Open or Closed?  How to talk the language of ‘telemarketing’

Recently, I received a telephone call from a telemarketing company aiming to sell their services to Brevity.  Unfortunately, the call didn’t go well because the sales guy demonstrated no skill in the art of telephone selling.

Answering the phone, I was ‘greeted’ by a gentleman with a rather monotone voice (mistake one). He explained for a little too long (mistake two) about what his company did and then asked to speak to the Managing Director of our business (mistake three).   When I told him that would be me, he then dived into a pre-written spiel about what the company did in more detail (mistake four), finishing the conversation with “Do you use telemarketing agencies” (mistake five).

“Yes.” I replied.

“Do you want me to send you details of our services?” he requested. (mistake six)

He seemed shocked when I answered “no!”

I explained that all the way through his introduction he sounded as though he was reciting from a script and that he asked numerous closed questions, rather than open questions…it didn’t demonstrate to me that his company understood the art of persuasion.  Moreover, if he hadn’t convinced me of his telemarketing skills trying to sell his own services – how would he pull it off for my customers!

“I am sorry, I didn’t realise I was doing it.”  He replied, continuing with a further closed question “Did you want me to send you some details?” (mistake seven)  Arrhhhhhhh!!

There’s no denying, telemarketing is a hard game.  Eight hours a day on the phone is no fun especially if you get constant rejection because your method isn’t right.

So what could this telemarketing company have done better?

  • Offer an engaging voice. Many companies utilise people with Irish and Scottish accent because they are perceived to have a friendlier tone to their voice
  • The gentlemen that called should have concentrated on How a telemarketing company could help Brevity rather than purely stating the obvious. I know what a telemarketing company does!
  • Use open questions as opposed to closed questions.  How and Why rather than Do and Are because the latter can halt a conversation in its tracks and extract little intelligence
  • Rather than asking if he could speak to the Managing Director, why didn’t he use a website such as Company Check and find out who our Director was?

So, this is how I feel the conversation could have gone better:

“Hi, My name is John, from ABC telemarketing, how are you today? sorry I didn’t catch your name?”

“Kaia Vincent”    

“Hi Kaia, I was calling to introduce myself to your today as I believe we may be able to work on some mutual projects together that involve telephone marketing.”


“How many dedicated telemarketing people do you have working for your business? “


“None.  So when you follow up on email marketing campaigns, how do you resource this exercise?”

“Our Marketing Manager’s would complete the task.”

“How effective is the telemarketing?”


“OK – but perhaps with the right dedicated and skilled team it could be better.”


“Here at ABC Telemarketing we have a talented team of highly experienced telemarketers.  We don’t believe in scripts, but tailor our conversations to extract the important information and intelligence we need from clients in a friendly and polite manner…we find this approach softens the call and increases the probability of success. Whether it’s for purely sales or fact-finding.”

“Have you got any projects that required telemarketing in the next three months where we could partner with you?”

“We have a project coming up within the IT Sector needing telemarketing three days per week for six weeks – it would help if we could find a suitable partner for this particular job.”

“How about we catch up next week.  I can come to your office in Basingstoke and run over the project details and give you some ideas on how we would approach your calls.  Tuesday at 10am is good for me. We can also discuss how  Brevity could help some of our existing clients with their email marketing campaigns, we would really like to develop some strong partnerships with marketing companies in Basingstoke..”

“Sounds good. See you then.”

If the telemarketing person who had called me had put a little effort into the call, asked me open questions and correctly understood his end goal  we could have had a great conversation, but due to his lack of skill and tone, he never found out about the lucrative project.  It could have been a great partnership!

Brevity Marketing offers marketing support services in Basingstoke, Hampshire, and can help improve the telemarketing skills of your internal teams, allowing them to appreciate the art of open questions, fully understand the goal of the call, realise that taking time to research the caller and the company isn’t a waste of time – and turn more calls into qualified leads.