Amanda Puppo’s telephone marketing firm MarketReach has expanded from Main Street in Hightstown to Franklin Corner Road in Lawrenceville.
Puppo, a longtime veteran of telephone sales and marketing, founded MarketReach in 2001 after a few years in the corporate world. She had majored in English at SUNY Albany and had thought about a career in law. But Puppo put off law school only to discover that she didn’t want to go to. She also didn’t want to stay in corporate America.
More telling, though, was finding out that she was good at one thing nearly everyone hates — cold calling on the phone. So Puppo started her own company from her kitchen table and has built a staff of seven.
Puppo knows most people do not like the phone, but says that business owners need to get past it. The old adage “If you’re in business you’re in sales” is true for pretty much any type of business owner, and Puppo says that if you are going to be successful on the phone you have about 10 seconds to get the attention of whomever you’re calling.
This, of course, makes cold calling on the phone just that much tougher than dropping by. Callers, she says, have only their voices to work with — not body language, not facial expressions, not dress, and certainly not a handshake.
The secret, she says, is to be warm and engaging — and to get to the point. Forget the “How are ya’s” and “How’s it going’s.” Just get to the meat of the matter and don’t let the person on the other end get away with a no.
Learning how to interpret the objections and handle them is a large part of learning to successfully telemarket, Puppo says. And everyone has an objection because as much as people like to shop, they hate to be sold anything. There’s the “I’m too busy right now” excuse. Answer: “When’s a better time to call?” Then there is the “I’m satisfied with my current plan” objection. Answer: “That’s great. What is it about your vendor that you like?”
Then close your mouth and listen. Most people will eventually state that something is “OK.” Your response: “Sounds like there may be room for improvement.”
The key, Puppo says, is to always handle an objection with a rebuttal, and then follow-up with another question. “Questions,” she says, “are a way of taking control of the conversation and distracting the person from their objections.”
But telemarketing, says Puppo, is just one of many avenues a business owner or sales professional should follow to gain new clients. There still are the time-tested methods of networking, public speaking, and advertising. Besides, we live in the age of voicemail. If you’re relying solely on the phone, just getting a live person might be the hardest part of calling. The key: keep trying if the contact is that important to you. And whatever you do, don’t take rejection personally. Shrug it off and try again.
#b#MarketReach Inc#/b#., 168 Franklin Corner Road, Building 1, Suite 2B, Lawrenceville 08648; 609-448-6364; fax, 609-895-1701. Amanda J. Puppo, president. www.marketreach.biz