need to succeed. You wouldn’t ask a builder to work without a hammer, and you shouldn’t let your agents make calls without the appropriate tools either.