Telemarketing Software Featured Article

Sales Pitches: Telemarketing's Ineffective One-Way Vehicle

August 25, 2015
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

While outbound telemarketing is still widely used today, particularly on the business-to-business front, it has low rates of success. There’s a reason for this: outbound telemarketing is usually conducted by junior sales representatives who are thrown into a boiler room with phones. It’s a way for an outside sales rep to start...a bit like “boot camp,” or some type of corporate version of a fraternity hazing ritual. The belief is that once newbie sales people start on the phone, they’ll learn the ropes and, if they survive, they’ll become seasoned outside sales reps. It sounds reasonably initially, but think of it this way: do you really want to trust the valuable process of turning cold data into hot sales leads to the hands of rookies who are going to do little more than recite a sales pitch? Not if you’re really interested in succeeding, you’re not.

For starters, there’s the problem of the very idea of a “sales pitch.” The concept has been around since the first primitive man talked a friend into trading a bigger, larger club for a smaller one. Its effectiveness hasn’t improved much since those times, according to a recent article by Richard Ruff writing for Business2Community. The sales pitch has an inherent flaw: it’s a one-way process that doesn’t involve the customer.

“If you have had the opportunity to observe salespeople in real sales calls with real customers the answer literally pops out in front of you,” wrote Ruff. “Product pitches are a bad idea because they are a monologue about product features versus a dialogue about customer value.”

Real-life customers ask questions. If they like the answers, they ask more questions. If the sales person is explaining how a solution can fill a need, they’ll continue listening. The only way a sales person can effectively explain how to fill a customer’s need, however, is by listening to the customer. Product pitches don’t include a “listening to the customer” element. Customers don’t particularly care about a product’s features unless it’s relevant to them, so reciting a list of them to the customer won’t gain the salesperson much traction.

“Here it is important to remember that a product feature, no matter how unique or innovative, has no inherent value,” wrote Ruff. “A product feature has value only when it solves a problem that matters to the customer with whom you are interacting and the customer connects the dots between the product feature and their problem.”

Truly skilled salespeople have developed the expertise to uncover and develop customer needs. By training your inside sales team to ask questions and really listen to the answers, you can help improve the effectiveness of your outbound telemarketing.

“Ask questions and use your active listening skills even when you present your product solution in order keep the customer engaged,” wrote Ruff. “Ask whether the customer understands why a particular part of the solution is so important. As you are discussing your solution find out if the customer understands the value of what you are talking about – if not, make course corrections.”