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There’s a misconception that anyone with an outgoing personality and great voice can be an effective telemarketing representative. The truth is that while those characteristics are important, even more important is the ability for effective listening to improve telemarketing results.

A great illustration for how listening is critical to successful lead generation was a recent dinner party in which an entire room full of people was gravitating away from a single person. (And no, it wasn’t me.) This person had the perfect voice for radio and was certainly outgoing, but wouldn’t have lasted a minute on the phone with a potential prospect. They were simply too overbearing and choose to share everything they knew about every topic of conversation that came up without allowing their audience to participate in the conversation.

Likewise, telemarketing and lead generation are more about listening than telling. On the phone or even in person, you need to be able to talk and share ideas, but learning about your target prospects requires asking the right questions and listening for cues that will signal their relevant business challenges and readiness to purchase. And while a script can help you start these conversations, knowing when to ask the right question requires an awareness of your subject and audience that cannot be predetermined.