Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2.7 Anxious Little Seconds, Part 2: Telephoning

2.7 seconds is about the time it takes to have a really good sneeze. It’s also about all the time you’ve got to connect with a telemarketing contact.

Marketing is tough. Cold calling is tougher still.

If you’re making cold calls, you’ve got a grand total of 2.7 seconds before you lose the recipient. He may be polite and wait until you pause for a breath before he cuts you off. Or he may click you into oblivion in mid-sentence. Either way you’re outta there, and you’re not getting back in.

That’s a measly 2 seconds to make a first—and maybe last—impression. The success of your marketing effort depends on it.

What’s a marketer to do? Here are a few ideas to help you survive that brutal 2 seconds:

  1. Be sharp in your presentation. Make your opening line provocative, arresting. Don’t waste words. Be crisp. No verbal fumbling. Remember, everybody is in a hurry these days. Respect your recipient’s time.
  2. Prepare your presentation in advance but don’t sound canned. Sound sincere, spontaneous, genuine. Have a script in your head—not in front of your eyes.
  3. Use the recipient’s name. People are egotists. They love to hear their name spoken—it’s music to their ears. And maybe they’ll give you a few extra milliseconds of airtime to have your say.
  4. Conversely, if you can’t pronounce the person’s name, don’t try it. You’ll embarrass yourself and irritate your listener.
  5. Be flexible. Remember the old joke abut the telemarketer who got stopped in mid-stream and had to start over again? It’s true—and it isn’t funny. Be prepared to venture off the beaten path if the caller wants to go there.
  6. Open with humor. If your recipient is smiling or chuckling, the 2.7 seconds can easily extend. You don’t have to be Rodney Dangerfield. Be your better self.
  7. Don’t drone on and on endlessly. Ever! Go back and reread point #1.
  8. Thank the recipient for his time when you close. Remember the manners your Momma taught you.

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