A Shotgun and a Sledgehammer

I love telemarketers. You see, I just don’t get to talk to enough people during the course of the day, and I find it truly exciting to talk to someone who doesn’t have a clue about the product they are selling, and knows even less about the people they are trying to sell it to.

Case in point: the other day I was taking one of my very infrequent days off, which I happened to put me about 30 miles off the coast, tuna fishing (no fish were harmed during the course of the boat ride…sigh), and my phone rings. The young lady on the other end of the phone was having a little trouble with both her script, and with her command of the English language, but managed to tell me how she’d been looking at our website and thought that we could benefit from her company’s Web Site Starter kit.

Me: Do you know what Vario Creative does? What kind of company it is?

Her: Yes.

Me: Okay, and you’ve actually looked at our web site?

Her: Yes.

Me: What kind of flowers are on the homepage?

Her: (silence)

Me: Okay, so you didn’t look at our site. Are you aware that Vario Creative is the leader in Web Development and Design in this area, as well as doing general marketing?

Her: No…

Me: So there really isn’t any reason for us to be talking, right?

Her: Maybe I could have my boss call you to explain why you need us…

The lesson here is this: telemarketing can be a great way to generate leads, but it’s got to be done by a competent sales person who has at least a clue about your business, and that of your potential customers. If you think you can just put some clown on a phone and have them run through every business listing in your area, you’re more likely going to:

  • Turn off potential customers
  • Look like a fool
  • Alert your competitors that you’re a weak sister and suggest to them that it might be worth the time to go after your customers
  • Become the subject of a scathing blog post or other bad PR, just like these clowns, who I decided not to mention by name…this time

3 Replies to “A Shotgun and a Sledgehammer”

  1. I too sit all alone by the telephone just hoping someone will call and brighten my day!

    I’m particularly thrilled when they ask for:
    1. “Mr. Schmidt”
    2. “M.R. Schmidt”
    3. “Mary Smith”
    4. “The owner of Mary Schmidt” (Well, that might be my two cats but they don’t really like to buy things over the phone.)

    What’s really sad is when a company with which I already do business (and like doing so) does totally cold telemarketing/sales. They’ve already got everthing but my shoe size, since I’ve been a customer for years, and they can’t somehow separate the “current customers” from “prospects” list and plan accordingly?

    And then there are those pitches offering to help me learn marketing…which are kinda fun in a sick sorta way. Somehow I don’t think a kid in India working off a script can help me much.

  2. My most memorable telemarketing experience truly blew me away.

    Within two weeks after my mother’s death, I was at her house to prepare it for sale, go through stuff, etc.

    Oops! I made the mistake of answering the phone.

    Telemarketer: “Is Mrs. Kehlenbach there.”
    Me: “She’s dead.”
    Telemarketer: “How about Mr. Kehlenbach?”
    Me: “He’s dead too.”
    Telemarketer: “Well, do you know who provides your long-distance telephone service?”
    Me: “No. And I don’t care.”
    Telemarketer: “Would you like to hear about how we can save you money?”
    Me: “No. No one lives here. They are all dead.”
    Telemarketer: “Are you sure?”
    Me: “Look, my mother just died. No one lives here. No one will be making long-distance calls.”
    Telemarketer: Well, if I could just tell you about our services.”

    Now how fu**ing stupid can you be?

    A telemarketer with a sales script is like a driver on a cell phone. They both miss basic cues.

    The telemarketer is intent on delivering the spiel and doesn’t hear a thing. The driver on the cell phone decides to move into the passing lane even though no car is in front of them nor notices that they just cut someone off and had a near death experience.

    This is the same mistake that eCommerce sites make. Why would I want to buy a particular DVD from Amazon, when I have already purchased it from them? Yet, it is “Recommended for Me.”

    It is clear the information that vendors have about me (past purchases, to whom I shipped, the circumstances under which I buy (promotions, free shipping, holidays, etc.)) is not used effectively.

    Or as a prospect, there is nothing is worse than requiring me to create an account to access information about a product. Why make me jump through hoops? If your product does A, B and C and not D and D is what I require, your time(and mine)is wasted.

    As an Internet shopper (98% of my purchases are done online), what I want is detailed information about your product (specs, applications, price, etc.), what differentiates your product from your competitors, where, how or from whom I can buy your product and most of all anonymity. I have to wonder if suppliers truly understand why people buy their products. If what you tell me about your product meets my requirements along with why you are reputable, I will seek you out and the sale is a fait accompli.

  3. Great one Val! I think the Fighter Pilots in the Air Force call it “Target Fixation” they become so intent on the target (a sale in this case) that they miss all other opportunity or risk (this is where the fighter pilot gets blown out of the sky by that MIG he failed to notice…)

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