Telemarketing (sometimes known as inside sales, or telesales) is a method of direct marketing in which a salesperson solicits prospective customers to buy products or services, either over the phone or through a subsequent face to face or Web conferencing appointment scheduled during the call.

An effective telemarketing process often involves two or more calls. The first call (or series of calls) determines the customer’s needs. The final call (or series of calls) motivates the customer to make a purchase. Prospective customers are identified by various means, including past purchase history, previous requests for information, credit limit, competition entry forms, and application forms. Names may also be purchased from another company’s consumer database or obtained from a telephone directory or another public list. The qualification process is intended to determine which customers are most likely to purchase the product or service.

Overwhelmingly, many deals are lost after the first call that a sales rep has with a prospect. The leads may be well qualified and ready to be taken down the path to close, but what transpires during that initial call determines whether a sale will close.

As in many situations in life, first impressions matter a great deal. That’s why it’s so important to structure your calls to establish rapport and drive toward a sense of trust and camaraderie with your prospects.

Ensuring that an intro call goes well and kick-starts the selling process isn’t just the responsibility of the sales rep. A teleprospecting rep can do much to increase the odds that leads convert to forecast at the highest possible rates.

Remember: if that initial call is a flop, then nobody has done their job. It’s a team effort, and if a lead doesn’t get to the next step… nobody wins.

Follow these three very simple tips to help ensure that your sales reps succeed on the first call.