35 Tips for Effective Telemarketing in Changing Times

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Telemarketing has changed during the past 10 years, but the next 12 months will see some of the most significant changes to date.


The refinement of e-mail and other interactive opportunities will necessitate changes in message delivery. Coordinating all the opportunities will require sophisticated reporting systems and a new allocation of marketing dollars.


The changes required do not, however, alter the approach you should take in your use of e-mail or telemarketing. It still requires you to do your homework before beginning, changing, testing or rolling out in any area of teleservices. Below are 35 tips to help make your telemarketing and other electronic marketing endeavors successful.


1. The telemarketing firm you select should exhibit excitement at the opportunity you present. If it does not, look elsewhere.


2. Anything less than excitement from the firm you select will prevent you from realizing the exciting results you desire.


3. The telemarketing organization must have a thorough communication and reporting system so you are kept up to date.


4. Being kept up to date means receiving a carefully designed, easy-to-read report by list and key so you can make changes, if required, instantaneously.


5. Your telemarketing organization should have a full and complete concern for your account and return phone calls immediately. Phone calls not returned immediately affect your results when immediate changes are required.


6. Listening to you and your concerns is a prerequisite for developing a solid relationship and success with your telemarketing firm.


7. Your telemarketing organization should pay constant attention to your account and each individual program you have running.


8. You should talk with your telemarketer every day. The company should be aware of the previous day's results and any changes that are material.


9. You constantly should be testing new scripts, offers and products.


10. Lists are the most important component of your program. Without locating lists that work on the front end and back end, your program will not work.


11. House files are almost always better than rented files.


12. Compiled lists sometimes work better than mail-order buyer lists. It depends on the source and how demographically targeted the compiled list is.


13. Your telemarketer should have the ability to arrange a monitoring session at any time as long as there is adequate advance notice.


14. A confident telemarketing organization should be willing to test a new product at a reasonable cost.


15. You must have a knowledgeable account representative who cares about your account.


16. The ability to work hard to meet your goals and objectives is essential in both your telemarketing organization and your assigned representative.


17. An ongoing telemarketing sales training program for all of the organization's representatives is essential. You may want to attend one of the sessions.


18. It's important to have program continuity at your telemarketing organization to allow for the retention of the best reps. Reps have a difficult time perfecting their delivery when they are unable to work with a program for long periods. It's an important aspect of the scheduling process.


19. Discontinuing your program or doing only sporadic telemarketing means you will always have new reps on your account. Having new reps means there is a learning curve to a full roll-out of a program.


20. When programs are sporadic or seasonal, experienced reps prefer to work on programs where they have more experience and a chance to maximize their earnings. Though in most firms the reps do not select the programs they call, a strategy to prevent breaks in a program will generally provide for improved results.


21. You can dry-test on the telephone and do it quickly.


22. You can complete a telemarketing test program in about two weeks.


23. In many cases, shorter scripts outpull longer scripts, and the result is an increase in hourly contacts and a lower cost per order.


24. Telemarketing is just part of a complete marketing program.


25. Returns for a telemarketing offer are generally double that of a media or direct mail offer.


26. Bad debts for a telemarketing offer are about 50 percent that of a media or direct mail offer.


27. Rapid product fulfillment is even more important for telemarketing offers because customers are more inclined to forget they ordered or change their minds about the product. Keeping the period to a minimum is essential.


28. In all product shipments in direct marketing, the perceived value of the product received by the customers is important. In telemarketing, it is extremely important because they have not seen a picture of the product.


29. When a customer opens a telemarketing-ordered product, it must exceed their expectations.


30. If a company is experienced in your product area, it will be able to provide you with specific examples and case studies that can indicate the likelihood of success.


31. Telemarketing is changing, and the Web, e-mail, wireless and other media will all be important in the not-too-distant future.


32. Caller ID will most likely boost response to telemarketing programs because those who answer will want to take your call.


33. Interactive TV will result in an interactive exchange between reps and customers through the TV.


34. Only telemarketers that incorporate new technology will continue to be successful. Your telemarketer should provide you with continuous updates of its use of e-mail, wireless and interactive TV communication capabilities.


35. There's no magic to telemarketing. It works just like everything else in direct response businesses. Test, retest, confirm and roll out. Test more, increase the rollout. And so on.


It's important to understand that not everything works in every marketing channel. Preparing properly with a detailed strategic plan can increase your chance for success, but there are other factors that play an important role in telemarketing success. These factors include fulfillment, billing and, most of all, a product with a perceived value in excess of its price.


Nothing works better than a quality product, shipped within 48 hours, that is properly billed. On the other end, your happiest customers are the ones that open your shipment and feel they got a great deal. It's the formula for a winning telemarketing campaign. It's the formula for any successful marketing campaign.


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