How to convey empathy, honesty and enthusiasm over the phone.
The Art of Using Sales Scripts
If you’ve had sales agents calling your phone trying to introduce you to a product or service, you have likely been on the receiving end of a cold call. Sometimes you can tell the caller is using a script, other times you can’t…
For your business’ cold calling strategy, you need to place yourself at the receiving end of a cold call and consider how your customers might respond to a script. You should also think about how your call centre agents might engage differently with or without a script.
To script or not to script?
Your choice can affect the success of your cold calling campaigns. So, before deciding which path you want to take, ponder these pros and cons of scripting.
The Benefits of Using A Script
According to APNews, 53% of sales agents “give up too easily when cold calling”, while 48% are fearful of picking up the telephone. It’s not easy to get started with cold calling, nor is it a walk in the park to convince a stranger to listen to what you have to say. This causes mental strain and anxiety in many agents. It’s also one of the reasons businesses shy away from cold calls.
Having a script can boost the call agent’s confidence by giving them a safety net during the conversation. Learning the script can also make them feel like they are ready and capable of interacting with prospects.
Professional & prepared tone
Knowing what they’re going to say, and when, can make your agents sound more professional.
Customers like to speak to somebody who is prepared, and knows what they’re talking about. Not only does this make the speaker come across competent, it enhances the lead’s view of the brand and its products/services.
Ready for objections
Customers tend to have a bulk of reasons why they can’t make a purchase. Having answers prepped for possible issues or complaints that may come up can reaffirm customer’s spending anxiety and assure them that they are making a good purchase.
It can also help your agents relax as they will know how to respond, which improves the dynamic of the call.
Following on from the positive dynamic that scripting can develop between the sales agent and the prospective buyer is an increase in productivity.
Having a script gives agents a clear understanding of what they seek to achieve with the call. It could be a sale, a referral or booking a meeting. Either way, the script helps them keep their goals in mind and work towards them, ensuring results.
The bonus here is that clear goals in your script help measure productivity more effectively. Like using a to-do list, agents can clearly see if they have met the required achievements. Plus, you can analyse the effectiveness of your strategy.
These benefits of scripting create a cycle that can benefit your cold calling strategy significantly. Using a script leads to less anxious and more confident employees. Their relaxed attitude reflects in their delivery, transforming their dynamics with customers. In turn, this impacts productivity and the bottom line through conversions, subscriptions, etc.
But, the benefits do have opposing downsides...
Why You May Not Want to Use A Script
Although the script can benefit and support agents, it can also make them feel undermined and undervalued. This is especially true for experienced sales professionals. A script can make them feel stifled.
Agents might perceive scripted calls as a lack of confidence in their skills, which may demotivate them from doing their best.
The result of unhappy workers? Unambitious and minimal input in their work, which leaves customers uninspired to engage with your business.
Boring and dull interactions aren’t the only blow to your caller-receiver dynamic. Leads can also find scripted and planned conversation robotic and boring.
It’s the age-old reason why not all people can be actors… As soon as there’s a script involved, many people abandon their natural, conversational voices for rigid and robotic tones. This alienates customers and has them thinking, “Oh no! Not another salesperson!”
Consequently, scripting can feel impersonal for both the agent and the potential client. This leaves them both dissatisfied. With 80% of customers citing personalised experiences as one of the reasons they buy from a brand, this affects your bottom line.
Struggling To Decide?
Scripting can either go quite badly or exceptionally well. This makes settling on what’s best a challenge for businesses. The wonderful part is that you might not have to choose. There are two options you can consider.
1. A script “funnel”
You can use scripts as a mechanism to train and introduce junior agents to cold calling. These can be full-length, step-by-step scripts that have tips on how to best execute a cold call.
As employees become more experienced they can become less dependent on the script, having benefited in confidence and preparedness.
Essentially, you funnel them off-script as they improve. You can also encourage rephrasing of the script by each user to better fit their talking style.
Make scripts available to all workers to refresh their goals and to ensure they meet their results.
2. Develop a script template
Instead of creating a full-length, step-by-step script for salespeople, provide them with a template to follow. A template has all the benefits of a script and none of the downsides. With a template, you can include the key steps and goals to ensure productivity and adequately prepare workers.
The template also provides all the structure of a script without making the conversation feel restrained as the seller can adjust it to fit the flow of the conversation and the customer. This also prevents the robotic reading of the script and promotes natural, personal dialogue instead.
A few quick tips for creating a template:
- Allow for authentic greeting and initial rapport
- Have a set list of questions (include specific and open-ended questions)
- Include clear indicators for sellers to listen to the customer
- Define goals for the agent (you can link them to the questions you’ve chosen above)
- Pre-empt objections and include possible answers for them
Cold calling is no easy feat. To truly benefit from all the potential cold calling has for your sales efforts, you need to establish a decisive cold calling strategy. To do so, you must think about what you want your prospects to feel by the end of a call. You also need to consider how you can make it easier for your employees to pluck up the courage to pick up the phone.
As you’ve seen, there are pros and cons to using a sales script. So, it may require some experimentation and an open mind to find what works for your brand, its customers and your sales team.
And if you cannot decide whether “to script or not to script?”
Well, remember that sneaky loophole you have in your back pocket… a guiding template. Also, consider using a dedicated sales cold calling solution to support your goals and enhance your agents’ effectiveness.
By using the right cold calling solution, whether you decide to use a script or not, your agents can still be: Prepared, Professional, Personal & Productive.
Everyone tried this: even your best sales lead generation efforts are falling flat, and you are about to give up. But failure is success in progress.