Nothing infuriates me more than talking to a telemarketer who´s reading a script. Even worse if they´re reading a script and don´t know anything about the product. I called a customer service rep today to order something I had seen on television. I had specific questions that I needed answers for which should have taken the operator all of a minute to answer. Of course through the rustle of papers I could tell that the very nice operator had no clue about what she was selling. And even worse she tried to sell me more products by turning to page 2 of her script (again the rustle of a script is very telling) and reading from it. If this is a problem that you´re having with your telemarketers"?¦take heart. There is hope. An exercise that I teach in my class is the ability to think about what you want to say before you say it. Sounds simplistic I know but you´d be amazed at how many telemarketers and salespeople can´t do it. Try this. At your next training session, go around the room and ask each telemarketer or salesperson, without looking at the script to tell you about the product or service they´re selling. Most will have a vague understanding of the product/service. Maybe one or two will have a clear understanding of what´s important in their phone presentation. Don´t look for the cold caller to memorize the script so much as understand what they´re selling or promoting. Anybody who is making a cold call on your company´s behalf should be able to tell you in general terms what they are saying on the phone in order to close the deal. If they can tell you without reading a script, they can talk intelligently to the customer as well. If they can´t, then they shouldn´t be on the phone. This is where real training comes in. Get your people in the habit of having conversations about your services without a script. Have them tell you in their own words what they are selling or promoting, why it´s a great product or service and why the customer should do business with the company. I want to be very clear about this. You will not see changes right away. Selling a product or service that your cold callers are not confident in or not sure of will be a difficult process. I recommend a six month period of slowly weaning your people off the script. But be warned, there will be resistance at first. People like security and the safety in repeating a script word for word is often very comfortable to many. Also keep in mind that you´re asking a second (and sometimes a third) party to sell your company´s services. No one can promote your firm better than you can so don´t expect a telemarketer to suddenly become a superstar, and sell your services as well or better than yourself. A cold caller needs to sell their product or service in their own words while keeping the integrity of the sales pitch. A script should be a guide not a bible. In other words, use it to lay the groundwork for an intelligent conversation, instead of letting the script do the talking for the cold caller. He/she has a brain; this exercise will help them to exercise it by forcing them to think. The best telemarketers are the ones who can think on their feet, ask questions and know what they want to say before they pick up the phone. The same applies for overcoming objections and offering rebuttals. If a cold caller can anticipate all the reasons a prospect might not be interested in their services they can overcome the objections better. I want to go on record and say that I never use a script. On the rare occasion that I actually take on a cold calling account, I request only one thing form the client. Information. Think about it. Why create a script when you already have one in your firms´ brochure. Look at it closely. Doesn´t it answer the question of what your company does and why a prospect might need your services? Now think about what objections the prospect might have for not using your services. These are your anticipated objections. And finally the close. What do you want to get out of the call? What´s the purpose? Is it to sell something? Set an appointment? Gather information? Gather market research? Or verify that the customer is happy with your services. The close can be as simple as telling the prospect that you´re going to be in the area next week and want to meet to discuss your services. Simplicity is always best.
Lastly, a neat trick to try when hiring a new telemarketer is to have them go to your web site and read the company info. Next, in their own words, have them tell you what the firm does and why a prospect might be interested in doing business with them. Again don´t expect perfection. But if they can tell you in their own words why your firm’s services are terrific, then they can tell the prospect. If this is the case then hire this person immediately and compensate them well. They´re a keeper!!!
Tony Wilkins is the author of "Telemarketing Success for Small and Mid-sized Firms’ available in most bookstores and online at www.amazon.com and www.xlibris.com you may also find out about his workshops and services at
http://stores.ebay.com/telemarketing-success via e: mail at email@example.com or phone 415-267-4872