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Retail & Sales careers

Sales: Telesales & Telemarketing

Telesales and telemarketing in today’s world…

A career in telesales and telemarketing may sound like it’s all about selling and marketing televisions. However, this would be very far from the truth! As you’ve probably guessed it, people who work in telesales are actually the people who sell and market things over the telephone.

In recent times, the telesales and telemarketing industry has garnered a relatively bad reputation. Many people regard the cold-calling activities of telesales and telemarketing professionals to be an annoyance, while the use of underhand and aggressive sales techniques by certain companies has tarnished people’s perception of hard-working, honest people.

However, when telesales operations are conducted in an agreeable, friendly and efficient fashion, they can generate a lot of profit for companies and earn employees a decent wage through additional commission and bonus schemes.

Not all careers in this subsector are all about selling products directly to the public. Indeed, telesales campaigns can be effective in both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) sales.

What’s the difference between telesales and telemarketing?

Furthermore, it’s important that we note the distinction between telesales and telemarketing. In the past, these two terms were interchangeable. However, today telemarketing refers to any telephone service that attempts to make contact with consumers, including some that don’t necessarily sell things.

Telemarketing can be something that generates interest in a product or service, gives information to people, or creates opportunities for people. In fact, telesales (a service which directly sells things to consumers over the phone) is a specific part of telemarketing.

What skills and qualifications do I need to succeed in telesales or telemarketing?

No specific academic qualifications are usually required to work in telesales or telemarketing. However, to be successful you need to have the right kind of skills and personality.

Understandably, you will need excellent communication skills and a great telephone manner. You need to be confident, energetic, polite and friendly. In order to build rapport with potential customers, you must also have the ability to listen to customers intently and ask appropriate questions.

Above all though, you need to be resilient and tenacious. Rejection is a common theme in this industry and you will need to be able to deal calmly with people who may be rude and antagonistic towards your endeavours.

What kinds of organisations require a telesales or telemarketing team?

Telesales and telemarketing campaigns can be used to sell all kinds of things and communicate with all kinds of customers. You might be selling mobile phone packages or energy services, or you might be conducting market research on behalf of a holiday company. Many charities and university alumni services also use telemarketing methods to request donations.

Most people who pursue careers in telesales and telemarketing tend to work in large call centres. These are absolute hives of phone call activity, where many different people might be selling many different products, for many different clients.

Alternatively, people might work within the sales arm of a specific company and will conduct all their telesales activity within that specific company’s office.

What does a telesalesperson or telemarketer do?

A person’s responsibilities might vary slightly depending on what kind of telesales and telemarketing they are doing. However, most people will do a combination of ‘cold-calling’ (i.e. selling/marketing products to customers who aren’t expecting your call) and ‘warm-calling’ (i.e. selling/marketing to a database of customers who have already shown a certain amount of interest in the products or services you are supplying).

Often, these people are required to follow a regulated script in their sales pitch and must call a specified database of callers. Sometimes, telesales and telemarketing professionals might be required to call existing customers and sell them new products, or receive inbound calls from actively interested customers, making sure they buy the right products for the right price.

Telesales and telemarketing can be fairly repetitive and monotonous. However, if you have the right kind of energy, drive and ambition, it can be an enjoyable and challenging job. Furthermore, if you develop your skills and make a lot of sales, commission and bonus schemes can prove very lucrative indeed!

So, if you’re a warm caller, or you’ve got ‘the proverbials’ to call someone up and the incredible rhetorical skills to sell them something, getting a job in telesales and telemarketing may prove to be the first step towards your dream career!