The Least Effective Telemarketing Pitch Ever?

by Kevin Delaney

A couple days ago, I received this voicemail from a telemarketer trying to sell me (I think) a subscription to the local newspaper:

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Needless to say, I didn’t trip over myself rushing to take advantage of the offer.

One thing I learned from advertising guru David Ogilvy (and his fascinating book Confessions of an Advertising Man) is that a selling pitch should be essentially complete. Figure you’ve got exactly one chance to win a prospect over: your presentation had better be a good one.

Who is this voice message from? Not a human, apparently — the paper itself is calling us.

Our talking newspaper has a Special Offer for us, but she fails to mention what specifically it is. Are we likely to be so curious that we’ll call her back just to find out?

Worst of all, our salesperson uses a word that will turn off 99.7% of all who hear it: she calls it a special telemarketing offer.

Who doesn’t despise telemarketing? Of all the ways you can connect with a potential customer, if you must stoop to a method that virtually everyone hates, the least you can do is not draw attention to that fact!

In every field, there are certain terms which are acceptable for “in-house” use only. A telemarketing company is allowed to call itself that — but never to its prospects. Likewise, a salesperson has to come up with a title that will portray him as helpful and an expert in his field, not as one who will try to “sell” you something.

This is important for those of us who use the Web for marketing purposes. For example, don’t invite someone to “join your mailing list.” Mailing lists frighten people; they conjure up the image of a mountain of junk mail. Instead, promote the fact that you have a helpful email newsletter that a person can register to receive for free.

Just because big companies make stupid marketing blunders doesn’t mean it’s OK for you to emulate them. Right now, the printed-newspaper industry is going down the drain — and one of the biggest titles is throwing money away on worthless marketing like this?

Remember three key points any time you make an effort to reach, convince or persuade a fellow human being:

1. Marketing is all about forming (and maintaining) relationships. The personal touch is essential.

2. Whenever possible, give your prospects a complete sales presentation. Do not make people have to call, write or email you for more information. (Including a link to a web page in an email is usually acceptable.)

3. Avoid words and terminology that send people heading for the hills. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and ask yourself, “What need am I suffering from right now that I would love to have someone show up with a solution to?”

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