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Why Most Telemarketing Calls Fail: 4 Ways to Make Them Airtight

The word on the street for the last decade has been that telemarketing calls just dont work. The truth is that telemarketing does work for the handful of companies that do it correctly. In fact, any marketing vehicle--telemarketing, direct mail, email marketing--works when theres value for the customer.

Todays consumers are savvier than ever before. They have to be in order to differentiate the good from the bad in the barrage of marketing messages they see everyday. Thats precisely why businesses that win the telemarketing game are good at two critical aspects--they have clearly defined purpose behind every call and they add real value through a number of different means.

Why Telemarketing Calls Fail

If theres any motivation to shore-up telemarketing calls, it can be found in the latest statistics concerning the Do Not Call registry in the United States and Canada. These facts and figures, conveyed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, should be enough to make even the most hardened CEO rethink telemarketing strategies:

  • Whos on the List? As of Oct. 5, 2007, the Unites States Do Not Call list had 145,498,656 telephone numbers registered
  • Whos Getting Fined? The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice have filed 34 law enforcement actions to the tune of $16 million in civil penalties
  • Canada is Next. $4.1 billion was spent on telemarketing in Canada in 2006, generating $26.1 billion in sales and creating 155,000 jobs

The primary reason telemarketing calls fail is that they rely too much on the numbers game and neglect the person theyre aimed at selling. Theres little strategic purpose, too much actual selling in the initial contact, a resistance to sending written information, and an appalling lack of follow-up.

How to Make Telemarketing Calls Valuable

TelesalesMagics 15 Steps to Easier Cold Calling Success features Karen Andrews, Director of Shine Sales Solutions based in Australia. She offers several ways to improve response rates, but four in particular are worth mentioning as they capture what it means to add value to the call.

Businesses should:

  1. Determine the Goal of the Call. Whether it is to gain a foothold in the quote submission process or earn a meeting with a decision-maker, all telemarketing calls should be focused.
  2. Not Sell the First Contact. It rarely, if ever, happens anyway. The purpose of the initial contact is brand recognition and trust-building. Getting to the final stage too soon can actually encourage suspicion.
  3. Have Written Information Readily Available. When a client asks for written information, that call should be considered a success--have a mailer or a Web address ready to be delivered.
  4. Always Perform Timely Follow-up. Many telemarketing calls start successful and end in a no-sale simply because the professional fails at following-up; if it doesnt happen, theres no way to know for sure.

Doing these four things consistently helps response rates rise. Neglecting them can lead to those customers following the trend--adding themselves to the Do Not Call registry.



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