How Not to Hate Teleconsultants!

“Oh, you’re the one who teaches all those horrible telemarketers!”  When people learn that I sometimes teach people how to sell over the phone I’m often excoriated for encouraging annoying behavior.  But there are some arguments in my defense.  For one thing, just about everyone who sells has to do some selling over the phone.  You want to make an appointment with a desirable prospect?  You’ll have to make a phone call.  Learn to do it right.

Second, I don’t teach telemarketing. I teach teleconsulting.  Let’s explore the difference, and I’ll give you a tip for how to kick off a helpful workshop in telephone selling.

I regard telemarketing as mass market selling of products and services over the phone, with little regard to exploring the wants and needs of the customers. It’s an impersonal numbers game. I regard teleconsulting as a more customer-focused conversation, in which the salesperson makes every attempt to learn needs, add value, and above all not be an intrusive pest.

As the facilitator, you run the risk of having your group be resentful of any training involving selling over the phone.  They hate telemarketers and don’t want to be labeled that way. So if you find yourself leading a workshop in telephone sales, start by asking your learners “How many of you absolutely hate telemarketers?”  This gets you off to a great start because they will all raise their hands.

Now ask, “Why do you think people hate telemarketers?  What do they do to annoy you?”  Scribe their answers on a flip chart, which you will fill in no time:  “They call at a bad time.  They won’t take no for an answer. They mispronounce my name.  They talk nonstop.  They read from a script…” and so on.

So now you tell the group, “You’re telling me that these are all bad behaviors and you don’t like them.  What are the odds that if I went out on the street and asked passersby the same question?  Would they say the same things you did?”  The learners will agree enthusiastically.  “Yes!  Everyone hates telemarketers!”

So you now take a red marker and you draw a huge X across the flip chart and say, “Then why don’t we agree that if these behaviors are objectionable to the people we’re calling, it won’t make sense to engage in them, and we’re just not going to do these things?  Instead we’re going to make helpful, productive calls that engage people and get them to speak with us. Can we all agree on that?”  Well, believe me, they not only agree, but you’ll now have their attention as you lead them in the design of the perfect phone call.

And of course the perfect call is easy to create if you just…

Think Like Your Customer!

I’m still at the Delaware shore, by the way, running, swimming, reading and drinking Dogfish Head beer.  On Friday, because it’s vacation for me, I’ll share a fun story with you about competitive distance running and how I got my nickname.  If you want to get a head start on Friday’s post, go into Google and enter “Spareribs LaMothe.”  Enjoy your summer!

About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at

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