Legalities and Basic Etiquette for Telemarketers
Marketing isn’t as easy as people make it sound like. You may have the best product out there since the invention of sliced bread, but if you don’t put it in front of the right people, at the right time, with the right pitch, using the right tools, then you can forget about it ever making a profit. Any marketer worth their salt would tell you that decent exposure takes effort and dedication and rarely happens overnight. And that is even with an audience that is willing to entertain purchasing your product or service.
Some people just don’t want to be sold to. Period. Maybe it is because you approached them at the wrong time, with the message, or the wrong product, but when you try to pitch something to someone who isn’t interested they will be at best indifferent and at worst outright abrasive.
What’s worse, all businesses today are working with an audience suffering from advertising fatigue. Our modern day society as we know it is filled with so many telemarketers, spammers, and con artists that anyone trying to advertise their business over the phone is disadvantaged by an audience who is sick of being advertised to.
So, what can you do? If you have a skeptical audience, how are you going to win them over with a phone call? Can it even be done?
The answer is yes, but you need to at least know how to do it ethically and legally.
Who’s in Charge?
First off, whether you are a small business or a large one, you at least need to know who is making the rules regarding telemarketing in the first place. When it comes to communication laws and business regulation, we have two main groups representing federal law in this area. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communication Commission (FCC).
The FTC is responsible for both protecting market consumers and preventing shady business practices that prevent competition, aka monopolies.
The FCC is responsible for the protection and regulation of communications behind broadband, competition in media, public safety, news sources in media and homeland security to name a few. If you have seen the news lately, then you know that the current chairman isn’t very popular on the internet.
Popular or not, these are the bureaus that make the rules regarding telemarketing and we abide by them as the law of the land. And if we don’t abide we pay to the tune of $11,000. 00 per violation.
- No calls before 8AM or after 9PM
Honestly, I don’t want to wake up to a phone call, and I doubt anyone else does either. If you are working remotely, check your timezone.
- You must let the phone ring 4 times or for 15 seconds
- You must not abandon more than 3% of your telephone solicitation calls.
These were probably put in place to put a stop to specific type of scam known as the ‘one ring scam’ . They only ring once, leave a number for you to call back. If you call back, then they will put you on hold and rack up charges.
- You must not block ID caller information.
- If you are using a pre-recorded message, the message must state your name/company name and provide a number where the consumer can call and request that no more calls be made.
Its only fair that customers are able to decide whether they want to be contacted afterward or not. Plus, its just polite to hear them out if they are not interested.
- Be Clear in your Language – Talking too fast or with your mouthful will not make it easy for you to send your message, and it will most likely get lost in translation. Take a deep breath, relax, and say what you need to say. Also, make a point to avoid industry jargon. The average customer usually won’t pick up on that sort of vocabulary.
- Watch your Voice – One of the major disadvantages of making any phone call is that you are both are cut off from reading the other person’s expressions and reactions, so your intentions need to be made up with your tone of voice. Be pleasant, be polite, and most importantly don’t sound like you are reading from a script. People with identify with you the more human and relaxed you sound.
- Think of your Customer as a Person – Just because customers are a means to an end, doesn’t mean that they aren’t people. People make mistakes, have bad days, and have emotional responses to things. Be sincere when you are talking and really listen to what they have to say. Go out of your way to be courteous, even if you are hanging up as they are cursing you out. It will boost your company’s reputation, and increase your chance at a customer/client relationship.