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Telemarketing - how to get it right!

Sometimes the perception is that telemarketing fails to deliver the expected returns and, therefore, has a limited role to play in marketing strategy. This usually stems from an out-dated view of what telemarketing really involves.

The reality is that many businesses reap substantial returns and that’s why they continue with their telemarketing programmes, year after year.

But what’s the secret to success? Well it’s largely down to two realities.

Reality One – Target high-value sales

The truth is that telemarketing can be a significant spend and, therefore, should be targeted at generating “high-value” sales, that will make the difference between a business ticking over and really thriving. It’s true what they say:  “low value sales may pay the bills but high-value sales make you rich”.

If you sell widgets, where margins are low, there is probably a better way to deliver the “high-volume” sales you’ll need. But, if you want “high-value” sales, then telemarketing is for you.

Reality Two – treat your prospects like your best customers

Today, there is no place for the old fashioned approach to telemarketing, which entails a high volume of cold calls, along with pressurised sales tactics. Decision makers are still bombared with these calls every day and the end result is often to ‘cheese off’ your best prospects or to set poor quality appointments, that often amount to no more than brochure delivery exercises.

Reality Two is that the only approach to successful telemarketing is to treat your prospects like your best customers. This starts by getting close to them, seeking to understand what they want to achieve and then demonstrating how your product and services will close the gaps.

Of course, this far easier to do, if you have well-trained, relationship builders, who can build awareness, rapport and the beginnings of strong relationships with decision makers over the telephone, and then go on to ask challenging questions before closing on an appointment.

This approach to telemarketing is often referred to as Prospect Relationship Management (PRM). PRM applies two core principles of consultative selling.

Principle One

Principle One is to provide your prospects with a positive and pleasant experience, every time you make contact with them over the telephone.

This is best done using a tried and tested call structure, such as the BIDD Call Model.

Importantly, BIDD will leave the prospect feeling positive and that they have just done something “with” the caller, rather than feeling the caller has just done a number “on” them.


Through BIDD the consultative telemarketer:


  • A great first impression and interest in the call

  • Rapport and trust with the prospect

  • The beginnings of a strong commercial relationship

INFORMs the prospect about:

  • Their role

  • The reason for the call

  • The company 

  • What is on offer and the potential benefits to the prospect

DISCOVERs through questioning and listening:

  • The detail of prospect’s current arrangements

  • The prospect’s existing and future needs and aspirations

  • The prospect’s buying motives

DIRECTs the call to a successful conclusion:

  • By gaining agreement to the next step, which, ultimately, will be an appointment/sale.


Principle Two

Principle Two is to demonstrate you have the prospect’s interests at heart by finding out about their needs, aspirations and what would motivate them to do business with you, before you try to book an appointment with them.

We are all motivated to buy, by one of two forces (or a combination of both). Either we want to “achieve" or move towards a goal or aspiration, or we want to "avoid" or move away from a painful situation.

The goal of the telemarketer is to find the unique motivators of every prospect called, and to demonstrate how their products and services will help the prospect achieve or avoid what they want to achieve or avoid.

This is best done using some simple probing and listening skills and a tried and tested probing framework such as BPIW.

BPIW is a chain of questions that, with practice, will help any telemarketer motivate decision makers to take action. The questions are simple:

  • Background questions – help you to really understand current arrangements and contract details, e.g. “what arrangements do you currently have in place?”

  • Problem questions – help you to identify dissatisfaction with the current situation and/or aspirations for the future, e.g. “Does this cause you a problem?”

  • Implication questions – these establish the real impact or pain on the business and the decision maker, if the current situation does not change or aspirations are not realised, e.g. “How does this impact your business?”

  • Want questions – help you to establish what the decision maker wants from the best solution and to gain agreement to an appointment, e.g. “What would you want from the ideal solution?”

By implementing these two realities: target high-value sales and treat your prospects like your best customers , you’ll find your telemarketing programmes will deliver “high-value” and “high-quality” leads, appointments and sales, far beyond your expectations.

If you would like to find out more about the BIDD Call Model or BPIW Questions Chains or how to run an effective telemarketing campaign, please give me a call or drop me a line. You can find more information on our telemarketing service here: PDT Telemarketing

Phil Gower

Performance Development and Training Limited