Telemarketing calls are commonly associated with negative experiences. This is tough for those of us who routinely use the telephone to connect with new potential buyers and business partners. And it’s not helped by the term Cold Call which by its very name puts the shivers up us and fills our heads with negativity. Yet so many people have successful thriving careers because they were able to pick up a phone, source the right key contacts, engage them in a proper grown-up two-way conversation, and build the relationship into something that’s beneficial for both parties. In fact, most businesses can track big game-changer client relationships back to the humble telemarketing call that brought it to life in the first place. That’s no small thing in an age when face to face selling isn’t really a viable option anymore. The benefits of eye contact are largely negated by a face mask and elbow bump, so why bother with time-intensive and ecologically painful drives, when you can meet virtually, in a fraction of the time.
For some reason, that most of us can’t actually put our finger on, the industry, or the tasks referred to as telemarketing (or rebadged as something else but amount to telemarketing calls) took a blow to their popularity in the 1990s and don’t appear to have made a comeback. What a shame, since realistically, most people are wholly reliant on nurturing trusting relationships with other people over the phone whether that’s for the purpose of selling to them, delivering a service, or meeting some need. From the NHS to the HMRC, the brief is invariably ‘build bridges, not barriers’ so getting into the hearts and minds of people in a warm caring way counts towards the successful mission of most organisations.
Put the listener’s needs first.
We’re all telemarketing people now, given we’re not meeting and most connections have become remote ones, even when they don’t need to be. We miss the warmth of the face to face interaction, the body language, and eye contact yada yada. But there are ways to create these human factors over the phone. Being mindful of the other person, their needs, and their priorities is one of the best steps for creating warmth in a telephone call. Putting someone else first helps us connect with them more meaningfully, so we listen more, and feel better about the work we’re doing. The person we’re speaking with will sense the willingness to please and will be more likely to want to continue the conversation. This means resisting the urge to sell and fighting the pull of the target. Being over-goal-seeking was a superpower in the 1990s, it’s absolutely not now. In fact, even in the world of sales, we know that good companies don’t need hard closes and gimmicky lines, they need customers who respect them as people and buy into their brand values.
Visualise a real person
Seeing a person in your mind will help you relate to them. It will also alleviate some of the uncomfortable feelings of coldness that come with telemarketing calls. Even if the picture you’re creating of the person is not accurate, it really doesn’t matter. The point is this, by seeing someone in your mind, they become a real person, with their own unique needs and objectives that you’ll want to understand really well so you can take the relationship to the next level. Seeing someone in your mind will also help you maintain good posture since most of us instinctively look upwards when we’re using our imagination. This has a ton of other benefits such as helping your voice project, so you sound confident, as well as warm and caring. Go you!
Smile as you dial – you’ve heard that before. Research suggests that even faking a smile can help us feel better. According to psychologists, smiling reduces stress and gives our mood a lift. Though the person you’re speaking with can’t actually see you smile, they can hear it in your manner and voice. The tone and flow of our speech are all profoundly affected by a smile, and the person you’re communicating with will definitely hear the difference. This is very important for telemarketing calls of course, which is why the team at Blue Donkey are a cheery bunch because being smiley and cheerful has an addictive and infectious quality. When you’re speaking with someone by telephone, you are especially reliant on the ability to communicate engagingly, to help navigate gatekeepers, and for convincing decision makers to believe in you, even though you can’t make eye contact. Smiling is an easy and effective way to bring warmth to your calls, and it makes you, as well as others, feel naturally better. We think that’s probably giving you a warm glow already.