There are many theories on how to best reach out to customers through telemarketing. The different strategies and approaches are so ubiquitous, you may wonder how they could possibly work. Before you decide that it’s time to reinvent the wheel, remember that the strategies you see repeated seemingly everywhere are everywhere for a reason - they often work. Here are 10 tips to executing a successful outbound telemarketing or appointment setting campaign:

1. Contact the decision maker

Numero uno. The first rule of Fight Club, etc. This is the first and most important thing to understand, because if you are not dealing with the decision maker, you will not be successful. End of story. If you spend your time dealing with someone who is not the final decision maker, you are essentially outsourcing your sales efforts to that person. Remember that the person to whom you are selling will be looking out for their job, as the decision maker is typically the individual’s boss. Therefore, you should target business owners with a message tailored to benefits such as competitive advantages, increased productivity, and cost-savings.

2. Don’t beat around the bush

Whatever you do, don’t waste the prospect’s time. Be upfront with the customer and tell him that the reason for your call is to introduce your company and see if it makes sense for them to schedule a more detailed appointment with your business. Don’t pretend that you are just interested in learning more about their business. Don’t pretend that you are offering something for free. Decision makers constantly field telemarketing calls and know what you’re up to. Don’t annoy them by pretending to offer something that you are not.

Practice your opening statement with the goal of putting the prospect in a positive mindset and quickly transition to the questioning/discovery portion of your call. Be sure that the first questions you ask will be answered affirmatively.

3. Ask Relevant Questions

See step 2. Do not waste time at the call opening by discussing the weather or how they are doing today. Don’t ask questions that aren’t directly related to the products or services you are offering. Avoid sounding like you are playing a game of 20 questions, or taking a survey. Ask a question, and follow it up with your reason for asking.

4. Ask for the Sale or Appointment

Once you have determined that the prospect is a good fit for your services, ask for the appointment. At this point, it is not necessary to continue the discovery phase of the call. If you continue asking questions, you risk convincing the prospect that your company might not be the best fit. Simply move on to step five.

5. Gain Commitment and Close quickly

Offer the prospect at least two time and date options for an appointment. Instead of going through a lengthy back and forth, either on the phone or via email, pick two appointment times that work for you. If the prospect is truly interested, he will find a way to fit the time into his schedule. If not, you may be wasting your time to begin with. Once you have gained commitment for a scheduled appointment, politely end the call and move on to your next outbound call.

It isn’t rocket science, but these steps have a long track record of effectively generating leads through outbound telemarketing. Sound easy? It’s not. But if you follow the above steps, you will avoid wasting your time on prospects who may be too polite to say no, and will have more time to focus on those who are most likely to become customers.

Author's Bio: 

Derek Holland has more than a decade of experience in outbound telemarketing and appointment setting. He currently works as a consultant for offshore call centers such as Hit Rate Solutions and Next Level IT Services.