A Great Example of a Disarming Telemarketing Call

17 replies
So this morning I got a phone call to my cell from my undergraduate school.

I begrudgingly answered it, as I plainly hated my experience there.

On some level, I was looking forward to getting some form of retribution from the person who was calling me (assuming that they were calling to ask for money, which they were).

But surprisingly, I was shocked at how the call evolved.

By the end of the call, I felt like I made a new "friend," and actually considered sending a tad bit of money.

Here's how they somewhat suckered me.

1) The telemarketer introduced herself as a "current student of the University attending the same management school as I did." I believed her because her phone extension is the same extension from the University. Secondly, I was a little intrigued about talking with someone who shares a similar experience as me.

2) She first asked to update my information. How they got my cell phone is beyond me, but I gave them my new home address.

3) After that, I was expecting her to beg for alumni donations, from where I would politely decline. INSTEAD, she asked me what industry I was in since graduating, of which she sounded genuinely interested. From there I relaxed and began having a conversation with her. Turns out she studied abroad in the same country as I did and took a lot of the same classes. The whole time she was leading the conversation, asking open-ended questions about my experiences and so forth.

3) After about 12-13 minutes of this, she concluded the call by asking for a small ongoing donation commitment. I asked her to "Send me something in the mail." She said she understood, but for budget control issues, she said she was going to fill the card in for me at a level I was comfortable at. I said "$10 to $15 was fine, I guess."

For me, the takeaway here was her call was targeted, interesting, disarming, and open-ended.

I might actually end up sending something to the University I hated to attend now...
#call #disarming #great #telemarketing
  • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
    The good ones always sell you... before you even know you were sold.

    I bet if she was allowed to take credit cards or check by phone, she
    would make a killing.

    But since she is relying on her "pitch" to last long enough for you
    to make a donation... they are probably losing 70% or more
    of the commitments

    Good share
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    • Profile picture of the author Rearden
      Like you said... you got me on the phone, so CLOSE me already, will ya?

      Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

      The good ones always sell you... before you even know you were sold.

      I bet is she was allowed to take credit cards or check by phone, she
      would make a killing.

      But since she is relying on her "pitch" to last long enough for you
      to make a donation... they are probably losing 70% or more
      of the commitments

      Good share
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  • Profile picture of the author Mwind076
    We take this approach sometimes. If she sensed or could hear your "discord" in your voice (which most good callers can), she knew she'd have to friend you.

    Doesn't mean she does it with everyone, I'm sure she can go in for the kill...she just knows what she's doing and worked you

    You go girl!
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  • Profile picture of the author spesialis
    I wonder how much she get paid per hour? Is there any commission and/or daily target?
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  • Profile picture of the author Rearden
    A great resume builder for starters.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sean Erickson
    Sweet example man. Thank you and can be used as a good example .
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Originally Posted by Rearden View Post

    So this morning I got a phone call to my cell from my undergraduate school.

    I begrudgingly answered it, as I plainly hated my experience there.

    On some level, I was looking forward to getting some form of retribution from the person who was calling me (assuming that they were calling to ask for money, which they were).

    But surprisingly, I was shocked at how the call evolved.

    By the end of the call, I felt like I made a new "friend," and actually considered sending a tad bit of money.

    Here's how they somewhat suckered me.

    1) The telemarketer introduced herself as a "current student of the University attending the same management school as I did." I believed her because her phone extension is the same extension from the University. Secondly, I was a little intrigued about talking with someone who shares a similar experience as me.

    2) She first asked to update my information. How they got my cell phone is beyond me, but I gave them my new home address.

    3) After that, I was expecting her to beg for alumni donations, from where I would politely decline. INSTEAD, she asked me what industry I was in since graduating, of which she sounded genuinely interested. From there I relaxed and began having a conversation with her. Turns out she studied abroad in the same country as I did and took a lot of the same classes. The whole time she was leading the conversation, asking open-ended questions about my experiences and so forth.

    3) After about 12-13 minutes of this, she concluded the call by asking for a small ongoing donation commitment. I asked her to "Send me something in the mail." She said she understood, but for budget control issues, she said she was going to fill the card in for me at a level I was comfortable at. I said "$10 to $15 was fine, I guess."

    For me, the takeaway here was her call was targeted, interesting, disarming, and open-ended.

    I might actually end up sending something to the University I hated to attend now...
    Yeah and she wrote a "wood" pledge, as its called in fundraising. She asked what you were comfortaable with , got you to quote a number, but never directly asked you for the pledge or nailed you down tight (tied you down as they say). 90% of those dont come back in the mail.

    She wrote wood.

    Some fundraisers have 70% conversions, as in 70% of the pledges they send out come back with a check...and some fundraisers write wood all day and only 10% of their pledges come back in.

    In 2007 I ran a call center in Nashville for a year called NPS, anyone can look them up and see we had 7 million dollars come back that year.... I had about 50 telemarketers I guess.... and I had to watch all their numbers constantly for wood writers.

    Even good ones get in slumps and start writing wood. Their daily gross numbers look good on the board,,,but their monthly conversion goes down.

    Fund raising managers dont pat people on the back for high daily gross...they are more concerned with what your numbers look like 30 days-6 weeks- and 90 days out.

    I had alot of hot shots come in and throw wood at the board for weeks like a ham....then a month later their numbers came in and they were let go of.

    Just like appointment setters, there is a vast difference between someone saying yes to a free quote and someone who is interested in a website.

    But I do agree with the disarming part...

    In construction , roofing and siding appointments the TMs start with

    Hi is this Bob?

    Great, Bob the reason Im calling is because, you still own the home over on 123 main street right?

    and they start asking questions.... then qualify them for interest in home repair or not...

    In group insurance sales we used to have a pitch (My room did multiple programs) that went

    Hi Bob, "this is Bob's Steakhouse right?" Lol. Okay Im calling the right place.

    Real quickly Bob, its nothing official, we are just shooting out free quotes to local business owners like yourself on health plans designed specifically for business owners like you with 5 employees or less, I just wanted to make sure I had your address correct so I can get it out to you okay.... you are still located at 123 main street right?

    Bob: Yes

    Okay great, let me just ask you a couple of quick questions to make sure I get you a good comparison... (Then they start "qualifying")

    If the person qualifies in the question phase they start closing them on a phone appointment and tighten it up...assuming the close because the prospect is already invested emotionally from the questions.

    Lots of ways to disarm.

    I call the insurance pitch a reverse engineered pitch.

    Tried a version of it for a telemarketer I trained recently and its working well for web design too... Its getting the committment first before you lose them, then qualifying after that... a person wont back out generally after they are invested in the call and feel like they have already committed on some level, so if you can make committment easy and fast...THEN qualify, its easier to hold them on the phone.

    In the beginning they think you are just shooting out the quote, so they commit because they assume you meant a mail out...but by the end you are scheduling a phone appointment, and they dont back out because they are emotionally invested.

    The opposite of that is that they like you at first, then you start pitching and they think "OMG another long pitch, and say they arent interested...you lose them.

    But if you make it easy at first, commit them quickly...then qualify...you get to pitch,because now they have interest in your questions... and again (for the 5th time) they dont back out, because they already committed on some level.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      I call the insurance pitch a reverse engineered pitch.

      Tried a version of it for a telemarketer I trained recently and its working well for web design too... Its getting the committment first before you lose them, then qualifying after that... a person wont back out generally after they are invested in the call and feel like they have already committed on some level, so if you can make committment easy and fast...THEN qualify, its easier to hold them on the phone.
      I use a similar approach when sellling in homes.

      Yeah, I don't understand why they don't get a credit card on the phone.
      When they are in heat, get the money.

      Also, another Great example from Reardon.
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  • Profile picture of the author brik2500
    John....reverse engineering the pitch is priceless! Thanks for the insight!
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    • Profile picture of the author John Durham
      Originally Posted by brik2500 View Post

      John....reverse engineering the pitch is priceless! Thanks for the insight!
      No problem. As I said, I have managed several call centers, and in all but the internet sales ones, most call centers run several programs at once, and are constantly testing new ones that they are approached with...so I was always writing new pitches and piloting new programs. Trying different things...As a manager, my job when a new kind of contract came in was to 'Make it work". The one above works.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rearden
    John, why do you think the TM didn't CC close me?

    She just said she'd be sending something.
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  • Profile picture of the author BlackBetty
    Thank you for sharing this, it's the charm that makes you a good sales person, isn't it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rearden
      I got another, different telemarketing call from my favorite telemarketer of all time.

      This guy has been calling on my once or twice a year for the past 5 years.

      I've never bought from the guy, but I always listen to his pitch. It goes like this.

      "Hello?"

      "Hey David! What's up man? This is Charley -- you remember me, the guy with the really bad jokes?"

      "LOL, heck ya I remember you, how are you?"

      "I'm wonderful -- remember, I told you I wouldn't call you back until I came up with a new joke -- it's not too bad. Would you like to hear it?"

      "Of course?"

      "Alright -- what do you call a cross between a hippopotamus, and elephant, and a rhino?"

      "I don't know!"

      "A hell-if-I-know!"

      (LOLs ensue).

      Then he pitches me on his product, which is LED key chain rings.

      After I let him describe it, I tell him I closed my business down and probably wouldn't be interested in it.

      He rebuttals and continues describing how the price is 4 dollars less per piece than what I could find at the store.

      As he's describing it, he says we can put my business name on the back, and asked me does that name sound good? (Trial close).

      I told him again in a relaxed tone (can't be mad at this dude) that it wouldn't make sense as I've been shut down since last October.

      After a little talk, I told him you're the best cold-caller ever and the only one I remember calling on me for four or five years.

      Sad to see him go. Kinda wish I bought something from him in the past.
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  • Profile picture of the author algreg
    She had you at "Hello"

    J/K but she did get you when the both of you shared schools. That was the link.
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  • Profile picture of the author danysh
    Rearden, good share
    Although you were a well targeted warm-ish call - she had your details, you recognized the phone number of the school, so it is kinda lower barrier to cross, isn't it?
    But it seems that a real conversation rather than jumping for the pitch, will make it easier to get people to open up, and than the close is easier.
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  • Profile picture of the author jayspann
    I get the same pitch from my schools to "update" my information several times a year.

    One much more frequently than the others.

    I added the numbers into my cell (I guess I gave to number out at some point) and I don't normally take the calls unless I'm in the car and want to have a little fun.

    It is a great way to open a conversion and use the "yes ladder" and the power of small commitments.

    I'm sure, as John said, that you could adapt this and use it to call on any market.
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    • Profile picture of the author ccole
      Thanks for sharing Rearden.

      She did had you at "Hello".

      Most cold callers/telemarketers just stick to their scripts and if you ask them questions that are not on their scripts they hang up.
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