During the time I spent in telemarketing, I gained lots of insight into people. For example, I learned about the different personalities endemic to other parts of the country. Being from Texas and more familiar with people from the South, I always bought into the truism that people from the South are friendly and people from the North are rude. What I discovered is that Southerners can be really rude and Northerners really very nice.
A comment from many years ago help me to sort this out. I had a neighbor from Scandinavia who preferred people from the North because they were more “honest.” People from the South act like they care about you when they don’t. People from the North, if they want to have nothing to do with you, they let you know up front. None of this false friendliness that people in the South display.
As a telemarketer, I discovered that people from the South were all friendly until they realized that I was a telemarketer and then they turned on me. People from the North were guarded and brusk unless they became interested in what I was selling. Then they became just as friendly as any Southerner.
I learned to start my sales pitch with something that would pique people’s interest and put us on the same side of a common concern. I was selling educational videos which were high on entertainment content. These videos had been given a thumbs up by all sorts of professionals. I started my pitch with, “Hello, I’m James and I work for a company that is concerned about the content our children are watching on TV.” Automatically, if the listener was at all a prospect for the product, we were on the same side of a major issue. I was getting fewer rude responses but I am not sure it was helping my sales.
In retrospect, the turn downs were generally more polite but slower in coming. Sales is a “numbers game.” If it takes 10 – 15 calls to make a sale, then the telemarketer needs to slam through the bad calls quickly to hit that one winning call. If the person was going to turn me down, it was better for them to do it quickly and let me get on to the next call. With my new approach, people who had no intention of buying my product were a bit slower to tell me “No” because we’d established a little bit of rapport.
One of the benefits of social media is that it helps the job seeker to contact people s/he would not normally meet in real life. At times, however, the other person does not play along. I have job seekers complain to me that such-and-such won’t get back to them on LinkedIn or won’t provide them with an invitation to the hiring manager. This is sales. It is a numbers game. When the sale stalls, move on to the next call.