Over the past year, I, like many thousands of others, have received an increased volume of cold and follow-up telesales calls which isn’t surprising given the challenges businesses have faced in driving up sales.
Despite these calls being annoying, as a marketer, I am naturally curious to hear the different approaches each caller takes to try and entice me to convert from a cold call into a sale.
Recently I have become disappointed in the sheer laziness in many of the sales pitches being funnelled into my ears. The lack of creativity and the vagueness in product knowledge often leads to the call ending quickly, which is perfect for me but not for the person paying the call centre or sales desk bill.
In years gone by, telesales used to be a real art; marketers would harness the power of clever copywriting to create effective staged sales scripts. These scripts gave call operatives an engaging journey to share with the prospects they are calling, increasing the chances of a successful outcome.
Today, many firms using telesales as part of their overall sales approach think that scripting a call takes the spontaneity and energy away from the engagement, making calls ineffective, so scripts have been put to the side or reduced in scale in favour of an “open” approach. However, when you only have a few seconds to capture the attention of the person you are calling, relying on the ability of the operative to be spontaneous can be a perilous option.
Given the high volume of staff turnover many call centres and sales desks are experiencing, adopting a carefully developed script that is logical and orderly and includes a defined step-by-step sequence can be beneficial. It can reduce staff training time and significantly increase the success rate of telesales campaigns.
The benefits of a staged scripted call…
- It brings order to the sales journey leading to a well-defined outcome.
- It allows the call operative to be more efficient at securing a conversation.
- It ensures that your brand’s “tone of voice” remains constant.
- It saves time for both the call operative and the prospect.
- It enables operatives to sell effectively with minimal product or service knowledge
The script should include various outcomes (stages) to allow the call operative to react flexibly to questions raised by the prospect during the call. This approach is very much along the lines of the old choose-your-own-adventure stories, where decisions made by the reader progresses the narrative along different paths. In the case of a script, the response to decision points presented to the prospect determines the outcome of the call, e.g. progressing to a sale or sending the prospect some related sales material etc.
A well-rounded, staged, scripted call should…
- Be clear and concise.
- Be complete – a journey that doesn’t have an ending is best avoided. Each decision taken on the journey should lead to a defined outcome.
- Must have value – the call needs to offer the prospect something of worth; otherwise you are adding to the noise.
- Leave no gaps – ensure that nothing is missed, especially around technical aspects of the product or service.
- Inspire confidence – bring the prospect on board with your brand.
- Remove the competition – perfect your product or service comparison, so it epitomises all the benefits that your solution brings above others on the market
- Carry conviction – you are offering the very best solution.
The staged approach assists the call operative in making every call count and helps keep the pace and energy high as the operative guides the prospect through the decision tree in the script. The additional benefit of scripting is the ability for the operative to have instant access to salient sales points without having to make something up on the fly while hoping it is correct.
Staying On Track
Due to constant repetition and fatigue, an operative may think some parts of the script have become “old news” and will drop them from the conversation. I have seen many examples of this happening, and if left unchecked, it can quickly lead to the call campaign becoming ineffective. The script needs to be rehearsed until the operatives are word-perfect and fully understand the journey they are about to take with their prospects. Some leeway can be given to allow operatives to change phrases to match their natural speech tempo. However, care must be taken to rule out omissions of valuable selling points.
A scripted approach allows for measurement to be made of how effective the call has been by analysing the call outcomes throughout the journey. This provides valuable insight into operative and script performance, which can be used to fine-tune the campaign or even help develop a future call-based activity.
In summary, a well-prepared, well-learned and well-rehearsed staged telesales script will be more beneficial in gaining sales, capturing data and measuring success than allowing call operatives to call a prospect unprepared and uninformed.