Did I invent the term Consultative Telemarketing?
“What is the best form of telemarketing that will lead to new sales?” That is the question that I asked myself almost 10 years ago, when I started to build my Freelance Business Development business. I will do my best to explain why I think the answer to the question is ‘Consultative Telemarketing’.
Telemarketing per se can mean many things to many people. We’ve all received the annoying calls at home, when trying to sit down for dinner of an evening. Yet most people forget that £Billions of business transactions take place with people agreeing to work together via a phone call.
I’ve been around the block a few times, having spent many a year as a Director of an SME. In all that time I found it difficult to find an employee who had the skills, expertise and gravitas – to strike up a conversation with intelligent buyers. In fact, I often ended up conducting all the lead generation for myself.
Before going Freelance I had worked for a multi-millionaire for 7 years, heading up his new-start technology businesses. Before that I was a Director of a Business Development Agency in London. In all that time, I found myself undertaking the lead generation, right through to close of sale and on to account management.
So when I started SL-Freelance, the issue for me was how to differentiate myself as a ‘telemarketing’ person, from those awful telephone canvassers. After a spot of research and some time wracking my brain, I had the answer. I realised that when I had closed sales in the field, everyone had referred to me as a Consultative Salesman.
So about 8 years ago, I coined the phrase ‘Consultative Telemarketing’. What makes me giggle now, is that I think I created a new phrase for the marketing industry. I now see that other people have started referring to themselves as consultative telemarketing people. If I had owned a crystal ball, perhaps I should have copyrighted the term?
Are all Consultative Telemarketing people the same?
Since the recession kicked-in around 2008, the number of people who have decided to try and make a living as a freelance telemarketing person has grown and grown. I think that this has made matters difficult for someone who wants to hire the best telemarketing person.
The rise of online work-sites like O-Desk and People Per hour has demonstrated a massive increase in so-called ‘freelance telemarketing’ people. Personally, I think that you can’t beat a really great PA or a web developer offshore for service and price; but considering that most people I’ve worked with have a limited grasp of British English, I certainly wouldn’t want them representing my company on the phone for lead generation.
Consultative Telemarketing for the savvy buyer
As the market matures, buyers are now becoming more savvy. A few years ago I had some silly conversations with people trying to compare my rates with those of People Per Hour. Now I find the majority of people who want a telemarketing expert have smartened up. Buyers have realised that ‘offshore’ does not mean ‘quality’ when it comes to articulating the English language.
I don’t think that I was the first person to ever offer ‘Consultative Telemarketing’, but I do believe that I coined the phrase. What I’ve noticed now, is that my competitors are now referring to themselves as consultative telemarketing people, where they too are selling complex offerings to intelligent buyers.
There are a small number of individuals and agencies out there who I would say are in the same league as me. That said, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. Buyers and Sellers of consultative telemarketing services are ‘learning the lingo’. The question is… “Does an understanding of the terminology really mean that someone knows how to put it in to practice?”
Consultative Telemarketing – Talking the Talk or Walking the Talk?
Over the past 6 months, I’ve noticed that savvy buyers of high quality B2B telemarketing services are talking the talk. A couple of buyers astonished me recently by reeling off how they could access the right data, how they talked about targeting the right decision makers, and how they understood the total lead generation process via telephone.
It suddenly dawned on me recently, that I began to realise the chasm of difference between the eloquent rendition of strategy and the complete misunderstanding of how to put this in to practice.
To give an analogy, a couple of years ago, a client asked me to go way beyond Lead Generation for him. My client asked me to help him sell a highly complex piece of engineering worth £1/3Million, as his sales team were struggling. I closed the sale for him because I gained a deep theoretical understanding of the product and his client. However, no one in their right mind would have asked me to pick up a spanner and install a piece of kit that required the expertise of a fully qualified engineer.
There is a massive difference between understanding the theory of winning new business via ‘Consultative Telemarketing’ and actually putting it in to practice.
In my next blog I will dig deeper in to the differences….
In the meantime, if you are seeking to win new business with Intelligent Buyers – call me on 0203 790 9307 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org