Tools for a Highly Effective Telemarketing Script

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"Planned" or "canned?"


Those two words define the two fundamental types of marketing over the telephone. When speaking of planned telephone marketing it is called teleselling.


Telesales marketing is planned presentation. There is no script, only a conceptual plan for selling, usually big-ticket items. The teleseller usually is a highly motivated, highly skilled, experienced, talented salesperson. The revenue per transaction is substantial, and the teleseller is highly compensated.


When speaking of canned telephone marketing, it is called mass telemarketing. Presentation to the customer is completely scripted. Revenue per transaction is not substantial, nor is the compensation for the telemarketer. Successful telemarketing depends heavily on volume and is production driven.


There are six components to a telemarketing script:


• Introduction. There is one purpose to the introduction: Get to the appropriate decision maker and schedule a callback if that person is unavailable.


• Opening. This is the most crucial and challenging part of the script because the telemarketer has only two sentences to hook the customer and, as per Federal Trade Commission rules, get permission to continue the presentation. When asking permission to continue, bury the question, "With your permission, I would like to tell you about the coverage and how it works." If you ask a question to which the customer can answer "yes" or "no," you are much more likely to hear "no."


• Presentation. This is where you ring the dinner bell, calling the customer to the telemarketing table so you can fill his ear with the product basis, features and benefits. But don't give away everything just yet.


• Close. Most telemarketing scripts make use of a "no-risk" offer to close a sale. The closing question defines the success of the script. It must be assumptive and contain an immediate action step, such as, "All we need to do to get you started is to confirm some information, OK?" Avoid a yes or no question like,"Would you like to buy this product?"


There's potent psychology at work here. Experience shows that you should not expect a customer to say yes immediately. Prospects are awash daily and nightly in telephone offers.


There's potent psychology at work here. Experience shows you should not expect a customer to say yes immediately. Prospects are awash daily and nightly in telephone offers. They simply have trained themselves to say "no" the moment they realize a telemarketer is calling. (Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?)


However, a wise sales trainer once observed that very few people have a degree from "prospect school." This means simply that rare is the prospect who has more than one firm "no" deep down inside. So plan for that "no" in the presentation. It is called the "wave of resistance."


To borrow some imagery from the fine sport of surfing, it's better to ride the wave rather than drown underneath it as it comes crashing down. "Now, with your permission, we'd like to explain where the sale actually occurs, OK?"


• Second effort. Here, you use two nifty techniques. First, make a statement that gives the customer permission to say no: "We understand this service/product isn't for everybody."


This invariably lowers the prospect's sales shield and makes the second nifty technique extra-nifty. It's called an expectancy statement and alerts the customer that you will now tell him about the most important feature of the product.


The expectancy or listen-up statement should be phrased along the following lines: "Our customers tell us this is what they like most about the service/product."


You then follow up by repeating the "no-risk" aspect of the offer and close the sale with the nuclear-powered nifty question: "Is that fair enough?" It is extremely difficult for a prospect to say no to this question when it is a fair question. And, by giving him permission to say no at the beginning of the second effort, you create the opposite effect. The customer says "yes."


• Upsell. You cannot, should not and will not ignore the opportunity to sell more to a customer who has said yes. Have you ever noticed, by way of example, that after you buy a car, that's when you buy more; more features, and extended warranty or anti-rust coating? That's because you've lowered your sales shield. The upsell is an opportunity for windfall revenue and cannot, should not and will not be ignored. "Is that fair enough?"


A carefully worded and designed telemarketing script is critical to the success of any program. The challenge is to write in an easygoing, conversational manner.


Daniel Berman is president of TBC Consulting Group, Atlanta, a consulting firm that performs Web-based quality-assurance, scripting and telemanagement services.
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