Telemarketing is not a job for the Average Joe. Calling strangers who are, at best, friendly but busy or, at worst, hostile, and trying to persuade them to invest in your product or service, is a task that takes most people way out of their comfort zone.

It takes a special combination of qualities to succeed in this field. We’ve all had a call from a poor soul who was simply not destined to be a telemarketer, yet decided to take the job anyway…you know the ones we’re talking about. Simply put, they’re really annoying.

Having the right staff is pivotal in the success of all businesses, and even more so in the field of telemarketing. For potential clients on the call list, telemarketers are encounters of the first kind: they represent your company, your image, your ethos, your quality, everything you stand for. They are your billboard and your jingle and your company mascot. First impressions count, so sell your product or service right…from the very beginning.

Which leaves owners and management teams of telemarketing companies asking:  what attributes should we be looking for when hiring telesales staff? And what kind of personality profiles should we steer clear of?

We’ve put together a list of qualities to consider when hiring telemarketing staff, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly…

The Good

A good telemarketer:

  • Is confident and gently persistent
  • Is professional at all times
  • Is a people person who generates a positive response
  • Is cheerful and good-natured, treating each call as though it’s the first one of the day
  • Is a good listener who can relate to their prospective client
  • Is persuasive and a good deal-closer
  • Is passionate about their job and loyal to the company they’re representing
  • Is polite, sincere and au fait with telephone etiquette
  • Is intelligent, intuitive and able to think on their feet
  • Is articulate and well-spoken with a pleasant tone and timbre to their voice
  • Has an engaging personality
  • Has a pleasant  tone of voice and speaks clearly
  • Has an excellent product knowledge and the ability to speak about the product with authority
  • Has thick skin, being able to handle rejection and occasional verbal abuse
  • Has a subtle approach and knows when it’s time to end the call
  • Sounds natural and well-prepared, but not as though they’re reading off a script.

The Bad

A bad telemarketer:

  • Is over-confident, pushy or overbearing
  • Is unconfident and gets embarrassed easily
  • Is not a people person
  • Is easily flustered
  • Is uninspired by their job and unexcited about what they’re selling
  • Has an unpleasant voice – too nasal, shrill or heavily accented
  • Has only vague knowledge of the product or service being marketed
  • Has a tendency to waffle or get off the point
  • Talks too quickly or mumbles
  • Makes the call sound scripted and impersonal
  • Can’t handle rejection or negative responses.

The Ugly

An ugly telemarketer:

  • Is cocky and flippant
  • Is disrespectful
  • Is impolite or interrupts constantly
  • Is offensive or derogatory
  • Is relentless and doesn’t know when it’s time to end the call
  • Has no telephone etiquette
  • Has poor product knowledge
  • Has obvious disregard for the company
  • Becomes aggressive when faced with rejection or negative responses.