In my article, 12 Tips For An Outbound Call Campaign To Get Big Results, you can build the foundation to run a sound outbound calling effort. Now you need to build an effective script that gets results. Like anything, a script follows a process. There are a number of different strategies you can find online and with the flavor-of-the-day guru, but the principles of human behavior don’t change.
- Opening the call must be fast and easy for the receiver and highly controlled for you to get to the meat of your call. Start by asking simple closed-ended questions (following a brief introduction) that you already know the answers to and you can steer them to what really matters in the call….them.
- People avoid insanity by employing coping mechanisms to reduce the noise that bombards them daily. Pull these triggers strategically in your controlled opening to satisfy their psyche. Because the customer wants to get rid of the unsolicited call as quickly as possible, you could ask a question in such a way that they get to deny you something early on. For example, you could say, “were you planning on getting us out to do your annual maintenance this week”? Their response satisfies their need to feel they are in control of the call, when in fact, you have developed the script to immediately cope with this response.
- If you are to earn the right to ask for your chosen call to action, you first need to be armed with information that resonates with your prospect. Ask highly targeted questions that qualify you as quickly as possible to help diagnose the solution to their needs. These are the same foundational questions you would ask if you were afforded an audience in a less intrusive manner, like a client visit to your sales floor or office. As a side effect, you demonstrate a duty of care that allows room for you to begin bonding with your prospect and showing your competence.
- Active listening is critical in every cold-calling effort. If you are just waiting until it’s your turn to talk, you’ve already lost. Salespeople (including outbound callers/CSRs) are trained listeners. Don’t forget this attribute while working a script on the phone.
- Start each call with the right intent. Prospects quickly see through a script that only has the seller’s objectives in mind. When you see an opportunity to not sell your prospect on your call to action, say so. This trustworthy maneuver sets you up for the long term and doesn’t alienate a potential future opportunity.
- Don’t start by talking about your offer. No one cares. No one cares. No one cares about you. Talk about what they care about. Them. Your call to action is a result of you finding an opportunity to improve their situation in some fashion.
Speak about what they care about to gain agreement.
That will only ever mean their needs, not yours.
- Be persistent, never pushy. Pushy never works. Pushy happens when you jump too quickly to your offer, without the necessary steps to capture the heart of the prospect first. You are allowed to be persistent when you have earned the right to offer a solution to a prospect’s needs based on the information you gathered while getting qualified to help them from your questions. Prospects that were coerced into action rarely act, and when they do, you have a greater chance of buyer’s remorse.
- Have one simple next step. Just like you wouldn’t go from holding hands to intercourse (as much as you may want to), you wouldn’t expect a prospect to jump into bed with you until you’ve kissed, hugged, and broken some bread together. A simple next step moves your prospect along without making it weird. The more complex and expensive the solution, the slower the process.
- Don’t ask, make a statement instead. When you’ve earned the right to propose the next step, don’t put it into the form of a question. Yes or no is always an easy out. Instead, state, why they take the next step using your prospects, own words that you unearthed with your tailored questions.
- It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. When leading a prospect to a call to action, giving multiple-choice options will more likely result in your prospect choosing the best option of those provided. A yes/no, something or nothing option will typically result in the prospect taking the path of least resistance for themselves.
- Don’t take the easy win laying down. When your prospect is too pliable or is agreeable early, play it safe and keep moving through your scripted questions. This reinforces the value of the next step and flushes out people who are being overly agreeable to get rid of you. Worst case you don’t activate the prospect, best case you expose a genuine felt need and help them improve their current situation. A positive side effect of running through a strong script completely is that you set up a better quality of interaction with your activated prospects.
You are not in the people business.
You are not in the sales business.
You aren’t selling your product or service.
You are in the solutions business.
A word of caution when making the decision to run a cold calling effort. Behavioral Scientists will tell you that the typical top-performing salesperson doesn’t have the disposition for making cold calls. The psychoanalytic tools we use at Selling Revolution tell us that those with a low learning mindset will fare better for longer terms on the phone given the repetitive nature of the task. Often, those people we hire to be gregarious and dynamic, often extroverted in our sales arenas have a high learning attribute, meaning they like variety and thinking on their toes.
The truth is, both personality types can do the job well, given the right tools, environment, and time to practice. However, you can predict your high learners will give you short-term commitments before they start getting twitchy. Low learners (not to be confused with low IQ) are your ‘Steady Eddies’. They will come in every day and smash out calls like an enthusiastic rookie.
If you plan to develop an ongoing cold calling campaign, you will want to find the right people for the job. Otherwise, you face alienating your top-performing salespeople. For high learners, infrequent and high energy will be your friend.