If you remember being a troublesome toddler, you’ll probably recall asking, “Why?” in response to every statement, question or request made to you by your parents and teachers. If you’re a parent now, you might well have experienced a similar phase with a child of your own. After a few hours (or a few days) of the relentless ‘whys’, parents may give a playful response, such as, “Because why has a curly tail,” out of sheer exasperation.
In the world of telemarketing asking, “Why?”, in response to a statement or rejection, especially in the early stages of a business relationship, can be just as inappropriate. A lot of potential customers will find the directness of the question rude and off putting and it could damage your future dealings with the company. Working out a way to ask direct questions a little more gently could help you to avoid hurting your fledgling business relationship while still getting the information you need for a successful telemarketing call.
Why and why not
Beginning a question with the word ‘why’, when speaking to someone in a business context can often come across as too direct. Potential customers don’t want to have to explain themselves to people they don’t know, so may well be put off by your enquiry.
A lot of the time, it will give your prospect a negative impression of your company and in some cases it could cause them to terminate the call altogether. If this is the first time you’ve spoken to your potential customer and you’re therefore still in the relationship building stage, your questioning could do even more damage.
How to tone down your questioning
Toning down the directness of your questioning is actually very easy. In fact, you don’t even need to change the word order of your question, you simply need to soften it with a bit of an introduction. For example, adding a, “Can you tell me…” to the beginning of your ‘why’, will help to make it less jarring. A question like, “Can you tell me more about why you haven’t reviewed your business insurance?” is a lot more subtle than, “Why haven’t you reviewed your business insurance?”.
You could also try responding to a point raised by your potential client with a phrase like, “That’s interesting, why is that?”, although you’re still getting the information you need, your query will come across as a lot more polite.
However you choose to phrase your questions, it’s important to make them sound natural and spontaneous. As The Global Sourcing Association says, “Effective telemarketers sound comfortable and relaxed and use natural language. Prospects don’t respond to stiffness and scripted calls.”
Try to practice asking your indirect questions when you’re talking to colleagues in the office. That way you can get used to toning down your ‘why’ questions and find the phrasing that best suits you.
If you’re interested in finding out more about improving your telemarketing techniques, or if you’d like to get more from your telemarketing campaigns, give us a call and speak to a member of our team today.