To Script or Not to Script – Part III- The Solution

If you have been following the thread, the question is whether a tele-sales should ‘script’ a call or not.  One article argued the ‘pros’ of scripting and other argued the ‘cons.’  Okay, then, what’s the solution?

It’s simple. Create a hybrid. Take the best of both worlds. Combine the good of a script and toss out the bad.The trick is to use “scripts’ in certain key parts of the call.

Opening Statements

The opening statement should be scripted. Think about it: your reps are making sixty cold calls per day to the same target market. This part of the call should never have to change because your initial message should be the same from call to call. Scripting the opening statement creates a call standard.  It creates a consistent message that can be coached and supported by you. Best of all, if your reps are using the same opener you can start to test variations and figure out what works best in garnering the client’s attention.

Questioning?

Questioning, on the other hand, is something that cannot be scripted. Oh sure, you can have a list of questions that should be asked but once questioning begins the client can take you all over the map. Your rep needs the flexibility to move where the conversation goes. He needs to “think out of the box.” Don’t script questioning.

Exceptions to the Rule:  Like in grammar, there are always exceptions. If you have certain qualifying questions, script them.  This ensures you are asking the right questions.

Voice Mail

Voice mails can and should be scripted.

There are a couple of reasons. First, a well crafted voice mail leaves a positive impression with a prospect. Babbling about like a brook does not.  Second, scripting a voice mail allow you to test variations.  Some voice mail messages will out pull others.

Offers/Presentations

If you are using offers as part of the selling process, they can and should be scripted. The offer typically doesn’t change so why change the words? If you allow too much flexibility and free form at this stage you’ll discover that sometimes your reps are eloquent and sometimes they sound like the village idiot. Don’t risk it. The offer is the ultimate hook. Make it a standard, coach to it and watch it work. Or test it. Get half your sales team to present the offer in one manner and get the other half to present the offer in another.

When providing a solution in a complex sale, your rep will likely need to have the flexibility of  tailoring the message to a particular client. This is hard to script.  A call guide can be used to craft a message that provides the client with key features supported by clear explanations and topped off with a benefit or two.

To create your call guide, use bullet points on a sheet of paper to list the features, explanations and benefits. This creates a consistency in your message but allow a degree of flexibility so that the words do not sound ‘read’ and so that the rep can inject a degree of personality.

Objections?

Objections are a more troublesome. The problem is smokescreens: i.e., false objections. For instance, you can have all the right words and phrases to deal with a price objection but if that’s just an excuse to get rid of the rep, then a script doesn’t help, it hinders. Instead, you can develop a ‘call guide” for handling objections. A call guide is a process for a given situation. For example, you could teach your reps a 4 steps process to handling an objection (emphasize, verify/isolate, respond and confirm) which would give you structure of a script but the flexibility of free form.

Closing

Script the close. You can have 10 different scripted closing lines if you want but you must ensure that the sales rep uses ONE of them.  If you do that, you increase the chances that the sale will close. Why? Because a scripted close or two can be memorized, mastered and delivered flawlessly. The rep is less likely to waffle when it is time to close; less likely to forget.

Summary

The fact of the matter is this: most B to B tele-sales departments typically don’t use scripting in the management of their calls. They give their reps license to do as they please because of the negative perceptions about scripts. Rest assured, sales and opportunities are being lost because a modicum of structure is not being applied. Script certain key parts of your call and you’ll have added a degree of ‘science’ to the ‘art’ of selling.

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