Telesales are sales made with an initial contact over the telephone. The entire transaction may take place over the phone or the phone call may be used to set up an appointment for a web conference or in-person appointment with a sales representative. This sales practice dates to the middle of the 20th century and is also known as telemarketing or telephone sales. Regulations surrounding telesales vary around the world and, in some regions, are very strict in response to consumer lobbyists who argue that it is an irritating and disruptive sales technique.
Sales people involved in telephone sales can make business-to-business sales or business-to-consumer sales. Many telesales companies use automated dialing systems to streamline the process of making contact with customers. Marketing personnel follow a script with each call in an attempt to hook consumer interest and rebut common arguments. In some facilities, recorded messages may be used to make the initial contact, allowing customers to select an option to speak with a sales person and limiting the time spent talking to customers who have no intention of buying.
As with other types of sales, telesales involves generating leads for new customers, interacting with prior customers, answering requests for information, and making actual sales. Sales people have to be dynamic and creative, capable of drawing consumers into the call and keeping them on the phone while maintaining interest. The work can be monotonous, as telesales involves making hundreds of calls a day and many companies reward their employees for the most numbers of successful contacts, providing an incentive to make deals quickly and move on to the next customer.
Turnover is often high in telesales. New employees are constantly being brought on while employees quit. Training is usually brief, so the company does not invest excessively in each of their sales people. Room for advancement may be limited, as relatively few supervisors are needed to handle the sales floor. Pay varies and tends to be kept relatively low as a result of turnover and competition for sales positions.
As telesales became more efficient and companies began using overseas companies to handle their sales calls, allowing them to operate at all hours, consumer protest against this marketing practice mounted. A number of nations put regulations in place to limit the times of day for sales calls, established do not call lists for consumers who never want to be contacted over the phone with sales calls, and put other regulations in place to reduce consumer annoyance.