What Is Telemarketing and How Does It Work? (With Tips)

Updated January 26, 2023

Telemarketing can be a great way for a company to increase its sales and customer base. Most telemarketing involves contacting potential customers. Learning about the qualifications, salary and typical skill set of telemarketers can help you decide whether you want to pursue this career. In this article, we answer "What is telemarketing?", discuss telemarketing qualifications and required skills, highlight their average salary, discuss the typical telemarketer work environment and offer tips for being an effective telemarketer.

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What is telemarketing?

Telemarketing is directly marketing products and services to potential clients through phone or email. In the past, telemarketing entailed companies making phone calls to current or potential consumers, but this field has since expanded to include video conferencing conversations with clients. While telemarketing is frequently used to sell a product or service, it can also help a company conduct surveys or gather information. Political campaigns, for example, often rely extensively on telemarketing before elections to learn about voters' preferences.

Related: What Is Inside Sales? (With Strategies for Success)

Telemarketer requirements

Obtaining a position as a telemarketer may involve meeting the following requirements:


The educational requirements for telemarketing can depend on the company. Generally, telemarketers are required to have a high school diploma or a general education development (GED) certificate. Some firms, however, exclusively recruit candidates with a bachelor's degree. Working as a telemarketer can require paying close attention to customers and talking persuasively, so you may benefit from studying topics that improve your communication or public speaking skills. Various business classes can also help improve your ability to convince customers to buy products.

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You can attend business, sales and communications training courses to prepare for a career in telemarketing. You can also seek certifications that improve your expertise as a telemarketer. Some companies provide structured training programs in which senior telemarketers teach new employees a variety of sales techniques.

Related: What Are Courses for Sales and Marketing? (Plus Tips)


You can also earn a certification to show current and potential employers your qualifications. The following are some of the most common certifications in this field:

  • Certified Sales Leadership Professional: The CSLP certification is for salespeople of all experience levels and emphasizes exceptional performance in sales and providing valuable presentations. The Canadian College for Leadership and Management offers this general sales professional certification, which teaches candidates how to improve their sales skills by using body language, bargaining effectively and understanding the fundamentals of proposals and negotiations.

  • Certified Sales Associate: The CSA certificate, issued by the Canadian Professional Sales Association, is an excellent entry-level sales qualification. The CSA certification is usually for salespeople who have worked for at least six months in a sales role that involves directly interacting with clients.

  • Certified Sales Professional: The CSP certificate enables senior-level sales professionals to demonstrate their expertise and commitment to sales. It's also important to have a college degree, 35 hours of authorized pre-requisite courses and four years of experience managing client accounts to become a CSP.

Average salary of telemarketers

The national average salary of a telemarketer is $51,130 per year. This can vary by location and experience level. Experienced telemarketers who successfully sell high-priced merchandise can expect to earn more than some of their other colleagues. Telemarketers sometimes receive performance-based commission payments, either as a percentage of the sale or a flat fee.

Skills required for telemarketing

If you want to work in telemarketing, it's important to know how to interact comfortably with customers over the phone and how to use intermediate computer skills to organize and deliver information to prospective clients. Here are some other skills that can help you be a successful telemarketer:


It's vital for telemarketers to possess good communication abilities. Experienced telemarketers can start and continue meaningful discussions with strangers. They can also assess a customer's pitch and tone of voice to adjust their own speaking style and establish rapport. It's important to communicate in language the customer understands and to explain complex ideas in simple terms. Apart from communicating plainly, it's important for telemarketers to listen attentively and be patient enough to understand clients' issues. This may enable them to deliver more customized experiences, resulting in increased client satisfaction.

Related: Top 10 Skills of a Marketing Manager

Interpersonal skills

Telemarketing professionals typically require interpersonal skills to be effective. To complete a sale over the phone, it's important to establish rapport with the other individual using verbal techniques. You may use empathy, patience and persuasion to create and convert leads, and persuade existing consumers to become repeat purchasers. Emotional intelligence, active listening and conflict resolution are equally critical capabilities for telemarketers.

Related: What Is Interpersonal Communication and How Can You Use It in the Workplace

Sales experience

It's important for telemarketers to have sales expertise. Employers typically seek telemarketers that can exceed sales goals over the phone, set up appointments and follow leads. It's vital to understand how to explain the products or services using example scripts while also using sales techniques to convince customers to buy more of them. Telemarketers may also have strong negotiation abilities to resolve client issues or concerns.

Related: How to Get into Sales in 5 Steps (With Tips and FAQs)

Computer systems and phone knowledge

It's vital for telemarketers to have some technical knowledge about phone and computer systems, as the role typically involves using both daily. Their employer may set up training to help them develop this skill. Telemarketers may also require knowledge of customer relations software and other computer programs needed for their duties.


As a telemarketer, it's critical to remain polite and patient, especially when speaking with potentially dissatisfied customers. Being able to maintain a calm disposition in such situations is an important ability for telemarketers. Some prospective clients may seem less interested in the product or service you're selling, so it's important to know how to handle such situations patiently and respectfully.

Related: How to Stay Calm Under Pressure (12 Steps to Follow)

Telemarketer work environment

Telemarketers usually work in a call centre or from a home office. They typically work in teams in a dedicated phone room. Depending on where their customers live, telemarketers may work during the day or night. The role is often sedentary, especially when you're exclusively making phone calls. Some companies prefer for telemarketers to work out of their homes to avoid background noise.

Tips for working as a telemarketer

Here are some tips for working effectively as a telemarketer:

Know your clients by their names

Before you call a prospective client, try to ensure you can correctly pronounce their name. If you're unsure, you can consult a colleague or supervisor, or conduct an internet search for the right pronunciation. Pronouncing a prospective client's name correctly can show respect for them and may help keep their attention.

Maintain a positive attitude

Try to start each workday positively. Your positive attitude can have a substantial impact on the outcome of your interactions with prospective clients. Even if you encounter a less satisfied customer, maintaining a positive outlook and tone of voice can help demonstrate your concern for their issue and lead them to be more responsive.

Related: A Guide to Marketing as a Career

Use a script

It's essential to remember and comprehend the major topics in the script given by your company. You can familiarize yourself with it until you can repeat the entire script with only rare references to the text. You may also personalize the script by altering some sections to reflect your personality while adhering to any language requirements your firm may have for describing products or services.

Practise client interactions

Whether you're new to the job or have been there for a long time, you may practise reading your script or making simulated phone calls periodically. You can also practise calls with a family member or acquaintance who may assist you in relaxing and speaking more confidently. You may focus on your own tone and vocal intensity during these exercises, and adjust accordingly in conversations with prospective clients.

Stay focused

It's important to start your calls energetically while also staying on script. Calls that begin with a high-energy speech may initially capture the client's attention, but it's important to maintain a balance of speaking passionately and conveying the script's information accurately. Skilled telemarketers can generate excitement about products or services without improvising excessively or excluding any scripted details. It's critical to convey confidence in the subject through both your speaking style and your knowledge of the product or service.

Interpret feedback

You can note any patterns you find in the inquiries and concerns of prospective customers. Sharing this information with your telemarketing peers or supervisor can allow you to collaborate on an appropriate solution for future calls. You can practise calls with family or friends and ask for their sincere feedback.

Related: The Benefits of Asking for Feedback at Work (Plus How-to)

Now that we've answered the question "What is telemarketing?" you are in a better position to determine if this career path may be for you.

Please note that none of the organizations, institutions or companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organization‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌


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