Best Telemarketing 2012 “Fear or Greed”

Best Telemarketing Fear or Greed 2
The right sales message or “pitch” is an essential part of all successful lead generation campaigns.  For 7 years I worked for the most financially successful man that I have ever known on a personal level.  This chap went from a humble background to amass a small fortune.  I will explain his take on matters and my interpretation of “Fear & Greed” to provide the best telemarketing pitch.

LEAD GENERATION – THE BASE INSTINCTS OF HUMANS

My mentor worked on the stock exchange for many years.  He didn’t talk much about that period of his life.  He tended to sum matters up with short proverbs.  When I asked him how he made sales, he simply said “Fear & Greed, Stephen – Fear & Greed”.  These were the 2  deep-rooted psychological drivers for most people on the stock exchange.

“Which is more powerful”, I asked – Fear or Greed?  In essence, these are simply 2 sides of the same coin – yet one side faces up and the other faces down.  A new version of the film ‘Wall Street’ was released recently which examines “Greed” – and evidently on face value, this emotion is not a pretty one.  Yet is “Fear” a better emotion than “Greed”.  In all honesty, both emotions demonstrate the more animalistic driving forces of humans, yet I would choose to sell on “Greed” any day – I will explain why….

Whilst “Greed” in it’s most extreme form is no doubt a cause for many woes in this world, the same too can be said for “Fear”.  Until the big crash in 2007, the markets were running on Greed.  Everyone in the West wanted a bigger house, a better job, in short – a better life.  The problem was that everyone got way too greedy and started borrowing money that they didn’t have – especially the banks!  Net result – the bubble burst and the pendulum has now swung back  to “Fear”.

WE NOW LIVE IN A WORLD OF FEAR – AND THE ECONOMY SUCKS!

Government’s are too scared to invest, as are banks, businesses and individuals.  We’re constantly told by the media that the whole system could collapse at any moment.  The media bandwagon tells us how oil prices are going through the roof, that the Euro is on the brink, and that we’re all going to be attacked by crazy terrorists at any moment.

Quite frankly, one look at the number of people who vote in elections sums it all up.  Many people have stopped voting because they’re sick and tired of listening to ‘Austerity Measures’ and all the doom and gloom – or “Fear”.  In short, people tend to get far more excited when they think “What’s in it for me”, as opposed to “Another reason why I have to do what I’m told”.

So whilst “Greed” in it’s extreme form is no doubt damaging, “Fear” is ten times worse.  In short, “Greed” is the upside or positive emotion and “Fear” is the downside or negative emotion.   I will try to give an example…

CASE STUDY – LEAD GENERATION, “GREED” V “FEAR”

I’ve been helping a client for about a year now and I came up with a great pitch about how the product will make companies lots and lots of money.  My client was overwhelmed by the fact that on average – every time I pitch to 2 people that I’ve never spoken to before in my life- one of these two prospects asks for a meeting to discuss matters further.  They described these statistics as ‘phenomenal’.  In contrast, they have a rather dour  sales manager who’s lead generation capabilities appear to be questionable.  Could it be that this sales manager’s ‘doom-and-gloom’ outlook is the root cause of their failure Vs my upbeat success?

I was asked at the outset of the campaign for this client, to write a generic email to support lead generation.  Suffice to say that I based the email on “Greed”.  That email has been modified and re-written umpteen times now; but it’s done a great job by using the classic method of producing Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA).  Most prospects want to improve their performance and make more money – so selling on “Greed” is simply natural – but also positive.  When I create a sales opportunity for my client, the prospect is looking forward to a fun and interestng meeting where they talk about success.  But what is the flipside…

In contrast, I’ve just read a new email that their sales manager has come up with based on “Fear”.  Certain Fascist propaganda experts of the 1930′s would have loved the tone of this email.  The concept is based on Darwin’s survival of the fittest and is intended to scare the hell out of anyone – that if you don’t read this your business will die!  Can you imagine what sort of meeting a prospect would be looking forward to?  A metaphorical dark cloud in the room, where my client explains how if they don’t do what they’re told that they will lose their job, their business, their livelihood and no doubt want to jump out of a window?

LEAD GENERATION BASED ON GREED – MAKE ‘EM SMILE

Until someone comes up with a better business model than Capitalism, then we really have a choice in selling on “Fear” or “Greed”.  To summarise, I would recount the children’s story about the Wind and the Sun.  The Wind made a bet with the Sun that he could get the coat of a man walking down the street.  The Wind blew and blew, but the harder he blew, the tighter the man clutched his coat.  The Sun came out and beamed down upon the man – who instantly took off his coat, with a smile on his face!

So for the best telemarketing pitch – make people smile, give them something to be happy about in these hard times – and you’ll make far more sales.  If you need help with Telemarketing, Training, Writing Successful Pitches, or any other related sales matters – call me on 0203 790 9307 or email stephen@sl-freelance.co.uk .

Posted in Lead Generation, Telemarketing, Telemarketing Consultant

Best Telemarketing – KPI s for Success

Best Telemarketing KPI for success 2
When you need to find the best telemarketing person or telemarketing agency, you need some Key Performance Indicators (KPI s) to guide you to success.   According to the once British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics“.  So in order to succeed at finding the best telemarketing person, you need to find the right approach to using statistics.

Telemarketing – Lies, damned lies and statistics

So that you are not fooled by the misleading statistics peddled by bad telemarketing people, the first place to start with telemarketing statistics is to look at whether you should use ‘Input’ or ‘Output’ statistics.  Let’s say that you are talking to 2 people about providing you with telemarketing lead generation.  Both are offering roughly the same price to provide the service.  Yet one is talking about ‘Input’ statistics and the other is talking about Output’ statistics.  ‘Input’ statistics cover things like, “How many calls made per day?”.   ’Output’ statistics cover things like, “How many appointments made?”.

Quite frankly, should you really care about ‘Input’ statistics?  I will try to explain – someone who is totally clueless at telemarketing makes 200 calls per day but makes no appointments.  The best telemarketing person makes 20 calls per day but makes one appointment that leads to a major sale for you.  It is not rocket science to work out that 20 calls leading to a major sale is far more valuable to you than 200 calls that go nowhere.

Be very wary about anyone who uses ‘Input’ statistics instead of ‘Output’ statistics as a Key Performance Indicator, when choosing the best telemarketing person for your campaign.  In fact, be very wary about anyone who tries to tell you that X number of ‘input’ telephone calls leads to Y number of appointments generated.  The common mistake made by many buyers of telemarketing services is that they are led to believe that there is an exact science that can be measured using statistics, which I will try to explain.

Telemarketing – Natural Science or Social Science?

There are five major branches of the Natural Sciences – Chemistry, Astronomy, Earth Science, Physics and Biology.  There are 2 Formal Sciences – Mathematics and Logic that are used as tools.  Then there are the Social Sciences that range from Economics to Psychology.   Anyone who can remember their Physics lessons at school will tell you that Newton’s First Law of Motion states that, “The velocity of a body remains constant unless the body is acted upon by an external force“.  It is accepted that this is an immutable Law of Nature and that the Law applies to everything in the Universe.  Yet can we apply the Laws of Physics to Telemarketing and is Telemarketing a Natural Science or a Social Science?

Telemarketing is a business activity and is therefore part of the Science of Economics.  Economics is not a Natural Science, it is a Social Science.  A bad telemarketing person will therefore try to hoodwink you by making you believe that telemarketing calls to appointment ratios are based on science – when clearly this is utter twaddle.  So if telemarketing is part of the Science of Economics and Economics is a Social Science – what does this mean?

Social Science is the field of study concerned with society and human behaviour.  In fact, the best telemarketing covers a number of Social Sciences such as – Economics, Anthropology, Linguistics, Sociology and Psychology.  The key difference between a Natural Science and a Social Science is that there are no immutable Laws in Social Sciences.  To give an example – if one takes two twins, one provides them with an identical home life and school life, and one twin becomes a famous rocket scientist – it is not possible to state that the other twin will also become a famous rocket scientist.  In social sciences, one can make certain predictions but one cannot categorically state an outcome.

When it comes to finding the best telemarketing person, it is unlikely that you will be thinking about hiring 2 twins and trying to decide who is best.  As telemarketing is a social science, it is evident that no two people will be identical in terms of the service they can offer you.  In essence, when choosing the best telemarketing person, you need to look at the merits of the individual and never assume that everyone is capable of the same level of output.

Best Telemarketing Person – Education, Application & Experience

Bad telemarketing people or bad telemarketing agencies peddle another lie about their ability to provide an effective service.  Education can be a good thing and in my day I persevered to gain O-Levels, A-Levels and an Honours Degree.  Yet is a University education on its own,  a good reason to describe someone as the best telemarketing person?

One of my clients employs mainly University Graduates to fill their ranks in helping to sell complex engineering technologies.  I was tasked with training these people to improve their sales skill; but my hardest task, was when I realised that a number of these people lacked a basic understanding of the real world.  When I was training this team on how to sell products using a Loan Scheme, one young lady with an excellent BSc asked me, “But I thought a loan was a good thing and went on the positive side of the balance sheet because you get the money?”.  This young lady with an excellent academic education was oblivious to the fact that a loan was an outgoing expenditure and forgot that it had to be repaid!

Education can be a great thing but only if that knowledge can be applied to the real world.  Another client of mine employs University Graduates.  This chap made the assumption that – as his graduates had gained a degree in research, that they could miraculously apply this to lead generation without any sales training.  This chap’s graduates researched potential target clients, their titles and their telephone numbers.  These were genuinely bright people from an academic perspective, but their work failed to provide success.  The graduates failed to apply basic common sense – phone numbers were for shop outlets when we needed to talk to the Head Offices.  Contacts were too junior or too senior to engage in decision making.  In short, education is only useful if it can be applied to the work at hand.

If you combine a good education, the ability to apply that knowledge and overlay life experience – then you have the best telemarketing person.  Life experience is the final and essential key to the puzzle.  A young graduate, fresh from University, is unlikely to have ever run a business or held the role of Buyer within a company.  Theorising what it is like for someone to spend £1000s or £Millions is very different from doing it.  The best telemarketing person will have undertaken a good education, will understand how to research the right potential clients – moreover, they will be able to converse at the same level as the buyer because they’ve been there.

Best Telemarketing Person – Conclusions

Telemarketing is not an ‘exact’ or ‘Natural Science’.  How many calls someone makes per day is almost  irrelevant.  The Key Performance Indicators in judging successful telemarketing, should be based on how many lead-generation-opportunities are created by a person – and how many of these opportunities result in profitable sales.

As part of the Social Sciences, Telemarketing is about the person and their ability to interact with others.  A good education is a reasonable foundation for success.  Knowledge alone is useless – so the application of knowledge is of great significance.  Finally, without relative life experiences, one cannot effectively ‘empathise’ with the prospective customer.  So the best telemarketing person is well-educated, able to apply knowledge and has extensive and relative life experiences.

Finally, one needs to look at cost of the services provided.  A bad telemarketing person may be cheap to hire but provides little or no return on investment.  The best telemarketing person appears expensive in comparison to the bad one – but they provide you with a steady stream of sales opportunities that lead to profitable sales.   The bad telemarketing person is a false economy – sure, they’re cheap as an ‘input’, but there is little or no ‘output’ in terms of profit for you.  Conversely, the best telemarketing person is a more expensive ‘input’, but you reap the rewards on their ‘output’.   In short – you generally get what you pay for in life!

If you are searching for the best telemarketing person to generate sales opportunities – why not email me – stephen@sl-freelance.co.uk or call me on 0203 790 9307.

Posted in Freelance Telemarketing, Lead Generation, Telemarketing

Telemarketing and good manners

Telemarketing good manners 2
This is a very quick blog about telemarketing and good manners.  I haven’t blogged for a while due to some very interesting projects that I’ve been tied up on.  I just received a telephone call from a telemarketing person at a very well known Local Directory.  The chap was trying to sell me their database services.  I was very surprised at this Directory for employing someone without good manners, but perhaps I’m getting old in the tooth.

In my business, one must represent a client, however rude someone is on the phone.  One always maintains good manners – that’s just part of the work.  Sure, some people can be rude but most people out there are very pleasant and a joy to talk to.

In the past, when clients have asked me who to recruit for their telemarketing team, I’ve always told them to look for ex-workers at 2 organisations – Yell & Thomson.  I’ll let you guess which one just called me.  Suffice to say, I’ll be crossing one of these of my list for putting the phone down on me when they didn’t get their way.

Good manners still count in the 21st century.  I believe that if you represent a client that one must always remember this.  The chap who slammed the phone down on me from the Directory will have a lasting impression.  Had he not won the sale but ended with a “thank you for your time” then I might have gone back to them to buy in the future.

I’m beginning to feel a bit like an oddity in the world now by maintaining good manners, but I guess that’s why I’m fully-booked at present as my clients share the same values.  It’s a tough world out there for sure, but I still find that good manners in telemarketing still wins the day every time.

If you share my beliefs and you need help with telemarketing – please call me on 0203 790 9307 or email stephen@sl-freelance.co.uk

Posted in Telemarketing

Best Telemarketing 2011 – who is winning new business?

Best Telemarketing who is winning 2
I’’ve been rushed off my feet for the last 6 months.  I’’ve been helping existing and new customers with my telemarketing skills.  I’’ve hardly slept this week, but my hard work has given me a small window to write this blog.  If you’re interested to know who is winning new business via telemarketing, then read on …

As I predicted in previous blogs, the market for telemarketing suppliers has increased dramatically over the last few years.  With thousands of people losing their jobs and business becoming harder to win, many ‘would-be’ telemarketers and telemarketing agencies have sprung up.  Yet over time, discerning Managing Directors are learning the difference between the ‘amateur telemarketing people’ and the ‘professionals’.

The glory days of the boom times have gone – any sensible MD must now choose how to spend his business development budget very wisely.  Gone are the times when one could chuck £10k at a call centre to keep a sales team busy.  Many MDs are now seeing little Return on Investment from ‘scattergun telemarketing’.  Quality is becoming far more important than quantity.  Soaring fuel prices demand less sales meetings.  Sales meetings with real value are the order of the day – but one cannot expect a low-level telemarketing person to achieve high quality.  So what is the answer…

The best telemarketing to win new business in 2011 is undoubtedly about ‘focus’ and ‘relationship building’.  I’m not talking about telemarketing to sell stationery, I’m talking about selling a complex offering to a discerning buyer.  Stationery sales are purely ‘commoditized’ – so it’s all about selling in bulk at the lowest price.  Complex sales such as selling consultancy services – is all about added value.  So one must be very highly ‘tuned-in’ to what people want to buy.

In 2008, so-called ‘forward-thinking marketing gurus’ (who had become besotted with technology) were predicting the end of the cold-call.  Such ‘gurus’ were full of themselves predicting that email marketing would replace telemarketing.  In short, they were right for a very brief period of time, but they completely misunderstood the long-term trends.  As Sir Isaac Newton pointed out, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  The leap to jumping on the email marketing band wagon was so quick – that it imploded.  IT Directors countered the barrage of emails by installing anti-spam systems which are now built-in to readily available software.

These so-called ‘gurus’ are now at it again.  They’re peddling the dream that the telemarketing cold-call is dead and that ‘social media marketing’ is now king.  Funnily enough, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone over a century ago – yet more people win new business today by telephone than they have ever done in times past.  When one reaches a certain age, one can see that email marketing and social media marketing are simply tools and not the panacea for marketing success.  The real key to success is to use all of these tools in the right way.

Lead Generation is a very ‘much misunderstood’ art and science.  I’m beginning to notice that in terms of methodology, many Managing Directors are beginning to understand the lead generation process.  Smart MDs are setting out to define their offering carefully.  Then they are working carefully to understand their target markets.  Yet when all is said and done, most MDs are still struggling to find anyone who can “fulfil” the telemarketing process in the right way.

We can all watch the Science of Sports on a good Discovery Channel documentary.  Yet how is it that one man can play football but never score a goal and another man can become a world champion?  There is a science to selling, yet at the end of the day, real results boil down to the ‘art of delivery’.  Think about delivering any message and you will begin to understand what I mean.  The recent award-wining movie “The King’s Speech” is a classic example.  The poor chap knows that he needs to convey a message, but to “deliver” that speech correctly is far from easy.  Think of me as the little man who trains the king to succeed.  Yet in my case, I ‘deliver’ the speech for you.

The problem faced by most telemarketing people is not so much in understanding the process – the problem is in understanding the person.  Time and time again, I’ve been asked to take over where low-level telemarketing people have failed.  Yes, getting the process right is important – but one can make all the right moves, yet fail miserably when the message is delivered.  I’m not going to reveal all my secrets here in a blog – but understanding how to attune oneself with a potential buyer can be learned – and it is the final key to providing the best telemarketing – and it will win new business for you.

As a smart Managing Director, you probably know a fair bit about the Lead Generation process – when it comes to using telemarketing to win new business.  If you now need the ‘delivery’ then I can help you personally, or I can train your people to succeed.  My methods go beyond anything you may have read in a book.  I am not a professor of marketing.  My knowledge and experience was won at the coal-face – generating lead after lead and making sale after sale after sale. You may call me on 0203 790 9307 or email me – stephen@sl-freelance.co.uk 

Posted in Business Development, Lead Generation, Telemarketing

Professional Telemarketing V the Amateur Approach

Telemarketing Pro v Amateur 2
When it is vital for your business to make more sales, lead generation via telemarketing is often the first thought for many business leaders.  In an age where we’re all looking to keep costs down, is it worth seeking a Professional Telemarketing person or is it better to work with amateurs?

The Thought-Pattern of Failure Begins – The Telemarketing Amateur
Looking back over the last 12 months, I’ve noticed a “thought-pattern” by companies who choose the amateur telemarketing route.  The MD is often a skilled if self-taught marketer, but when it comes to lead generation – the skills, experience and knowledge are lacking.  Enthusiastic staff will keep promoting the same pattern of failure, which I will try to explain.

The thought process goes as follows – Why hire a professional telemarketing person when we could do this internally and save money?   Without a clear understanding of what to do, the MD gathers his staff around him to ask for suggestions.  A conversation begins which revolves around the blind leading the blind.  A farcical game of “pin the tail on the donkey” begins, except everyone is wearing a blindfold.  So what happens next?

Anyone can succeed at telemarketing – can’t they?
The team begin making calls and appointments are made.  However, the appointments don’t appear to be turning in to sales.  So the team of blindfolded amateurs decide that they need to brainstorm the idea.  Assuming that they are the first people in history to come up with the idea, they all turn to Facebook and Linkedin and announce “Aha – that’s how we will succeed”.  Several weeks later, the team realise that these social media contacts are getting nowhere.  In frustration, the MD turns to his colleagues and asks for a new solution.  After further brainstorming, they come up with another idea which they believe is truly inspired – “We’ll hire lots of sales people who will all work for commission”.  So does this work?

All sales people work for commission only – don’t they?
After hours and hours and hours on the telephone, dozens of candidates are interviewed for a “commission only” position.  If anyone were adding up the cost of this time in PAYE they might give themselves a heart attack.  Yet, the team are adamant that there must be someone out there who is daft enough to do the job they couldn’t do in return for commission, shiny beads or jelly babies.  Finally, the MD comes to the conclusion that this is all going nowhere.  The MD Googles “Telemarketing Professional”, but just as he tries to seek a proper solution, his staff cry out “I’ve found the answer – we can hire cheap telemarketing people for only £5 per hour on People Per Hour!”.  At the pivotal moment, the MD is swayed from making the right decision and the hunt for cheap telemarketing people continues.  Was this a success?

It looks shiny – but have we struck Gold?
At this point, weeks if not months have passed.  Sales figures are falling and the MD is working out who to fire to save money.  The MD and his team had sifted through CV after CV on the internet of cheap telemarketing people.  After many hours, they chose 5 people who all claimed to be excellent at telemarketing.  Unfortunately, they had found a crock of Fools Gold.  There is an old saying that “You get what you pay for in life”.  Paying £5 per hour helped Mr Wu the Telemarketing man from the Philippines to live a life of luxury, but sadly no sales came from his work.

You get what you pay for in life – the Telemarketing Professional
The MD has finally had enough of this fool’s errand.  He worked hard to set up his business and he thinks long and hard about the situation.  When he began the business he hired the top accountant and the top solicitor to get his business moving.  The MD goes back to his roots, picks up the telephone and calls the top telemarketing people to help him.  Within weeks, the lead generation is working again and sales are looking good.  Once again the Telemarketing Professional hears those immortal words from the MD “Why didn’t I just call you in the first place?”

If you need to learn the hard way, then please feel free to do so.  If you’re a smart cookie and you don’t have time to learn the art of lead generation, simply give me a call – Stephen Law, Freelance Telemarketing Lead Generation Expert – 0203 790 9307 – stephen@sl-freelance.co.uk .

Posted in Freelance Telemarketing, Lead Generation, Telemarketing

Best Telemarketing for QTR1 2011

2011 could prove to be highly profitable for many businesses, but you need to be thinking about your 2011 sales right now.  Let me explain the importance of the December/January period for your telemarketing…

If you have a complex offering to an intelligent buyer, then you must build a relationship with these people.  Decisions at high level are rarely made on the spot, so you must start the telemarketing process in advance of their purchasing cycles.

Telemarketing to win in 2011 – Here are the 3 key timings in QTR1 for 2011:

  • ·         January/February 2011 – Many large companies will be writing their business plan just before Christmas 2010.  Due to economic uncertainty, many companies will be waiting for this business plan and be ready to start purchasing in January/February.  So make sure you have the best telemarketing in place either for late December 2010 or January 2011 at the latest.
  • ·         March 2011 – Some organisations must spend their budget before the Chancellor of the Exchequer announces the Government budget in April.  Be sure to build a relationship with these potential clients using telemarketing before they make their final decisions.
  • ·         April 2011 – (Yes I know this is the start of QTR2) Make sure you are ready for the big sales in April 2011 when many organisations are allocated their budget.  Don’t leave this to the last minute, as many buyers will be meeting sellers between Christmas 2010 and March 2011 so that they have time to meet all the best sellers.  So line up the best telemarketing people as soon as possible for this big buying period.

Telemarketing Christmas 2010 and January 2011
The best telemarketing over the Christmas and New Year period must take the following in to account:

  • ·         If you are communicating with senior decision makers – don’t forget that whilst their staff may be taking holidays, they are probably still working. 
  • ·         The main period to stop looking for new business is circa 20th December 2010 to the 3rd January 2011.  If your budgets are tight, then extend this to start from 13th December until the 10th January 2011.
  • ·         If you take a break in telemarketing for new business, DO NOT STOP THE RELATIONSHIP BUILDING PROCESS.  One of my clients assumed that taking a holiday around the summer period from telemarketing meant stopping all telemarketing.  The poor chap missed 2 potential sales by not continuing with the relationship building process.
  • ·         Remember that it can take months and months of hard work on telemarketing relationship building – so maintain flow by asking your telemarketing person to revert to snail/mail, Christmas cards and emails during this period if necessary so that you don’t waste your investment.  If you don’t do this – your competitors may steal the show in your absence.

The Psychology of Telemarketing over Christmas/New Year
In short, this is one of the most crucial periods in the calendar for building potential sales.  By all means, don’t try phoning a new prospect on Christmas Day, but don’t forget to stay in touch. 

Remember that Sales is all about psychology.  With the bitterly cold wind and the floods in Cornwall, many people are feeling emotionally drained right now.  As we approach Christmas, people’s spirits begin to pick-up.  Use that warm-glowing feeling of potential buyers to build a good relationship as we approach Christmas.

Contrary to popular opinion, the period just after New Year’s Day can be very important for telemarketing.  Millions of people across the UK will be making New Year’s Resolutions.  For a short period, this is a psychological moment of change when buyers will be receptive to new ideas and will often be in the right mood to arrange a sales appointment.

If you need help with the best telemarketing for this period – I’m here to help with your projects – Stephen Law, Freelance Telemarketing Consultant 0203 790 9307 stephen@sl-freelance.co.uk .

Posted in Freelance Telemarketing, Telemarketing, Telemarketing Consultant

Business Development Manager – Let’s start with the Basics – ROI

Whilst my main function is to generate sales leads, many clients think of me as their part-time Business Development Manager.  My clients range from business savvy entrepreneurs with a company worth £x million – to Newbie’s who have never run a business before in their life.  These “Let’s start with the Basics” topics are aimed at the Newbie’s who need some help with the basics.  So let’s start with ROI…

What is ROI?
ROI is an acronym that means “Return on Investment”.  Put simply – if you want to be successful in business, then you need to be making more money than you spend.  As a basic example, if all your outgoings for Admin, Finance, Legal, Marketing and Operations add up to £200k per annum, then your business must generate more than £200k per annum just to cover costs.

Breaking even – i.e. you spend £200k and you make £200k is ok – but if you have made no profit then you might question why you’re working 10 hours a day 6-7 days a week, instead of working for someone else.  So ROI is about making more than you spend – e.g. you spend £200k per annum but you bring in £400k = (£400k-£200k) = £200k pre-tax profit.

Marketing ROI
Now let’s look at what a good Business Development Manager would advise you regarding ROI in the context of Marketing.  Whilst it is not possible to state exactly how much you should spend on Marketing, most text books will state that approximately 20% of your annual spend will be spent on Marketing.  Continuing with the £200k spend scenario, that means 20% of your annual spend = £200k x 20% = £40k per annum on Marketing.  To ensure that you attain an ROI for your £40k spend, let’s examine this….

If you spend £40k per annum on all your marketing and you bring in £40k worth of business – then your marketing effort has reached breakeven point – i.e. £40k – £40k = 0.  So at this point the marketing effort has paid for itself but made no profit.  Moreover, if your total expenditure per annum is £200k then you are now facing problems.  Therefore, whilst your marketing has reached breakeven point, your business is still in trouble.  If your total spend is £200k per annum, then your marketing spend of £40k per annum must generate at least £200k worth of sales to breakeven. 

OK so what would a Business Development Manager advise you to do: – if your marketing spend is £40k per annum and your total spend (including marketing) is £200k then you might be happy if your marketing brings in £400k worth of sales: – £400k – £200k = a pre-tax profit of £200k.  In other words, to gain this ROI the Return on Investment for your marketing must be 10 times your spend on the marketing – 10 x £40k = £400k.

Marketing Budget – Without a marketing budget you don’t have a chance
I’ve been a business development manager for about 25 years.  I’ve helped countless business owners to turn around companies who were struggling and many more who needed to expand.  Yet it never ceases to amaze me how many budding entrepreneurs forget to include a marketing budget in their plan.  Many business owners assume “My product or service is so amazing that everyone will want it” – but they forget that if no one knows about it – no one will buy it.

There is a classic misconception among many people who have never been trained in sales and marketing – that all sales and marketing people work on commission.  Whatever you do, DO NOT FALL IN TO THIS TRAP!  I can categorically state that I have never in my entire life seen one single new-start company that has succeeded by using a commission-only sales team.  A commission only structure suits an established brand, not a new-start venture.  20 years ago, I worked for United Artists on commission only because everyone knew their brand and I made a lot of money.   DO NOT FOLLOW A BUSINESS MODEL THAT DOES NOT SUIT A NEW START BUSINESS.  If in doubt, talk to highly experienced business development manager.

A new-start business is a high-risk venture and demands investment in marketing.  A new business has no track record and it is an accepted norm by investors that they anticipate 3x more expenditure than is planned, because the business will make many mistakes at the start.  That’s why investors ask for 50% of your business at this point, because it is very risky.

Making Profit from your Marketing Efforts
Once again, let me stress that you must make more money than you spend.  I received a call from a gentleman yesterday who asked me “Which form of direct marketing would work best for me?”  This chap thought he might find a commission-based sales person to help him.  My first questions were:- a) “How much is the sale value?”
b) “How much profit per sale?”
c) “How much commission per sale?”
The answer made me fall off my chair – “Oh, the sale value is £45 but I only make £25 per sale so I would pay someone about £15 per sale”.  My father (a vicar) always taught me “Treat others as you would have them treat you”.  I was somewhat stunned and replied to the gentleman “So would you get out of bed every morning and work like stink to make £15 per sale?”  His reply was incredible – “Oh no, but I tried everyone on the People per Hour website, but they couldn’t speak proper English – so I came to you”.

The upshot of this conversation was that this chap had no budget whatsoever.  As he put the phone down he said “Oh I thought you were really good at what you do and could help”.  Like a sad 5 year old who had just been told by his Mum that he could only have the toy Ferrari for Christmas and not the real thing, he went away in a major sulk.

Please, please, please – when you decide to market your product or service, never assume that all sales people will work for peanuts just because that’s what you want.  If you wouldn’t do it yourself, please don’t assume that anyone else is daft enough to do it.

Where to find a Business Development Manager
If you are a standard SME (a small business) the you really should talk to your local Business Link.  They can provide some excellent broad-brushstroke advice that could save you a fortune.  If you are seeking a business development manager to implement the work – that’s more tricky.  A good full-time Business Development Manager could cost you anywhere between £50k and £200k per annum.  If you just need a bit of help to steer you in the right direction and get in front of new clients – I can help you for a fraction of the cost (Stephen Law 0870 042 1263 stephen@sl-freelance.co.uk )

The Best Plan for the Best ROI
Set aside a marketing budget and find someone to help you.  If winning new business is not your forte – consult a business development manager to put you on the right track.

I’m always happy to talk to potential clients.  I’ve often spent an hour or two advising people at start up stage for free.  Those who follow my advice often become customers in the future.  People generally come to me for help with Telemarketing but often walk away with a better route to market.  Call me – Stephen Law, Business Development Manager & Consultative Telemarketing Expert – 0870 042 1263 or email me Stephen@sl-freelance.co.uk .

Posted in Business Development

Business Development Consultant –The Dilemma of a Shrinking Market Place

Many companies are facing a shrinking market-place and they are turning to me as a Business Development Consultant to overcome this dilemma.  Using two recent case studies let me explain what to do and what not to do…

Case Study 1 – “I’m too proud to change” – What not to do
For the past year, I’ve received calls from a number of people who own a franchise in the market sector for outsourced “Cost Reduction”.   Each one required a business development consultant to help them solve the dilemma of a shrinking market place.  Yet I had to turn away each and every one of these prospects because they forgot the golden proverb that – “Pride comes before a fall”.

 In 2008, when the western markets collapsed, the requirement for cost reduction was at its peak.  Just about every business across the UK from giant PLCs to the smallest SME were seeking to reduce costs wherever possible.

For the wily entrepreneurs in the cost reduction market, this was an opportunity to seize the moment and grab the big wins, along with a major share of the market.  For a short while, it was a boom market – but businesses across the UK have reacted sharply and the market is now shrinking rapidly for outsourced cost reduction.

Pride is a very dangerous character-facet in business.  Whilst I could not say that everyone in the cost reduction business has too much pride, everyone who called me so far is still trying to relive the boom period of 2-3 years ago.

So why are these people going wrong and why couldn’t I help them?  The problem is that these are highly intelligent people, but their pride is preventing them from taking advice from a Business Development Consultant.  Let me give an analogy – I’m now 40-something and I’m not as fit as I was in my 20s.  The truth is that as I get older, it will take more effort on my part to gain the same level of fitness that I enjoyed in my youth.  As long as I accept this simple truth and as long as I’m prepared to put in more effort – then hiring a sports coach would no doubt yield good results.  So do the expenditure reduction boffins realise that their market is getting older and less responsive?

The problem here is that these cost-reduction franchise owners are working on a false premise.  They are grasping at straws. In a bean-counter mentality they are attempting to bring back the “glory days” based on false metrics.  They argue that if x number of people make y number of telephone calls that this will lead to z number of appointments and sales.  Of course, in a shrinking market, historical metrics are irrelevant and the answer is to “work harder and work smarter”.

It is of no use to argue with a sports coach – that he should return you to a state of your youth at the age of 45, without a lot of hard work.  A good sports coach will know the fastest way to do this – but no one should expect miracles.  A good Business Development Consultant can help you to bring your sales back up to good levels in a shrinking market – but this can only be achieved if one starts by being honest about the input required.

Case Study 2 – If you seek an expert, don’t ignore their advice – how to do it right
A number of months ago I was approached by the Directors of an engineering company.  They were setting up a new division to approach the carbon-reduction market.  They knew full well that the market was reaching maturity, so they sought out an expert to make sure that they succeeded.  They asked me to be blunt but constructive in my criticism.  They asked me to formulate a plan that involved me helping to win new business as fast as possible.

With no pride getting in their way, they stated “we hired your services, so we would be fools to ignore your advice”.  Low and behold, within days the plan was put in to place and the first customer was found and a sale made.

This client has since gone on to review their entire direct marketing strategy including telemarketing, direct mail and email marketing.  I helped them by undertaking Consultative Telemarketing and the results have been rapid.  Listening, learning and acting took their direct mail from Zero responses to 2% in a matter of weeks.  Now we’re discussing how to move their mailers to gain up to 30% response-rates with the next plan.

The market for this company is shrinking.  Every day, more companies enter the market-place and more clients have already completed the carbon-reduction works.  Yet by fine-tuning their approach, they are still on-track to winning £millions in orders.  These chaps will go far.  They constantly innovate and they work “hard and smart”.  As a Business Development Consultant my advice has already reaped rewards and paid for itself within a few months.  As a hands-on Telemarketing Consultant, they have given me free-rein to use my skills to make sales-winning appointments.

Conclusions on The Dilemma of the Shrinking Market Place
The moral of the tale – don’t hanker for the glory days and don’t try to “direct” business development if it’s not your strong point.  If brain surgery is not your skill, would you seriously try to operate on someone’s brain?  Commerce is a serious business and if you get it wrong, your business may not survive. 

A Business Development Consultant is akin to a brain-surgeon for business.  Get your strategy and tactics right and you can win in almost any market place.  Listen to advice.  Go and mull over the advice and if it’s good – use it!  Every single national leader and captain of industry will be guided by experts.

As a freelance Business Development Consultant my costs are a fraction of hiring a full-time expert.  If you’re serious about winning in business, then why not contact me?  I can provide you with testimonials of astonishing success in Business Development – or testimonials demonstrating phenomenal growth via Consultative Telemarketing.  I look forward to hearing from you – Stephen Law 0870 042 1263 stephen@sl-freelance.co.uk .

Posted in Business Development, Telemarketing Consultant

Telemarketing Consultant V Call Centre

If you’re new to outsourced telemarketing for Lead Generation – then you may be puzzled about the difference between a Telemarketing Consultant and a Call Centre?  I will try to explain the differences and which one will work best for your Lead Generation.

Personally, I’m a Telemarketing Consultant with 25 years experience.  I’ve built and managed small teams of telemarketing people and I’ve hired Call Centres for projects.  So I’d like to think that I know a thing or two about the industry and how to utilise these different resources.

There is a huge difference between a Telemarketing Consultant and someone you find in a Call Centre, so let’s explain from the top, starting with the Call Centres.

What is a Call Centre?
Put simply, a Call Centre can generally be thought of as a building that houses anywhere between 20 and 300 people who are manning the telephones every day.  Many Call Centres specialise in what is known as “inbound” telemarketing – think about when you buy your insurance policy over the telephone and you’ll get the idea.  Remember that “inbound” telemarketing people do not hunt for business – they simply pick up the call that comes in and answer it. 

Why the “Inbound” Call Centre has turned telemarketers in to Zombies?
“Inbound” Telemarketing is generally the lowest-skilled form of Call Centre Telemarketing and this is generally reflected in the price you pay for their wages.  Over the last decade, the quality of “inbound” Telemarketing has got lower and lower due to outsourcing to offshore Call Centres.  Companies such as Lufthansa were the early drivers in moving their operations to India.  By 2010, there has been a backlash against offshore Call Centres who have built a reputation for not understanding the British Culture; but the image of “inbound” Telemarketing has been tarnished by these cheap and poor services.

Call Centre managers have spent the last decade using technology to streamline their operations, reduce costs and improve efficiency.  Like many people, I consider that this has “dehumanised” the entire process and turned many Call Centre people in to mindless automatons.

The “Outbound” Call Centre for Lead Generation
If we’re looking at true Lead Generation (as opposed to you calling the company in response to an advertisement), then we’re talking about “Outbound” Call Centres.  This is where the telemarketing staff makes cold calls to potential buyers.  The problem for “Outbound” Call Centres is that UK centres are competing in a price war with the offshore centres.

Pick up a copy of a Call Centre magazine and you’ll see that it is riddled with articles about technology and “how to stop losing your staff”.  Put simply, UK Call Centres cannot compete effectively with offshore Call Centres on price.  Quality and value are the only way that a UK Call Centre can compete with an offshore centre – but unless buyers have been forced to switch to UK telemarketing people by complaints from customers, this still pushes down the quality and the price.

So will you find a Telemarketing Consultant in a Call Centre – certainly not!  If anyone in a Call Centre has the cheek to use the title “Telemarketing Consultant” that would be akin to a hospital porter claiming that they are a “Consultant”.  Whilst many hospital porters may be budding doctors, I think you’d be very upset if you were advised on your health by someone pushing trolleys around the ward for a living.  The same is true in Telemarketing – where the distinction has been blurred between a novice and an expert by Call Centre staff being given grandiose titles – because it’s cheaper to inflate someone’s title than to pay them a higher wage.

What Makes a Telemarketing Consultant?
A Telemarketing Consultant is at the top level of Telemarketing.  Like me, many Telemarketing Consultants began their working life on the bottom rung.  The vast majority of people who try to choose Telemarketing for a living fail miserably.  Some plodders stay at the low-level “inbound” Telemarketing phase; the vast majority cannot hack the pace; but a tiny percentage move up the ladder.

The best telemarketing people soon move up to a management position.  From there, a good telemarketing person will often either move in selling advertising space or move in to Business Development.  At this point, the tiny percentage of people who remain in the industry is again whittled down to an even smaller number of potential Telemarketing Consultants.

To become a true Telemarketing Consultant, one needs something that cannot be bought – “experience”.  The top Telemarketing people will generally move in to senior roles such as Sales / Marketing or Business Development Director.  With umpteen years under their belt selling complex offerings to intelligent buyers, a true Telemarketing Consultant emerges from years of experience and success in their field.

What does a Telemarketing Consultant do that a Call Centre employee cannot do?
A Telemarketing Consultant is able to define who you should be meeting to win business.  Then with wit, charm, flair and acumen – they will put you in front of a willing buyer.  So why can’t a low-level Call Centre person do this?

 Firstly, a Call Centre comprises Directors, Managers, a technology team, and a raft of employees.  For efficiency purposes, it would be rare to find a Director or a Manager making calls.  Likewise, it would be rare to find Telemarketing people winning new business, managing the finances or providing account management.    Conversely, a Telemarketing Consultant will fulfil all these roles in one person.

So if a Call Centre person does not understand the roles of Admin / Finance / Legal / Marketing or Operations, how can they converse in a meaningful manner with a prospect that does this for a living?  This is why most Call Centres aim at the consumer market, because that’s the level at which they can communicate effectively.  Yet with offshore Call Centres, it is even debateable whether their callers can effectively communicate with Joe Public.

A Telemarketing Consultant understands business; they understand what it’s like to be a senior manager or director.  Why? – Because they’ve probably held that role in their career.

When to choose a Telemarketing Consultant or a Call Centre
If you are selling to the masses (Joe Public), then this requires a lot of telephone calls to be made.  So the Call Centre may be your ideal platform.

Also, if you are in business but you need to sell high-volumes at a low-ticket value to lots and lots of customers then the Call Centre may work for you.

Yet in many businesses, you will probably be selling low-volumes with a high-ticket value (for example a consultancy service at £10k per sale upwards).  Your offering may be complex, so this requires a highly skilled Telemarketing Consultant to find new business and engage effectively with senior buyers.

If you’re still confused – give me a call – Stephen Law, Telemarketing Consultant 0870 042 1263 or email me stephen@sl-freelance.co.uk .

Posted in Lead Generation, Telemarketing, Telemarketing Consultant

Best Telemarketing November 2010 – more traction, less spin!

More and more people are coming to me for the best telemarketing during these hard economic times.  The best telemarketing is about gaining traction in sales and less about being a spin doctor.  Let me explain why the best telemarketing is more about truth than tricks, and how to make more sales in 2010 and 2011.

Fall of the Spin-Doctors
Prior to 2008, companies were growing at an unrealistic rate and most people just went along with the whole charade, as long as it meant they were making money.  Apart from the few mentally challenged people out there, most people knew that their little semi-detached house wasn’t really worth half a million pounds.  Whilst the going was good, enough people were prepared to believe that Iraq was a threat – and if Homer Simpson had run for President offering endless good times, I’m sure Homer Simpson would be in the Whitehouse.

The slump of 2008 affected most businesses in the UK, but it affected some more than others.  Many marketing companies weren’t really “selling” anymore; they were simply trying to keep up with the ever-increasing demand.  Yet the professionals out there – the small telemarketing agencies and the freelance telemarketing people have always needed to prove themselves.  During the good times, you could just say I’m from “XYZ” well-known brand, and that was good enough for many buyers.

Rise of the Best Telemarketing People
During the tough times, buyers have become more discerning and they want “more bang for their buck” when it comes to telemarketing, along with all forms of marketing.  Two years on from the onset of economic downturn, many companies have gone to the wall; but the best companies and the best telemarketing people are still going strong – but why…?

There are many really good companies out there with excellent products and a first class service.  Previously, they were losing business to competitors that may well have offered a poorer product and a dissatisfactory service.  When the bubble burst – buyers suddenly started scrutinizing every penny, which has led to many competitors going bust.  Every week now, I’m talking to companies who offer a first class service, who are now capitalizing on their competitors going bust.

Don’t believe the Hype
So how are the “bad” marketing agencies and “poor” marketing people trying to fight back?  Put bluntly, they’re trying to use “spin” – or to use an old fashioned term – “they’re telling lies”.  I’ll give an example – this morning I received an email from a company that I’d recently purchased from.  This company used to offer a great product but it was very over-priced.  They recently brought the price right down to a realistic level (and they’re still making plenty of profit), so I bought in their offering.  The problem is that whilst they took on board my request to be more realistic about prices (and I’m sure thousands of other people told them the same thing) – they still haven’t figured out the art of honest lead generation to gain results – let me explain…

The email they sent me said “click here for your FREE training”.  So I clicked on the hyperlink and was looking forward to my “FREE” training – but low and behold, I had to buy another product if I wanted the “FREE” training.  In other words, this wasn’t “free” at all – this was a blatant lie to try and get me to look at another product.  Needless to say, I immediately stuck the sender in to my Spam List and decided never to believe another word uttered by that company.  Like most people in the UK, I don’t believe the politicians anymore and I’m a highly sceptical buyer.  Anyone who comes out with these grossly misleading statements goes straight in to my list of “I’ll never believe another word they say”.

Traction not Spin
I appreciate that “liar” and “politician” have now become interchangeable words for most people in the UK.  Unfortunately, the same thing can often be said of “bad” marketing people.  The best telemarketing is not about fictional “free” offers or trying to deceive prospective clients – this is just a lame excuse for “bad” marketing people who cannot work out why people would want to buy a product or service.

If you are selling a complex offering to an intelligent buyer – you must build up a relationship with your prospective client.  One cannot build a relationship based upon lies.  The real strength of the best telemarketing person, is in their ability to seriously understand what motivates a buyer and to play on your strengths.  The best telemarketing person will endear the most hard-nosed buyer to look at your offering – using skill, wit, charm, flair and understanding.

There’s an old saying that, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and you can fool all of the people some of the time – but you can’t fool all the people all of the time”.  Please don’t let a “bad” marketing person persuade you to use lame tactics – you risk alienating your clients.  The best telemarketing should gain traction with your clients – so don’t just sit there spinning and going nowhere – gain real traction, real interest, real desire – and base it all on your strength of offering. 

If you need more traction and less spin – contact me for the best telemarketing – Stephen Law 0870 042 1263 stephen@sl-freelance.co.uk .

Posted in Freelance Telemarketing, Lead Generation, Telemarketing