Friday, April 14, 2006

My 7 Golden Rules for Marketing on the Phone

I am not talking about cold calling on the phone. What a waste. The federal government did us all a favor by taking such interruptive calls into our homes away from our marketing mix. Now we can stay riveted on calling as part of a coordinated lead generation process. It is not episodic, but instead is cleverly integrated into an overall process of helping customers make better buying decisions.

My First Golden Rule: Do No Cold Calling.

Call into carefully segmented target audiences, based on contextually relevant information -- a reasonable reason to make the call. This is not a numbers game; it is a a ratios discipline.

My Second Golden Rule: Plan Ahead How You Will be of Assistance.

Before you make the call, know exactly what you want to achieve and how you will help the person on the other end of the line. What will that person do differently or better as a result of your call?

My Third Golden Rule: Establish the Reason for the Call.

Your opening sentence should briefly tell what the call is about and how you are providing value to the listener. "Thanks for visiting our booth at the recent trade show ... I am following up on your interest in improving operational efficiency ... I have a few ideas to share with you.

My Fourth Golden Rule: Be Courteous.

Is this a good time for us to talk? Yes: thank you. Maybe: I will keep this brief. No: When would you prefer that I call back?

My Fifth Golden Rule: Ask and Listen.

Successful telemarketing reps ask and listen and then respond to the customer's needs. Picture what the person is saying to you ... make it visual in your head so you can see her needs ... repeat key comments or words. Close your eyes so you can see the situation.

My Sixth Golden Rule: Respond with Contextually Relevant Assistance.

You have an objective in mind and you must achieve your objective. But you must do it in such a way that you are helping. Use emotional cues to drive toward customer value. Confirm if you are on base and if not, get back on base. Be helpful. Be helpful. Be helpful.

My Seventh Golden Rule: Always Get at Least One New Piece of Information.

The call is just one part of an overall lead generation program. It is important to build your company's knowledge about the prospect. You should have a list of criteria that you want to eventually learn about the prospect so you can customize responses. If you need the mailing address, ask to mail something to the prospect. If you need the email address, ask to email something to the prospect. If you need the names of other people at the same company, ask to send them something.

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