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This month's tip has been provided by Elizabeth Winter.

Elizabeth is a career salesperson who was worked in 6 countries selling everything from feminine hygiene products to outsourcing. Her 8-year-old business called 'Good thinking!' which is now based in Toronto, Canada specialises in tactics for customer acquisition and customer retention. Elizabeth is also the Founder and President of the Call Centre Consulting Connection, an association of consultants, suppliers, and vendors to the call center industry.

Tip 13
Elizabeth Winter
The 'F' word in Telemarketing

The 'F' word? The 'F' word?? Before you call the Speech Police, read on.

The 'F' word in Telemarketing is 'fun'.

How many people think of their job as fun? We all know that telemarketing is serious business and hard work, much harder work than most people would think. How is it possible to have fun when the technology simply presents you one call after another, and you have to stick to a prepared script?

Easy. Because fun is all in the eyes of the beholder.

For many TeleBusiness people, the fun part of their job happens when a call or a day goes especially well. (We've all experienced the not-so-fun part too.) Would your staff think their job was more fun if they were more successful?

Why do some calls (days/ years/ lives!) go well and other don't? Two inputs account for most of the answer to that question: attitude and communications skills. First, let's look at attitude.

It's no secret that motivation comes from within, so all the motivational things you do for your team only reinforce the behaviours that are already present in the staff member. If someone hates their job, even the best sales contest in the world would have little effect. So how can you adjust someone's attitude?

Attitude is contagious, so inoculate your team. Teach them some psychology; how to shut off bad moods, how to get into and remain in a congruent (positive) state throughout the day. Another idea: start a "buddy system" where a top performer becomes an "angel" to someone newer, and they learn from each other. We all know that the best way to learn is to teach. This applies to you too: leading-by-example and demonstrating the right attitude when you manage your Call Centre and your team.

Now to communication skills. People like each other like each other, so if your telemarketers could create rapport with their prospects faster/ more easily/ more reliably, would they think their job was more Fun? The techniques we teach to create rapport quickly on the telephone are based on studies in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. In short, this skill involves active listening, and then matching the prospect's words and language patterns. It sounds easy to do, but it takes lot of practice.

And that's the bottom line. Continuous job skill improvement, and practice-practice-practice means your staff can get a little better each day at something related to their job, which makes calls go better, which is decidedly more fun than the alternative. As a consumer's perception is that many products are "commodities", your company's differentiation and the secret to customer loyalty may well be your staff, and their use of the F-word.

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