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Telemarketer Career Guide

As a telemarketer, you are responsible for making phone calls to potential customers, often referred to as cold calling. Your goal is to persuade the customer to buy or donate whatever it is you are selling to be able to meet your sales quota. In order to be successful at this job, you must be persistent, detail-oriented, organized, tech-savvy, and have good phone etiquette. 

Telemarketers must be able to answer the customer’s questions or concerns, so it is important that you are educated on what it is you are selling. Aside from product knowledge, an understanding of sales psychology will be very beneficial. Cold calling is one of the most difficult types of sales to make, but the principles and skills that you learn to become successful in telemarketing will serve you in every single future profession that you will pursue. Since it is so difficult, it is also one of the most rewarding types of sales when mastered. Are you confident with excellent communication skills? Do you enjoy talking to people? If so then becoming a telemarketer may be right for you. 

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is seeking an excellent listener and outgoing telemarketer who enjoys talking to people. You will be required to study scripts so that you can best help the customers and fulfill your sales goals. It is crucial that you have a positive attitude as rejection is a daily occurrence when cold calling. Although difficult, if you can learn to not take rejection personally and instead learn from it to improve, then your progress will be fast-tracked, and you will quickly reach sales goals. We will provide all necessary training to ensure that you have the required tools necessary to be as successful as possible. Good customer relationship management skills and persistence are key to being successful as a telemarketer. An organized follow-up system will be crucial as well, as sometimes sales opportunities will not be closed on the first call and will require you to reach back out for a follow-up call. You need to be quick on your feet to respond appropriately to customers on the phone as you make your outbound calls. If you have an ambitious, positive, can-do attitude, outgoing spirit, and enjoy helping others, then this can be a fulfilling job for you.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Accepting payment information from customers
  • Explain products or services and prices to the customer
  • Cold call potential customers 
  • Track your contact list provided by the company 
  • Persuade the customers to donate to a cause or buy the product being pitched
  • Stay on top of your pipeline and follow up with customers
  • Keep track of the customers who no longer want to be contacted
  • Memorize scripts provided by the company 
  • Study the product or charity you are selling 
  • Understand the customers’ needs 
  • Meet your sales goals 

Education and experience

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Experience in sales, customer service, or a related field

Required skills and qualifications

  • Friendly, outgoing personality
  • Ability to make friends easily
  • Ability to deal with rejection
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Computer and data entry skills
  • High level of personal accountability
  • Well organized
  • Dependable transportation and punctual attendance

Preferred qualifications

  • A year or more of experience as a telemarketer, retail sales, or other customer service jobs
  • Bilingual 

Typical work environment

Telemarketers work in office settings where everyone has their own desk or cubicle with a computer and a phone. Often, your cubicle or desk will be close to your group or team. This job is considered to be a fairly sedentary job. With some exceptions, companies may allow you to work from home with a good internet connection. 

Typical hours

Telemarketers work regular business hours averaging 40 hours a week. They work Monday through Friday with shifts from 8 AM to 5 PM. You need to have the ability to work under pressure as you are required to meet certain sales goals. 

Available certifications

There are many certifications available for a telemarketer. Here are a few to check out:

  • Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP). If you happen to be struggling with sales, this certificate can help you correct current incompetencies and give you the confidence and the inspiration needed to succeed. 
  • Customer Relationship Management Certification. This certification offered by HubSpot can increase your knowledge of customer relationship management, which is extremely important for your pipeline in sales. 

Career path

In order to become a telemarketer, you need a high school diploma or equivalent. Although you don’t need a degree, some go on to get a degree related to sales, such as a bachelor’s degree in business. Many companies will offer on-the-job training, and since it is an entry-level job, any experience related to sales is sufficient. Skills such as listening, good communication, customer management, time management, organization, and persistence can lead to greater success in this field. 

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 41-9041

2020 Employment985,200
Projected Employment in 20301,000,082
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 10% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift97,000 increase

Telemarketing positions are a valuable career option for those looking to progress in sales or sales management. Many sales experts get their “start” in cold calling or door-to-door sales. Although these are the toughest types of sales, they cause employees to hone their skills and perfect the sales process in order to reach success. This often fast tracks sales reps to a higher level of sales expertise than starting in a warm lead type of position. 

Some telemarketing careers also lead to the marketing realm. As sales psychology is learned and understood, then the understanding of how to influence people is also increased, which bleeds over into marketing, advertising, management, and many other career paths.