13 April 2016 Category: Insider Perspective

“A real conversation always contains an invitation. You are inviting another person to reveal himself or herself to you, to tell you who they are or what they want.”  – David Whyte, English poet.

“A real conversation always contains an invitation. You are inviting another person to reveal himself or herself to you, to tell you who they are or what they want.” – David Whyte, English poet.

Telemarketing allows you to connect with your target audience on a uniquely personal level. Unlike other channels, it enables you to have real-time conversations with individual prospects and clients – playing a powerful role in generating new leads, strengthening relationships and identifying how your brand is really perceived on the ground.   

Surely a marketing platform this distinctive requires a bespoke messaging strategy?

Surprisingly, this is not often the way it plays out. Many of our clients work long and hard to craft the messaging that they use online, in their email campaigns, on social media, and in print; and then they treat their telemarketing content as an afterthought.

Clients often come to us with messaging that has been cobbled together from bits and pieces of content that were purpose-written for other channels. The result is a telemarketing campaign that has not been given the level of critical thought and strategic attention that it deserves from the outset.

Telemarketing, like any other marketing channel, is most effective when it carries messaging that has been tailor-made for both the platform and the campaign at hand. This does not only call for content that is clear and simple enough to be understood over the phone. It also requires companies and their marketing teams to sit down and think carefully about how they can really connect with their chosen prospects one-to-one and draw them into meaningful dialogues.

Looks good on paper, falls flat on the phone.

Many of our clients believe that their standard messaging strategies will work perfectly in the telemarketing context. In our experience, however, the beautifully crafted messages that sound so powerful in the boardroom often don’t translate well into real telephone conversations. The last thing you want is to disrupt a chat with messaging that sounds contrived or out of context.

At the Telemarketing Company, our agents know how to get past gatekeepers and engage even the most hostile of contacts. What we need from our clients is a clear and relevant messaging strategy on which to build discussions and arguments, as well as frame answers to product-, service- and proposition-related questions.

We do hold a briefing and training session at the start of every campaign, during which we will provide you with advice and guidance on your messaging. However, we find that clients who come prepared with sound messaging strategies, which they have crafted carefully not only for their chosen market segment, but for the telemarketing channel specifically, tend to see the most successful outcomes.

Given the fact that a telemarketing campaign represents a sizeable investment for many of our clients, it is well worth spending time on your messaging to ensure you get the most out of this highly effective marketing channel. How can you capitalise on the human contact that you will achieve with key decision-makers? What value propositions would you like to highlight and how can you translate these sentiments into meaningful conversations?

Here are some tips:

To script or not to script?

While there is certainly a need to plan each call and map out a strategic messaging framework, a detailed script can hinder a conversation – making the call more of a monologue than a dialogue.

Scripts can also never cater for all the objections and questions that agents will be subject to, especially when they encounter a challenging individual. Instead, it is better is to develop a series of key phrases which can be used to build an argument or form the foundation for the answers to objections and questions.

This approach gives structure to calls but also allows agents the flexibility they need to adapt the flow and tone of the messaging to suit each individual prospect’s personality, pain points and perspectives.

These key phrases should capture the following:

  • Your unique selling proposition (what sets your brand apart?)
  • The core product or service benefits that the current campaign focuses on
  • The campaign call to action

Positioning your brand

Our agents are your brand guardians and they will reflect your business ethos and brand principles at all times when representing your company over the phone. However, while telemarketing is perfect for creating awareness around a specific proposition – it is not the right space for a pure brand-building campaign.

Unless your brand is well-known in the public domain and these types of sentiments make sense in a conversational context, brand positioning statements or messaging that focuses too much on ‘selling the brand’ will come across as forced and disruptive in the context of the dialogue.

Make your first impression a lasting impression

The first few words in any telemarketing conversation are the most important. It is advisable to explain the purpose of your call right from the very beginning. This shows the prospect that you are being transparent and straightforward; and that you are not interested in wasting their time. This should hopefully help to gain the prospect’s trust.   

The way in which these words are delivered is also crucial. The tone of the messaging here needs to strike a balance between conversational, professional and passionate.

Give your audience a chance to speak

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Instead of putting together a one-sided sales pitch, prepare a set of interesting, thought-provoking and open-ended questions for your agents to ask during the call. This positions the prospect as the expert or guide, taking them off the back foot and into the driver’s seat.

By listening to the responses, you and your agents can build a realistic understanding of your target audience’s needs – putting you in a better position to offer them a solution that they want.

Focus on benefits

In telemarketing, when prospects begin asking questions, it is an opportunity to close. Instead of answering with a laundry list of product features, it is better for the messaging to focus on tangible benefits. Essentially, the prospect wants to know how the product or service will add value to their lives. It is best to keep answers short and simple, and the language real. This is a phone conversation, not an infomercial.

Call to action

The perfect telemarketing message encourages the prospect to take action – whether this involves accepting a call-back, committing to a follow-up meeting with your technical team, or buying a product outright.

When developing your messaging, take time to clearly define your campaign objectives and ensure that all your messaging is aligned with these goals.

Messaging is not set in stone

At the Telemarketing Company, we work in close collaboration with our clients to fine-tune the messaging as the campaign progresses. We tend to view the first calls on a campaign as exploratory, which enables us to ascertain how the messaging resonates with the audience and identify any areas that could do with a little polishing.

A solid feedback loop between us and our client enables us to hone the messaging as we go along, which ultimately enhances ROI and campaign success.

Unique messaging for a one-of-a-kind platform

That said – as a client, you know your brand, products and services best and you can really set your telemarketing campaign apart by establishing a sound messaging strategy at the very beginning. This involves thinking carefully about who you are speaking to, why they should listen to you, and what you have to offer them in this unique context.  

As you would with any other key marketing channel, content that is custom-crafted for the platform and the specific campaign you are embarking on is more likely to resonate with your target audience and optimise your ROI.

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