Telesales executives work in telephone call centers as part of a company’s sales organization. They sell products and services to customers and support the field sales team by arranging appointments or generating leads. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 258,060 people worked in this profession in May 2011, with the largest concentration of jobs in business support services.
People working in telesales generally have a high school diploma, according to O*Net Online. Those with previous experience in sales or customer service roles can bring relevant skills to the job. Companies with call centers provide new recruits with training on the job, which covers induction training, product knowledge and customer service skills.
Telesales executives call prospects to sell products and services. They have access to a database that provides contact details of existing customers and new prospects and information on the type of product to offer each prospect. During the call, they use scripts to guide their product presentation or respond to objections that prospects might raise. The scripts also include prompts to encourage the executives to offer additional products and services before they close the call. If the customer places an order, the executive records the details and processes any debit or credit card payments.
Telesales executives must have good interpersonal skills to build relationships with customers and prospects. The training consultancy Impact Learning Systems notes that telesales professionals who use calls to understand customers’ needs are more likely to build repeat business than those who use high-pressure sales tactics.
Qualifying prospects for the field sales force is an important role for telesales executives. They contact customers and prospects who have responded to an advertisement or registered their details on the company’s website. They ask the prospects about their interest in the company’s products and their purchasing intentions. They pass information to sales representatives on the prospects most likely to buy.
Pay and Outlook
The median hourly wage for telemarketers was $12.46 in May 2011, with a median annual wage of $25,920. The top earners worked in the mineral and metal sectors, with a median annual wage of $45,940, followed by telemarketers in information services who earned $42,680, according to the BLS. Employment in this profession is expected to grow by less than 10 percent from through 2020, slower than the average for all occupations in the United States, according to O*Net Online.