Telemarketing is serious business

By Mary Jane Copps*
President, Media Link

Over the past decade I have heard all the slanderous, ignorant and unfair statements people make about telemarketing. But I remain a believer because I've run a business strictly by phone for 10 years - a business that continues to profit and to expand into new marketplaces.

Don't confuse 'telemarketing' with 'telesales'. The calls which require immediate purchasing decisions are telesales. At home you hear from charities and at the office from suppliers. Such calls are only about revenue and often contribute to the tarnished reputation of the phone as a valuable business tool.

Here are just some of the ways a professional telemarketer can meet any organization's objectives:

  1. Customer Service - a quarterly or semi-annual call to your customer. It needn't be detailed, and voice mail can be used by leaving a clear message stating your company name and giving the cusyomer the choice to return the call for further information.
  2. Public Relations - Has something exciting or interesting happened, but you're not sure it's worth a press release? Pick up the phone and leave some messages. If journalists think it's news, they'll call back. Include some customers and potential customers on this call list for good measure.
  3. Pricing - Thinking of a price increase - or a special promotion? Test it out by phone to gauge the reaction. A sample of 50 to 100 customers and potential customers will give you valuable information.
  4. Development - No one will give you better reactions to a new product or service than your existing customer. Call them, interview them, get their candid reactions to your development plans. They will be pleased you asked for their input and you will develop a better product.
  5. Research - any price or information you're looking for - the birth date of Sir John A. MacDonald or the weight of an elephant - can be found by phone. The fax machine, the telemarketer's constant companion, can be used to collect information by questionnaire from your customer base.
  6. Planning - It is difficult to anticipate a customer's needs without information. A well-planned phone survey to a specific industry or market niche will provide you with the facts and forecasts you need.
  7. Promotion - Everytime anyone in your organization uses the phone they are promoting. Your organization name shows up on the phone screens, gets picked up off voice mail, it is transcribed by secretaries. Encourage everyone's phone professionalism as your most consistent marketing message.
  8. Referrals - No matter what your product or service, the people you talk to on the phone each day can refer you to someone who might become a customer. Take a minute to think - what are the possibilities if every phone call you make today results in another potential client?
  9. Sales - No I haven't forgotten. Almost 100% of may company's sales are made by phone. The average sales takes 21 days to complete and involves one fax and at least four conversations.
  10. Recognition - By using the phone in any or all of the above-mentioned ways, you will raise awareness in your marketplace. Afterall, telemarketing means business, serious business.

*Mary Jane copps is president of Media Link Inc., a company she founded in 1987. Based in Halifax, Nova scotia, it currently employs seven full time people, all of them on the phone.

Back to publications