Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Probe With Open-Ended Questions, Or Don’t Probe At All

Probe With Open-Ended Questions, Or Don’t Probe At All

Professional telemarketers uncover information from prospective clients that may lead into business opportunities.

They also have to maintain an atmosphere of confidence and trust, which goes outside the usual, transactional survey-ish style of telemarketing.

Leading them into a cyclone of inquiries and not letting them talk much may have them lose attention and eventually lose interest with the call.
While opening spiels are usually harmless, what could be detrimental to the success of the telemarketing call are the questions that follow. Asking wrong or too many questions may force clients to end the conversation. If they do decide not to end it, oftentimes they’d just refuse to give out anything.
And surveys usually sound like a bombardment of yes-or-no questions.
Business-to-business (B2B) telemarketing requires skills in extracting information, or probing. The way to make them perceive the call as a normal conversation is to engage them to do the talking. Obviously, close-ended questions would not allow them to expound on specific aspects of the answer they would have. Making them respond predictably eliminates the “personal” touch of the conversation and kills the momentum that’s needed to sustain the life of the call.

Related: The Triple A of Telemarketing, Article 1: Attitude
Open-ended questions are more elaborative, like “How does your current operation work?” or “What services do you need in your next campaign?” Sometimes, even non-questions could work, as long as they allow the prospect to elaborate certain details, like “Tell me about the adversities you’ve had in your department.”
The benefits of using open-ended questions in probing:
  • Facilitates enhanced cooperation and understanding

  • Provides the opportunity for others to express themselves more openly and honestly

  • Encourages prospects to provide information including their ideas, concerns & feelings

  • Encourages  a positive learning and sharing experience

  • Encourages others to flow with their thoughts and feelings & allows you to support this flow

  • Lays bare your willingness to invest time with others


Telemarketers do need to obtain specific information from prospects, such as statistics, dates, and technical details; however, engaging them in a meaningful exchange of words is still worth the distance and can benefit on the bigger picture.
That way, prospects would feel comfortable and at ease. Letting them express their grievances can make them feel appreciated and important. By earning their trust, they will often offer the information that was targeted in the first place, and it will have been done without sounding like a grilling android.

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