Some of the most successful OCS companies in the country have telemarketing departments that generate quality leads for their sales forces. It takes a lot of trial and error to find the right person(s) to make appointments, but when that individual or persons have been found, treat them like gold, because they will produce gold for you, your sales team and your company.
Here is a telemarketing program that I have set up for some of my consulting clients over the years. It has been successful for most, but has also failed when poor-quality salespeople made the presentations. Keep in mind, too, that the quality of the lead is a huge part of a successful program. The "offer" you are making to a sales prospect must be enticing enough for the company to open their doors for your salesperson to make a presentation to the decision-maker. Your telemarketer will be offering a $30 box of coffees and teas, just for permitting the representative to make the first pot of coffee for the office.
This program revolves around the potential client sampling your branded coffees, as well as your own private label blends. National brands are needed in order to open more doors by creating credibility with nationally recognized names. Here is what you need to do to get your salesperson in front of a prospect:
» Call a list broker to order addresses and phone numbers of businesses with 20 or more employees on site in the areas that you want to target. The more information you get about each company, the more expensive the lead will be. Keep it simple and a good telemarketer will find out who the decision maker is for you or your representative to speak to.
» Purchase a white box that will hold 25 fractional or 40 single-serve packs of coffee. Allow space for samples of branded teas, as well. The type of brewer the prospect has will determine which coffees and teas you will be supplying. The salesperson must have boxes for single-serve as well as batch brew, just in case the telemarketer or decision-maker mentioned the wrong style brewer on the phone. Having both sample boxes is also important, just in case the salesperson wants to show the prospect an alternative style brewer that may be more advantageous to the location's coffee break requirements.
» Choose four of your specialty branded coffees, such as Starbucks, Millstone, Green Mountain, Peet's, Timothy's, Gloria Jean's, Barney's or any other recognized blends, to be in the sample box, along with your own private label.
» Send in your top salesperson. There will be prospects who only want the free samples, and to send you on your way home. An experienced presenter will get the buyer's attention.
» The salesperson must make a pot of coffee in order to engage the buyer. This gets him or her into the break area to see what coffees, supplies and brewers the prospect is using, and who provides them.
» As part of the telemarketer's agreement with the person on the other end of the phone, it was agreed that the salesperson would be able to come back to ask which coffees the location's personnel like the most. To do that, the salesperson must make an appointment with the prospect to return on a specified date, before leaving the premises.
» Leave an easy-to-follow form describing all of the coffees and a rating system from one to five, with five being the highest score for the most-liked product. Leave a company brochure for them to look at, too.
You and your salespeople may encounter some hurdles, and should be familiar with methods for avoiding or overcoming them:
» The contact is not available, so try to reschedule! It's best for the telemarketer or the salesperson to call the contact on the day before the appointment to confirm it.
» The salesperson arrives and is told that the contact is not available, but is asked to "please just leave the sample box for our staff to try." Do not leave the box! Try to reschedule the appointment immediately, or have the telemarketer call the next day to try to reschedule.
» The contact person tells you that not much time is available to spend with you, and asks that you leave the samples, promising to call and tell you what they liked and did not like. Again, do not leave samples; instead, ask for another appointment. You could explain that you have something new to show them that they most likely have never seen before, to make their coffee break more enjoyable. This may get their attention, so they will want you to stay for the appointment. Now you had better show them something interesting and new, or you will be out of the offices in a heartbeat.
What results can you expect from this offer? In my experience, as I mentioned earlier, if you have high-quality leads and can get a seasoned, professional salesperson in front of the ultimate decision-maker, you can see a closing rate as high as 30% to 40 %. On the flip side, it can be disastrous if you have a weak and unprepared salesperson. Do not waste good leads on a poor sales representative.
Next month, I will recommend a brief telemarketing script for you to use in your solicitations on the phone. In the meantime, write you own and compare the two scripts.
If you have any question on this program, please call me at (516) 241-4883 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to wish all of my readers a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
LEN RASHKIN is a pioneer in office coffee service. He founded Coffee Sip in 1968 and later merged it with Dell Coffee. He also founded the Eastern Coffee Service Association and National Beverage & Products Association.