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telesales or not?

By autriche ·
I am offered a telesales position at one of the largest software companies. This would be an inside sales role where I would be expected to generate leads for the sales team. I don't have significant experience in sales but this is the best opportunity I have found in over a year.
I also have another offer standing (luck has been on my side recently) with a very small company importing stuff. I have to make a decision real soon. I need all the help, especially people that have telesales experience. As someone who has been on the other side of the fence, I thought telesales would be an area I'd like to stay away from, but I was told that there would be no cold calls, and this position would be a sort of consultancy to existing customers.
Question: To be big fish in a small pond, or vice versa?

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My experience

by JamesRL In reply to telesales or not?

All of my sales experience is somewhat dated - all prior to 1991, but I would think its similar.

I've worked telesales for a large software/hardware wholesaler. Its is mostly about pricing and service. I called small dealerships in a territory and told them about new items, specials etc. Quite often they would ask about the status of an order in the system or place an order and ask you to expedite it.

I never worried about cold calls - but from an income perspective, its good to have a mix as new customers aren't typically high volume at first until you have proven yourself.

I'd do it again. It helped me greatly when I went into the mode of a buyer for a small computer company and I had to deal with telesales people. I still think I learned lessons that I apply today.

James

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Experience

by Oz_Media In reply to telesales or not?

First of all, No cold calling does not man you won't be calling out to people who really don't know you. In many cases you simply can't make money unles syou cold call, they may provide some old contacts calling them warm leads but the ocntact names have changed, addresses and info are all wrong too, may as well be a cold call. I have run my fair share of call centres (from 10 seats to over 200)and have seen all typical telemarketing jobs sold in every conceivable manner, in the end, its dialling for dollars.

things to consider:
1) The telemarketing field has the highest turnover rate of any industry. I used to fire 30 people every Friday and had 40 start training on Monday. EVERY week, most call centers do the same.

2) Burn out, this is a field where people burn out fast, REALLY fast. You will be called every name in the book, told you are a loser, told to get a real job, threatened with legal action, you will have people demanding to speak with your manager so they can complain about you for no reason at all. You will just get up each day, get to work and start dialling for dolllars again.

3) I have yet to see an actual inbound only center, and I've seen many dozens, (when I haven't managed a call center I have sold the hardware or designed the centers for others). When an employer says 90% inbound, you can guaruntee you will be calling out 40% of the time, if you want to earn any money.

4) Cold calling, while you may not be 'cold calling', you may be working with a databaase of old warm bodies. Many of these have since grown cold, the company most likely wil not have you dealing with hot clients but trying to regenerate old business, digging for winbacks.

5) IF and that's a very weak IF, this actually is a 100% inboumd center, you better be one very patient and happy person. Inbound centers have a high turnover rate as well, people get bored silly of the job, it is very demanding.

Conclusion: Telemarketing is not an easy job, people make it out to be the entry level door to business. I would say 2 out of every 30 call center staff are going to see benefit in it and actually excell at it.

In actuality it is one of the most daunting and competitive fields of work. I have worked inside and outside over the last 20 years, inside work is a thousand times harder than outside sales. (Outside samesman will ever admit as much though.)

I know a lot of telemarketers that excel outside, but not too many outside reps that can last a week in inside sales.

Make that choice VERY carefully, these jobs are almost ALWAYS glorified (becase they can't find good staff) and are not what you are lead to believe, the wages/comission are ALWAYS exaggerated on a bets case scenario. There is little or no stability at all.

Telemarketing, telesales, teleconsulting, inside sales it's all the same job with a different name. Bottom line, you will be sitting on the phone day in and day out, you will be constantly drilled for your sales numbers (because it is a numbers game) and you will tire and get bored of it, normally without gaining any seniority or career advancement. if you are complacent, a hard hitting salesman with a VERY thick skin, you will do well. if not you will most likely become yet another person who 'gave it a shot once'.

It's a good business if you can hack it and become a mover and shaker that can close any deal or rebut any objection,you will have to become an extremely good/aggressive salesperson. It's an awful mistake if you can't.

Sorry to sound negative but really, and I speak from a wealth of experience on this one, be careful what you believe, be skeptical of everything and when they start quoting sales numbers and successes, ask to see the numbers. ALL sales teams can prdouce 'the numbers' in second, this is what their entire day is based on.

Make them show you the average employees achievements, not the top sales rep.

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thanks... keep it coming

by autriche In reply to Experience

Oz, excellent insight, I'm grateful. (thanks to the other post, too)
Unfortunately, I don't have ppl around me to ask for advice and I'm sort of caught unprepared for such a decision. Nevertheless, I'm still undecided, and probably will have to rely on my gut-feeling.
What irked me is that the recruiter promoted it as an "inbound agent" position where it transformed into a sales rep during discussions with the employer... I was told that I would have to "be patient" for 2-3 yrs before I move up the ladder.. Why disguise it under a different title if this position was not that bad? We are talking about products worth $20K+, a job in one of the most beautiful cities of the world, a behemoth of software; compared to no sales duties, just management type of deal in a small company where life is tougher... They both have pros and cons, most difficult decision I ever made.
Please keep the feedback coming.

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Big ticket

by Oz_Media In reply to thanks... keep it coming

Doesn't always mean beter product. Obviously th einside position is trudging through a database of hot, warm and cool clients to find leads for teh outside reps.

Now, I supose SOME will be inbound as based on teh company's existing mail outs ad advertising to current clients. YOu will 'probably' find that means you get SOME warm bodies and dig fo rteh rest. I am also going to confidently suggest that their own lists are not up to date and you will be calling on people who dies two years ago, company's that have moved or changed owners etc. It's not exacty door to door sales or residential telemarketing but not too far off either. I am not trying to discourage you but just help you see what the reality behind MOST of these jobs is.

Getting leads on big ticket items s not easy on a phone, you will need to work damn hard to hone your skills but once developed that skill will get you EVERYWHERE. teh sales skills learned from such positions are invaluable, you will be able to find work without just applying to ads because you will know how to prospect potential employers and sell yourself (and have the confidence to do so), it is invaluable!

In the same sense, don't ever expect that job to lead to an outside sales job (if that's their promise, get it in writing), that happens to perhaps 1 in 1000. They will hire a good outside rep before promoting a good inside rep, it's much harder to find successful inside staff!

If it still sounds good, see if they will let you spend a week in training and hanging out in the office, make qa few calls and listen in on MANY calls (extremely important). You could stand to make some money but the benefits of the skills you pick up will far outweigh any pay you see.

Don't expect your inside skills to get you an outside job, telemarketing jobs are good forgetting other telemarketing jobs, that's it. You usually don't see them grow into management or anything, even if moving to a new company.

But it's a good skill if you need to build self confidence, sales ability and closing skills. In fact it is invaluable if that's where you want to go in life. Sorry for all the typos, my keyboarding sucks and I can't be bothered to go through it all again to fix typos.

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Tough call (pun intended)

by fungus-among-us In reply to Big ticket

I understand the need for employment.... how else can I afford to buy all those neat electronic doo dads?, but telesales??? Personally, I'd rather euthanize animals for a veternary hospital.

As the TPOC (technical point of contact) for this agency, I get quite a few telemarketing calls on a daily basis. My theory is... if I didn't contact you for "MORE INFORMATION", don't waste my time. I especially hate the "technical" surveys that waste 10 minutes of my life, only to get to the end and find out they are actually trying to sell something. Another thing... I hate getting calls from telemarketers who use "English" as a secondary language. I hate to ask them to repeat themselves on a regular basis wasting even MORE of my time. I'm not trying to be rude, or insensitive, but really... if you do not consider english as your PRIMARY language, you should not be on the phone trying to sell me anything.

As OZ said, telemarketing skills are good for getting OTHER telemarketing jobs. It sounds fishy to me that the job "description" changed from the initial contact through the interview process. Good Luck in your choice.

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Two sides

by Oz_Media In reply to Tough call (pun intended)

The telemartketing you are referring to is most commonly noted as a 'telemarketer', the other calls are just 'conversations with inside sales reps'. Though they are also telemarketers.

MOST people confuse residential telemarketing with B2B. The two are completely different animals, tha latter generally far more professional and conducted by people who stay and become good at ther work.

Now as far as your objections, weak, to a telemarketer anyway.

"My theory is... if I didn't contact you for "MORE INFORMATION", don't waste my time."
Perhaps you were unaware of what that information was, so why would you seek it? Perhaps that information saves you money on something you bormally purchase. Perhaps that information is needed in order for you to make a sound business judgement and you were simply unaware of it. Why would you seek information if you already FELT informed, whether you are or not? That information may be useful, and you would never have asked or been aware without someone filling you in.

The funniest one is when after a telemarketer introduces themself the person says' "I'm not interested." OF COURSE YO"RE NOT INTERESTED YOU MORON!!! YOU DON'T KNOW WHY THEY ARE CALLING YET!


Now for the biggest roar of an objection yet, "I don't phone YOU at home, why are you phoning me?"

Well, Flash, how about I call you at work tomorrow instead and we can discuss your phone bill then? Shall we talk on your lunch break tomorrow so I can tell you how to save when you renew your Penthouse subscription? No, it's a personal, B2R, call of COURSE you will be called at home.

When writing rebuuttal scripts for a long distance call center in teh 90's I had one rep who kept getting asked, "How would you like it if I called YOU at home?"
Rebuttal, 'sir/madam, if you wanted to phone me every night at bedtime and tell me that I could save money on my bills without any noticable changes to my system or services, I would welcome your calls and enjoy a good nights sleep knowing I have the best deal available."

People who use "clever" objections soon become the laughing stock of a call center, dont' you think teh telemarketer has heard it before and simply moves n to make some money? Telemarketers don't want to waste THEIR time any more than yours in fact their time is billed by the minute. Companies go to great lengths and expenses to ensure that even a 10 second call gap is removed, time is money believe me they don't want to waste their time either.

Hanging up is the worst though, this usually gets you placed on a daily recall list (often automatically without user intervention), the computer will just randomly dial your number everyday until removed.

As for being a 'real job', it IS a real job. In fact it is one of the most productive ways of marketing just about any product or company. Sure you get people who opt to miss out on a deal, or feel they are above telemarketers and won't conduct business with them, that's their choice but many actually appreciate the calls.

As for quality employment, I've seen quite a few people make a LOT of money on the phone, a LOT of money, such as the guys that sell stocks over the phone (usually from the Phillipines or Uganda or something). They are generally North Americans out to make some real money.

Don't sell an entire industry short because you don't like some of the players. You will only end up selling yourself short too.

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