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Dear Telemarketer: Sometimes, I Want to Talk To You

Dear Telemarketer: Sometimes, I Want to Talk To You

I talked to a telemarketer today. Here’s some tips I would give him on how to better make a sale. If you want to know the story, read on below.

Dear Telemarketer, you had me at the first nice hello, but lost me on the last angry one. You could have held my attention by:

  • Listening to and answering my questions. You could have quickly gotten to the point of the phone call. You had my attention, and I was willing to give you some time.
  • Getting to the point. You could have stopped asking how many people were in my office the second time I avoided the question. I even asked you why he needed to know, and you wouldn’t tell me.
  • Giving me a quick list of benefits. You shouldn’t have told me that you “don’t want to work together right now.” That doesn’t make any sense to me. Perhaps a quick explanation along with benefits to my company would have held my interest for longer.
  • Being gracious. You shouldn’t have gotten angry while I’m politely trying to remove myself from the conversation. In the off chance that you reach me again, I would never in a million years become a client of yours.
  • Bonus Note: I don’t really care what fancy lists your company is on, that you’re a partner with Microsoft, or that you have a large company. I have plenty of local companies that have some or none of those credentials, and I’d much rather work with them.

The Story

As a person who sells things, I understand how challenging the process can be. As someone with a job, I know I have to do that job. These are things I think about when a telemarketer actually reaches me – they’re a person doing a sales job.

Today, I answered the phone at the office. It happened to be a telemarketer. A very friendly guy calling from Montreal, excited about the weekend. Sounded like a nice guy, so I chatted with him a bit and asked how I could help.

He briefly explained that he was with an IT company that had just been on some fancy list (Forbes, maybe?) and that they were one of the largest IT companies in the land of somewhere. I was listening, but he was talking pretty quickly. He had visited our website and mentioned some of the more distinguishing features of it, so I thought, “What the heck, I’ll hear this guy out!”

I’m a busy girl, so I communicated that but didn’t attempt to terminate the phone call. I asked him very politely to reach the point of the conversation – what exactly was he trying to sell? After vague answers, he proceeded to ask me how many people are in the office.

I asked him what he was selling. He said we didn’t need to work together now, maybe in the future. I asked him what he was selling. I started suggesting things he might be selling. He asked me how many people were in the office.

I got frustrated because he wasn’t answering my questions – and I really did want to know the answer to how he might be able to help my company. But he was sticking to his script, and I noticed his accent was starting to change as we got deeper we got into our conversation. So, who was he, really? Was he really in Canada? Did the company really have all these ‘credentials’?

By this time, the only thought crossing my mind was that I could not afford an hour to spend on the phone with this man. If he wasn’t going to answer my one question then I couldn’t justify speaking with him any longer.

I’m pretty good at politely removing myself from these types of conversations. I closed by thanking him for his time, but I couldn’t devote any more of my time and didn’t want to take up any more of his. He got mad. “HELLO?”, he said. I again thanked him and told him to have a nice weekend, where he then made a frustrated, angry noise just before I hung up.

I really was interested. I really was polite. I really did understand that he was doing a job, that he’s a person, too. I actually felt bad hanging up on him for these reasons, but really, it had to be done or I would still be on the phone with him. I did learn something from the conversation though, about what others might want from me when speaking, so not all was lost. Oh, and I got this blog post out of it.

PS: Telemarketer Guy – this post is not an invitation to call me back, you’ve successfully lost me as a potential client. But I do hope your next try will be more successful with these tips.