Corrections or additions?
This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the September 25, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Dialing for Dollars
<d>Amanda Puppo spends a substantial portion of her
days on the phone. The founder of MarketReach, a Cranbury telephone
marketing company, she specializes in getting busy decision makers
to agree to sales visits from her clients. It can take four, eight,
fifteen, or twenty calls just to get Mr. or Ms. Decisionmaker on the
Are there days when every receptionist is rude? When she is stonewalled,
sweared at, and lied to? Days when she hears Mr. VIP is in a meeting
for the 20th time in six hours or that Ms. VIP will be on a conference
call until Tuesday next? Does she get discouraged, depressed, even
"Never," says Puppo. "Most people aren’t rude because
I’m really nice. It’s a mirror effect."
It is impossible not to believe her. She is just so up, so friendly,
so brimming with youthful enthusiasm. A telemarketer a prospect could
love? Could it be true? Actually, Puppo prefers the term "telephone
marketer" to "telemarketer," and does appear to have an
approach that deflects the animus that automatically attaches to most
individuals who make a living by using the phone to persuade others
to do or buy things.
She shares her secrets on "Expanding Your Business Through Telephone
Marketing" on Monday, September 30, at 4:30 p.m. at a free Trenton
Small Business Week event at the Mill Hill Playhouse at Front and
Montgomery streets in Trenton. Call 609-396-8801 or register at www.smallbizweek.com
It is common to hear about entrepreneurs who started their businesses
after a decade or two of corporate experience. Puppo did not hang
around in corporate corridors nearly that long. A 1997 graduate of
the State University of New York at Albany, she spent a little time
at payroll giant ADP, learned one key lesson, and set out on her own.
"ADP is a $4 billion business built on kids right out of college
running around, collecting business cards, and calling prospects,"
she observes. If the system works for ADP, why couldn’t it work for
her? She quickly decided there was no reason it could not, and in
2000 founded MarketReach (609-448-6364; www.marketreach.biz) in Cranbury.
Less than one-and-a-half years old, the company has two part-time
employees, and is growing.
MarketReach does surveys, trains telephone marketers, and creates
lists of qualified prospects. But the bulk of its work is in setting
appointments for clients, many of which are in the IT industry. "Clients
used to knock on their doors," she says of this beleaguered group.
"Now it’s tough out there." She also has a specialty in representing
food and beverage clients, and especially coffee vendors.
You will never hear Puppo’s voice when you rush from the dinner table
to pick up the phone — and run headlong into a sales pitch. She
does only business-to-business telephone marketing. Her secrets for
and the tenacity to plug away," she says. Forget about reaching
a prospect on the first try. Bagging a chat on the fifth or fifteenth
try is more realistic. "It’s tiring for some people," she
Access, and Goldmine, that tracks calls and sounds alarms when it
is time to make another call to a prospect. Choose one — Puppo
swears by ACT — and use it. A prospect may say "`Call back
in two months,’" she says. "If you do, you gain credibility."
receptionist your ally. Many people look right past the receptionist,
or worse, treat her badly. Don’t. Learn her name, and use it. Make
her your friend, and chances are she will be honest with you. "Get
slightly personal," is Puppo’s advice for getting in good with
the gatekeepers. "They want to be treated well, and often, they’re
maker is the most difficult part of telephone marketing, no question
about it. Once you’re through, you can’t afford to blow the opportunity.
Start off with a simple statement of who you are, what you want, and
how long it will take.
let the prospect know what you can do for him. Puppo gives this example:
"I have clients in your industry; I’ve raised their bottom lines
the benefits of your goods or services, and then move quickly to questions.
Asking whether the prospect, for example, is now outsourcing IT consulting
or his employees’ coffee service engages him in a conversation. Following
up with more questions leads him further into your presentation. This,
says Puppo, is far better than trying to force him to sit still during
a monologue detailing all the advantages of your wares.
uses — or could use — goods or services like the ones you
are selling, move right on to close the sale or set up the sales appointment.
Puppo can close sales for her own business services over the phone
— and has done so, but she says most of her clients need to set
up a sales appointment. To get the ball rolling, she asks prospects:
"Do you have a calendar in front of you?" The purpose of this
question is to get them in action in response to her directive.
it is a good idea to offer a prospect a choice of dates for a sales
call, Puppo prefers to take control of the timing. "If they’re
in Lawrence, and I’m going to be in Lawrence on Wednesday afternoon,
I’ll say `how about 3 p.m. on Wednesday,’" she says. If the answer
is no, she moves on to choices, asking how is Thursday or Friday?
its results are so easy to quantify. You know just how many calls
it took to make 10 appointments, how many of those appointments led
to sales, and how much money those sales generated.
A person who obviously loves her work, Puppo says she doesn’t have
to psyche herself up for a day on the phone. The fact that most of
the calls she makes are for other people’s businesses helps. Any rejection
she gets is not personal. "It insulates me," she says.
For Puppo, soliciting business by phone is a business. That also makes
it easier for her to cut her losses. Are there prospects who stonewall
her to death? Sure, and when they do, she says it’s time to say "Next!"
and to move on.
No matter what the message on the other end of the line, Puppo’s sign
off never varies. "I always say `Have a great day!,’" she
says, sounding like she really means it.
The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Association and the Biotechnology
Council of New Jersey team up to present Biotech 2002: Opportunities
in the Nation’s Pharmaceutical Center. The two-day event begins on
Monday, September 30, at 7:30 a.m. at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott.
Call 800-231-0022. Cost: Workshop, $475; symposium, $600; workshop
and symposium, $975.
Sponsors include the New Jersey Commerce & Economic Growth Commission,
the New Jersey EDA, the New Jersey Technology Council, Bristol-Myers
Squibb, Covance, Merck, Hale and Dorr, GlaxoSmithKline, Wyeth, Ortho
Biotech, and the University of Pennsylvania. Among the workshops:
session provides the non-scientist with a basic understanding of genomics,
proteomics, stem cell research, and gene therapy. Speakers, including
of Aventis Pasteur, explain these technologies and their implications
for drug discovery and development and other processes.
examines fundamental business strategies for biotechnology ventures.
Focusing on companies in the initial start-up, early, and middle stage
development, it analyzes the critical issues underlying the creation
and management of life science companies. Speakers include
Penn of Meridian Venture and
the law that executives need to understand to manage transactions
in the biotechnology arena. Recent deals and current trends will be
profiled, and break-out sessions permit more in-depth analysis of
these issues. Speakers include
of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
for university technology transfer officers and researchers to discuss
commercializing life sciences research. Participants discuss issues
with representatives of the National Institute of Health, Small Business
Innovation Research, Advanced Technology Program, and the National
Science Foundation. Topics include alternative funding solutions,
commercialization, licensing, and federal and venture capital resources.
session is to bring together senior representatives from the FDA,
small biotech companies, and large pharma companies to discuss regulatory/industry
interaction and ways to improve the process.
businesses, virtual companies are playing a more important role. Venture
capitalists explain why this concept is important for early stage
biotech companies. Mid-Atlantic area resources for virtual companies
requiring space, including the Port of Technology and the Technology
Center of New Jersey join the discussion.
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.