Telemarketing still works.
You had a long week at work and a successful one too. You are looking forward to the weekend. The weekend is here. You just want to relax, sit by yourself, and catch up on a favorite movie with your favorite drink in hand.
Everything rolled out just the way you planned in your mind. There are the drink and the movie. Your cozy ergonomics recliner is adding to the joy of the moment. Nothing can go wrong!
Your phone rings. You pause the movie, put the drink aside, and get out of the comfort of the recliner to answer the call. The call turns out to be from a telemarketer enquiring if it’s a good time to talk about a promotion.
Honestly, is there ever a good time to talk with a telemarketer!? It’s a no-brainer. 99 out of 100 times people hang up on telemarketing calls even before the call proceeds to the first-minute milestone.
Then there is the Do Not Disturb or the DND facility to block a number to not receive calls ever again from that number. Most often than not, people use this facility to block telemarketers.
In this age and time of focused customer segmentation and targeting offered by various other channels, why would any company want to invest in telemarketing? Why does telemarketing still exist? More importantly, does it work? Do people even buy from telemarketing calls?
The answers to these questions are not a straight yes or no for sure. However, it can’t be ignored that telemarketing has its set of benefits because of which it still exists. There is a segment of customers who respond to telemarketers and buy their stuff. Otherwise, why in this wide world would any company spend precious dollars on a channel that’s not ROI friendly!
My dad recently bought an electric hot water bag from a telemarketer. When I asked him why? He said, as a matter of fact, ‘the guy on phone took the trouble to explain me everything and set up an appointment with their sales person’. What my dad is not telling me here is that it felt nice to be given the priority to be approached. In other words, he felt like a privileged customer.
The same electric hot water bag is available in the nearby department store and even on Amazon. But, an unknown telemarketer got the deal simply because he made the customer feel special.
On the face of it, telemarketing works because of its human angle. The age-old notion of business is between two people is apt for telemarketing efforts.
A trained telemarketer with a good script, a phone list and equipped with all product knowledge can put your customer at ease to make the sale.
In the case of the electric bag, the salesperson, a 20 something young girl impressed upon my dad that if he uses the product and doesn’t like it, she will come back to collect it in 10 days. It could just be a marketing tactic the girl used. It got the old man working though.
My dad took the time to tell everyone on the family to use the electric bag and tell him if there was any problem with it. To me, it seemed like my dad had also become an indirect salesman of the product.
This can happen to all kinds of marketing channels. No doubt about that. But think about it, when a person is involved, suddenly the seriousness about the product is a lot more.
True to her word, the girl who sold the electric bag, came to meet my dad 10 days after the sale. She enquired about the usage, wanted to know if there were any concerns and asked my dad to politely refer two of his friends for the product. My dad gave the two references. The girl got her next two customers for an appointment.
When I look back at this transaction, what essentially happened was a telemarketing call which established a human connection. It then developed a curiosity for the product. The telemarketer sought an appointment to explain the product further. The sales person arrives to demonstrate the product, puts the customer at ease and guarantees a limited time exchange offer. More importantly, follows up on the promise. All of this leads to the building of trust which lets the customer give references.
I am wondering which other channels can do all of this at a cost that is just as much as this. I really don’t have a ready answer.
If we look at this electric bag example, the customer anyways felt privileged. The company selling the bag has got even more. A perfectly cold contact got converted to a sale. It got a direct return on investment. One call has generated other key contacts. The whole process has given the company valuable customer feedback. This is just one sale we are talking about.
Now imagine 1000 such transactions. The data that gets generated is a practical gold mine. Not just that, because of this extremely personal human connection involved, the next time, this company wants to reach out, it already has a telemarketing list to go to.
There are always cases of untrained telemarketers ruining a perfect weekend. It is not just like that, that this channel has been called pushy. But if we sift through the superficial elements, a telemarketing channel may be a sure way to make a sale to a customer.