Many companies have sales leads that need to be followed up by telephone. But how do you find the right people to make the calls? Here, Darren Frostick, a director of Leading Edge Market Solutions – a company that supplies leads to clients in the removals, office fit-out and telecoms industries about companies planning to relocate – gives his advice on how to recruit effective telesales staff.
One thing is for sure: telesales isn’t for everyone, so it’s important to know what to look for when recruiting a telesales person to make calls on your behalf. Employing someone with previous experience and a good track record is of course ideal, but that doesn’t mean that someone with the right attitude and personality can’t be just as successful. Unless you have a very large number of leads to work on it’s unlikely that you’ll need someone to work full-time, often two or three days a week will be sufficient. There are lots of people out there looking for part-time work, and with telesales it’s usually possible to agree hours around other commitments, such as the school run for example.
As they will not be meeting your prospects face-to-face, it doesn’t really matter what the person looks like, but how they sound is of course very important. That doesn’t mean they have to speak like a Radio 3 continuity announcer, but they will be representing your company, so make sure the way they talk suits your type of industry and your brand values. Remember, they will be speaking to senior people, so they must give the right impression. You should also be looking for someone who is outgoing, confident, preferably has some sales experience, and will not be put off by the occasional rejection.
No matter how good your recruiting skills are, you won’t know how good your new telesales person is until they start making calls. If you can – especially if your prospective recruit is new to telesales – allow them to sit with an experienced caller for a couple of hours to get a feel of how it’s done. When you think they’re ready, ask them to pick up the phone and make a call themselves. If they refuse, you’ve probably got the wrong person. If they’re willing to give it a try, it’s worth giving them a chance. However, don’t offer the candidate a job straight away. Arrange for them to come in for a day on a trial basis to see how they perform and if they, and you, think they have what it takes. A good telesales person will make at least 20 – 30 calls per hour, it’s very much a numbers game, so that’s the call rate they need to be aiming to achieve.
The way you pay your telesales people should reflect their level of success, but paying on the basis of booked appointments alone is unlikely to achieve the best results. As I said earlier, this is very much a numbers game, so set your telemarketer a realistic call target and pay a bonus on top of their basic salary when they achieve it. You can then pay an extra bonus for every appointment set. Paying them solely on the number of appointments they make will inevitably result in poor quality and waste your salespeople’s time.
A good telesales person is a valuable asset to your company, so it’s important to keep them happy, motivated and properly rewarded for their success if you are to retain them for the long term.