If you’re looking for an entry-level at-home position, work-from-home sales jobs – also known as telemarketing – could be a great fit. With more and more companies changing their call centers to being remotely staffed, more at-home telemarketing jobs are opening.
A good telemarketer is valuable to companies because they have the potential to generate leads and increase revenue. Telemarketers really do play an important part in the business cycle.
But, if you aren’t prepared for the role of a telemarketer, you might wind up burnt-out and discouraged. It can be hard, especially if it’s hard to detach from the difficult conversations. The ability to roll with the punches and remember that the people you’re talking to aren’t mad at you personally will make a huge difference in your mental outlook about your job.
Telemarketing is not a role that’s right for everyone. It involves spending much of your day on the phone, talking to strangers. If you are someone who avoids the phone like it’s the plague, you might want to look for a different position. However, it is a good opportunity with much potential for those who are up to the challenge. Here are some essential things to know about finding and landing your first sales job from home.
What Exactly Is Telemarketing?
It’s hard to succeed in any job if you don’t understand the role you play in the big picture. When you see the purpose of your position, it’s easier to get through the hard calls. You are making a difference to the company.
According to Merriam-Webster, telemarketing is, “the marketing of goods or services by telephone.” Telemarketers use the phone to reach out to potential customers. Often these calls are unsolicited, but some companies have a list of leads for you to call. You’ll have to ask your employer what sort of calls you will make, as this affects how you approach the call.
People have mixed feelings about telemarketing. There are all kinds of horror stories about insults being hurled and phones being slammed down. And while that does happen from time to time, it’s not all bad. In fact, you’ll also land sales… and that is a GREAT feeling.
The truth is, telemarketing works. Research has shown that there is value to a company in marketing via telephone. People do respond positively. So when you face a hard call, or have something unpleasant happen, remind yourself that what you’re doing is valuable.
And then put a smile on and make the next call. You can do it!
How Flexible Are the Hours for an At-Home Telemarketer?
As an at-home telemarketer, you will almost certainly be working set hours. At the very least, you will be limited to working during normal waking hours. This isn’t a position for those looking for overnight work. You can’t make calls during the dead of night.
The company for which you work will likely have guidelines and expectations to help you know how to best use your time. It is imperative that you have a distraction-free workplace. To maintain the professionality of every single call, you cannot have anyone enter your space while you’re working. Most hiring companies have very strict rules in place for what you home office setup needs to include. A door that can shut and a telephone line that no one else will be using are often both on that list.
What Skills Does a Telemarketer Need?
As a telemarketer, it’s essential that you have fabulous communication skills. You will be talking to people throughout your shift. Being able to establish rapport with people quickly is important.
Sales skills are also necessary. After all, you aren’t just calling random people to find out how they’re doing and shoot the breeze for a while. There is a purpose to your call and you must stay focused. Many companies require one year of sales experience before hiring. If you’ve ever worked in a retail environment, or for a commission in any industry, you probably have more sales experience than you think.
To meet your quota, you must be organized. You must begin each day with a plan and be able to follow your plan. This may mean keeping track of calls, customer information, and more. Some companies have their own software you will use, and others rely on spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel. No matter which system you are using, you must accurately and reliably document the contact information for the leads you generate.
Finally, companies want to hire people who are self-motivated. As a remote employee, you will not have a boss standing over your shoulder ensuring you get your work done. You will be responsible for your own traction and progress. You need to be able to focus on your work when it’s time and stay on track throughout your entire shift.
Read through the job description carefully to pick up what skills are most important to the hiring company. Make sure your resume reflects those skills and shows why you are a great fit.
What Equipment do you Need?
As with any stay-at-home job, requirements will vary from company to company. Some companies may require a dedicated landline while others will route calls through your computer. At the very least, however, you will likely need a quality, noise-canceling headset. As a work-at-home rep, it's good practice to keep a USB headset on hand as well as one that connects to your home phone. This way, you are prepared should your dream phone job pop up. No waiting on a new headset to be delivered!
Who Hires for Work From Home Sales Jobs?
There are several legit companies in this industry to consider applying to:
- NexRep currently has an inbound sales position open with great pay potential. You could earn up to $25 per hour. Get the details here.
- Extended Presence is looking for senior sales professionals with technology experience.
- Flashblanc offers credit card services to businesses. This position does require onsite visits with business owners. It doesn't appear to be done entirely from home.
- Cruise.com requires at least two years of recent cruise sales work experience, preferably in a call center environment, selling all of the major cruise lines. These positions offer base pay plus a tiered incentive plan.
- Windy City Call Center hires at-home agents to make outbound calls on their clients' behalf to qualify the inquiries they receive from any number of sources. Agents verify these leads and transfer the interested prospects to their call centers.
- Liveops, at the time of writing this post, had openings for inbound sales and insurance sales.
Telemarketing Scams to Avoid
Telemarketing is an industry full of scammers, unfortunately. You must be on the lookout for red flags throughout your application process.
Never, ever pay a company for the right to apply. An exception to this rule would be paying for a background check. But if they are asking you to pay for a “system” or keeping the job details secretive until you have given them money, it’s probably a scam.
Most legitimate companies offer paid training. If yours wants you to jump through learning hoops for free, you might have found a potential scam. After all, you want to work for a company that values you and your time, not one that expects you to give everything.
You need to take care that you are not applying to work in a phone scam operation. If you aren’t comfortable with what information you are trying to collect, or what you are selling, it’s not going to be a good fit for you. A legitimate company will follow the rules and will ensure that you do too.
Read the job notice carefully and look for signs of a scam. The company’s name should be listed, and the email address should match the format you can find on the company website.
If you don’t know that the company is real, don’t send them any of your personal information. Think about everything that you have on your resume: your phone number, email address, home address, full name, and tons of personal details about your life. Be careful with that information and do your best to keep it out of the hands of people who want to use it for illegitimate purposes.
Finally, remember that if a job seems too good to be true, it probably is. Jobs that offer pay way above the average are a red flag. Most at home telemarketing positions will start off at, or slightly above, minimum wage. There’s potential to earn more, but that’s typically the starting point, especially during the training period.
Not every telemarketing job is a scam. To find legitimate opportunities, use a verified job board such as FlexJobs. You can also look directly on companies’ websites if you know they have a telemarketing presence. Often jobs will be listed on the “Human Resources” page.
How to Use Telemarketing to Build Your Skills
You don’t have to stay in telemarketing forever. But, while you are there, you have the perfect opportunity to build some of your skills and prepare you for the next position.
Within your company, there may even be potential to move up. Often telemarketers start out by making cold calls. But, they can move into positions where they talk to qualified leads instead. Or become account managers or trainers. There are often several possibilities for promotion.
You can also focus on self-improvement. Work on writing the best sales pitch that you can and learning from your mistakes. Experiment with new ways to build rapport over the phone. Remember that you are gaining valuable customer service, sales, and communication skills with every phone call you make.
If you have your eyes set on a higher paying job that required experience first, think carefully about what areas you need to improve on. Have those in mind as you do your best as a telemarketer.
Ultimately there is one major factor that will determine your success as a telemarketer: your attitude. The way you approach the job is an essential part of thriving in your new role and turning it into something builds your career instead of something that causes problems for you in the future.