by Alicia Orr
No one likes to receive telemarketing sales calls. The calls are almost always intrusive, and even those of us "in the business" rarely say "yes" to what's offered through an unsolicited phone call. The catalog industry, however, is in a unique and powerful position—we represent companies on the receiving end of thousands of calls a day from customers who:
a) want to talk to us;
b) are in the market for what we sell; and
c) want to order our products now.
Consider the upsell tactics two catalogs recently tried on me when I called to place an order. One successfully pulled in extra dollars for the company, the other did not. But both calls were handled professionally, leaving no bad taste in my mouth and no fear of ordering from them again in the future.
When I called Children's Wear Digest (CWD) to order a skirt for my daughter, I was a new customer. The TSR efficiently took down all my information, accepted my order, and then asked, "Would you like to hear about some of our specials?" She instructed me to turn to the precise page in the catalog I was holding to view the items on sale. They were both really good deals, so I said "yes" to one but was unsure of the correct size to order. I asked for guidance, and the TSR helped me out. The whole experience was positive.
My other recent experience with a telemarketing upsell was with Pottery Barn Kids. After I placed an order for a shelf unit, I was asked if I wanted to hear about some of the catalog's specials. "Of course," I said. This time, however, after listening to a few items I decided I wasn't in the mood to buy and said, "Thanks, but no thanks." End of story—the TSR didn't try to keep the sales pitch going.