Chapter 2

The Telemarketing Experience, Section 2

The first day of work for the company I had to scan in to the time clock which could not be done any sooner than 5 minutes prior to my scheduled time. Then there is finding a clear computer and setting up the station for business by putting the tape into the tape deck and booting up the computer. Once this part is done it is the briefing on what we are selling and the numbers that we need to hit that day. Then the “fun” begins.

My first 15 calls were lightning fast with most people hanging up on me almost instantly.

Below are a couple of calls that I received in the first week of work.

Me: Hello this is Domingo Montez calling on behalf of (a local phone company). May I please speak to Mr/Mrs. So-and-so?

Customer: Who is this? (Perfect English)

Me: This is Domingo Montez calling on behalf of (a local phone company). May I please speak to Mr/Mrs. So-and-so?

Customer: No Hablo English.

I must say that the Spanish accent that the person on the other end used was probably one of the worst accents I have ever heard. They could have just said that they were uninterested and would appreciate it if we would no longer call. Guess that wasn’t an option.  

Next call.

Me: Hello this is Domingo Montez calling on behalf of (a local phone company). May I please speak to Mr/Mrs. So-and-so?

Customer: It’s Doctor So-and-so.

Me: May I please speak to Dr. So-and-so?

Customer: Go fuck yourself. <click>

That wasn’t very nice was it? Again, they could have just said that they were uninterested. I scheduled a callback for the next day. He was an asshole…fuck em’.

Being on the phones was nerve racking. I fumbled over my words, mispronounced names, said sir instead of ma’am and vice versa, and got yelled at a lot by customers. The question of whether or not this job was worth $7 an hour plus commission nagged at me. I was making the same as a cashier but now I was dealing exclusively with pissed off people that, ninety percent of the time, didn’t want what you were selling.

After a week on the phone I got called into my boss’s office for a meeting. Magdell was a Hispanic gentleman with a natural sales voice. He was about twenty-three years old, shaved bald head, pencil thin mustache, nice shirt and pants combinations, and very confident. Our meeting went something like this:

Him: How long have you been working here?

Me: About a week.

Him: I can tell, because an experienced telemarketer fights tooth and nail to get sales and you are not doing that. You see when you fight for the sale the calls last anywhere from 45 seconds to three minutes. Looking at your contacts sheet your average call length is 25 seconds. You are burning so many leads that I don’t feel comfortable having you calling people. You need to fight and keep these people on the phone until they agree to buy the product. Now…I am not saying to bully these people into making a purchase, I am simply saying that you need to convince them that this product will change their lives. Do you have any questions?

Me: Sir, I don’t feel very comfortable pushing people to buy anything. But in most cases, the calls I am making, people hang up on me before I ever finish the script. Moreover, when I give them a rebuttal they start raising their voices and cussing me out so I already know the sale is gone. How can I be expected to get sales when people don’t even stay on the phone long enough to hear the good thing about the product?

Him: As a sales person you need to put them at ease. When you read the script you need to sound natural and trusting without sounding like a robot. Use the person’s name instead of calling them sir or ma’am. When you do that you basically breakdown walls that make them listen. Try that and you will see an improvement in you sales and call lengths. We will have another meeting after a week or so to go over progress.

Me: Got it.

Him: I am not playing…fix your shit.

So that night I went home and went over my script about 50 times to get into a good groove. I even went over a few rebuttals but decided that being straight forward about the benefits of caller ID would be better. At the time I had caller ID so I could pull from personal experience and I was fairly sure that if someone was interested in buying the add-on then I would be able to relate with a story of my own to solidify the sale.

The next day I was about 15 calls in and I got a nibble from a customer. Then after a few minutes of information and talking back and forth I got a bite. The act of putting together an order was not covered in the training so I tapped my cubicle mate on the shoulder and asked him since he was a pro. His name was Brian. This guy was getting 3 - 5 sales a day and he was not the nicest dude ever. As a matter of fact he was very aggressive when he talked to people. I once heard him tell a customer, “If you don’t take this deal then you must be some kind of retard.” I am not paraphrasing, this is word for word.

He put his customer on hold and leaned over, guiding me through the process. All I really had to do was follow the prompts that popped up on the screen and punch in all of the customer information. Once the order was complete I bid the customer adieu and hung up. Right when I hit end my called over my boss and he high fived me and then hauled ass to the board to track the sale next to my name. He then announced it to everyone. “Ladies and Gentlemen, can I have your attention! Mr. Montez just logged his first sale! High five him when you get a chance!”

I was actually proud of myself. Over the next couple of weeks I started to get a couple of more sales here and there and 1 day I got four sales. That is almost unheard of in the telemarketing business. A great telemarketer can get as many at 14 - 20 sales a week. That particular day was a unicorn sort of day. The stars lined up and the customers were actually nice. I mean I still had those that cussed me out and berated me but they didn’t bother me too much. That was the only time I ever got up to that number but it felt good for a little while.     

A highlight to a story that is about to get dark. Stay tuned for the next chapter of this story.