Archive for October, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Telemarketing – Love it? Loathe it? Just DO IT!

Yesterday I attended a training workshop on Telemarketing. I went along to this because I do quite a bit of telemarketing for various clients, so I thought it would be prudent to hone my skills, and learn some new techniques.

What a fantastic day! It was really interesting to see people walking into this workshop with quite negative feelings about telemarketing, and walking out 3 hours later eager to pick up the phone and canvas for new clients.

It was also really interesting to see different perspectives that people have with regards to telemarketing, as there are a lot of stereotypical attitudes towards it. Don’t get me wrong, I hate the 7pm cold calls right during dinner just as much as the next person, and find them a real invasion of my privacy and life, however B2B telemarketing is a little different. It is a very strong, powerful and legitimate business tool, which, if done correctly, can result in vastly increased sales / clients. And it doesn’t cost the earth! After Word of Mouth, telemarketing is probably the cheapest way of getting your message out there. And you get an immediate, measurable response. Sounds great, doesn’t it? So why do so many people hate it so much?

Personally, I quite like telemarketing. Like everything else, there are good days and bad days, but I love to have a chat, so being on the phone talking to people doesn’t phase me too much. And because I’m telemarketing on behalf of other clients, I don’t take it personally when I get rejections, as it’s not my heart & soul that’s gone into the product or service I’m trying to sell, it’s someone else’s, so I can maintain a professional distance and attitude.

It is a very intimidating thing for some people to do though. You are putting yourself out there to total strangers, allowing them to judge your products or services, and exposing yourself to rejection, which many people take personally. As human beings, we crave acceptance – it’s natural. So setting yourself up for rejection is not something that many people like doing. It affects our self esteem, and our self worth. Which is why we find it so hard to keep picking up that phone after multiple rejections.

Telemarketing isn’t for everyone. It takes a certain kind of person to be a successful telemarketer; someone with bucket loads of personality and a good sense of humour, as well as the ability to not take the rejections personally. After all, why should I care what a total stranger thinks of me. It’s not like I’m going to be dealing with them again. So I’ll end the call with a smile, a thank you, and move on to the next one.

If you can see how your business could benefit from telemarketing, but you just don’t have the drive or the time to pick up the phone and make that first call to a potential client, pick up the phone instead and call ME instead!

Till next time,

Lia…

PostHeaderIcon The perils of running your own business

I have spent the last 3 days totally emerged in MYOB. I’ve been trying to get all of my FY 07/08 accounts up to date and finalised so that I can pass them on to our accountant, all so that she can tell me how much money I owe the tax man. What a rewarding few days this has been!

One thing that has come out of it though, is that I’ve found a couple of unpaid accounts which have slipped through the cracks. They are only fairly recently overdue, so obviously I’ve followed them up, but this is probably the worst, and most frustrating thing, about running your own business. Chasing debtors…

A few years ago, we made the fatal mistake of mixing business with pleasure, and we took on a friend as a client. We had a good working relationship for about 2 years, but then things started to go sour when our bills were ignored, and always put to the bottom of the pile, on the assumption that because we were friends, we could wait, and we’d understand. Well, 12 month of chasing, and qute a few thousand dollars later, we certainly didn’t understand, and we’re certainly no longer friends! I’m happy to say that we did recover most of the debt, but there is a small amount that we’ve had to write off, and seeing this appear in MYOB this week reminded me of the whole episode.

I have another client that, for all intents & purposes, is the ‘perfect’ client. Except that so far, I haven’t been paid. And I’m not talking nickles & dimes either, it’s a significant amount of money (and face it, for us small business operators, any amount is a significant amount!). I’m getting promises that the money will be in the bank “soon”, but I can’t find “soon” on my calendar, so I really don’t know when to expect this payment. And what makes it worse is that I have to pay subcontractors from this payment. Now, they have done the work, in good faith, so why should they wait for payment? Fact is, they won’t wait, I’ll pay them regardless of whether the client pays, as it’s my client, and not their problem. But it astonishes me that, time and time again, large companies think that they can take the ‘little guy’ for granted, and just not pay their bills.

There are so many benefits to running your own business. Flexibility, freedom, financial independence, work/life balance to name just a few. But there are definite perils. And unfortunately, chasing payments is one of them. It’s not something that would put me off doing what I’m doing, but it’s certainly something that I am going to keep a closer eye on now, and try to manage more effectively. And to my client that hasn’t paid yet – don’t ask me to do any more work until you show me the money!

Till next time,

Lia…