|In B2B telemarketing, the vital importance of careful planning of the telemarketing script is often not understood. Yet a telemarketing consultant can easily double, quadruple or 10-x the results of telemarketing by creating a script...|
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The telemarketing script and its vital importance to the success of your telemarketers
There are many things that could go wrong in telemarketing, of course... but one particular point seems to be almost etched upon our mind as a mistake everybody MUST make.
That mistake is the belittling of the importance of the telemarketing SCRIPT.
Those who plan the telemarketing activity pooh-pooh the relevance of the script.
Those who TRAIN telemarketers tend to do just the same, underestimate the significance of the script. And those who USE the script telemarketers continue the trend, arguing against the script, changing it unannounced or even so they're not AWARE of changing it...
It seems that the human experience cannot easily tolerate following a closely laid path on doing something. We feel a need to improvise, to change, to omit, to add... anything BUT follow the script meticulously EXACTLY AS IT IS.
Obviously, the script is like a policy of your company. It's how the senior management WANTED your company to be presented by your telemarketers.
If they had NOT wanted the telemarketing to use this script and present the company in this way then they would NOT have installed that script, right?
So... why then does just about everyone IGNORE or FIGHT this same script?
Well... that's just how it is. It doesn't actually matter WHY they fight a telemarketing script.
The important thing to know is that they DO... and that it's something that just about every telemarketer will do instinctively.
It's vital to know that just so you don't go out on wild goose chases to CHANGE your script as a result of the criticism it receives.
If you change it then you're on for an endless cycle of changes, at the end of which you'll be MORE confused and have FEWER results than when you started on this path of change.
So the first advice is not to follow any single remark that suggests the telemarketing script should be changed in any way.
That includes omitting something, changing the order of questions or sentences, adding something to the script (whether ad lib or in written form) and anything else that would factually constitute A CHANGE.
The way you change a telemarketing script is by way of RESEARCH.
Researching the need of change for your telemarketing script
There are many ways of researching your telemarketing script for need of change.
The most obvious one would be to conduct a market research survey within your target group to hear what THEY think.
What do the telemarketers of your industry do that IRRITATES the average prospective customer?
What does your industry's telemarketing LACK in terms of information or in way of NOT creating an understanding about something, not giving some data the target person needs... and so on?
What do they like, what do they need (but think it's not available), what do they dislike, how do they think you should approach them, what specific words or key phrases do they use about these things (so you can ensure your telemarketing script COMMUNICATES to them and is understood the way you want)... what?
I stress that it must be based on what the target group thinks, not on what you think they think and not even on what you're absolutely dead-certain they think (but you've not verified it with an accurate survey).
In all honesty, very few telemarketing scripts are based on any form of accurate market research on the target group.
It's part of human nature to be CERTAIN THAT YOU KNOW these things... but what you know is all from the OPPOSITE VIEWPOINT to that of a potential client.
Thus, most telemarketing scripts tend to be experienced as self-promoting and downright alien by those who receive the patter from your telemarketers.
In fact, telemarketing has gone on this way for so long that now most target persons make their decision within the first 2-5 SECONDS from the onset of the telemarketer's script... and the downright APPALLING lack of results (that's equally appallingly accepted as "a reality of life" within businesses) proves that overwhelmingly that decision is "not to continue with this telemarketer."
The fact that telemarketing produces poor results is not due to some law of nature but merely caused by telemarketing scripts built on assumptions and "traditional marketing approach" (read: self-promoting, self-aggrandizing fancy-talk that does not create a positive differentiation in the mind of the receiver).
So your first point of research would be to survey what your target group actually thinks and, above all, how THEY see these things from THEIR viewpoint... and your script must then use THEIR viewpoint in its approach and contents.
Once you do have a telemarketing script that's based on some form of researched and proven facts about the views of your target group, it's likely that this script still needs some tweaking.
One can plan a telemarketing script only so far with a "dry run" and its true strengths and weaknesses come to view only once you start using it with live prospects.
Now, you can conduct "a survey" among your telemarketers. Ask them where the script staggers, which questions or sentences they need to repeat to most prospects, where in the script do they lose prospects... and so on.
At this point, do not make changes to the telemarketing script yet but merely DOCUMENT these points.
Next, listen in on each telemarketer who gave feedback on the telemarketing script. Does the problem depend on HIS/HER rendition of the script does they go through the script exactly as it is written OR, do they actually ADD something there, CHANGE something... alter it in any way at all?
If they do then disregard their feedback on changing the script and, instead, correct them on that point and have them rehearse speaking that part of the script with you until they can render it correctly.
Then check back a few days later, listening in (preferably so they don't notice you're doing it) and see if they've kept to adhering to the script or slipped back to altering the telemarketing cycle as previously. Correct again if needed.
Once you have done this a few times AND now have data from all telemarketers for a period of time, ONLY THEN start considering altering one aspect of it slightly to improve it.
Pick the earliest point in the telemarketing script and juggle it around SLIGHTLY by reviewing the market research survey data from your target group (so as to adopt the clients' viewpoint) and alter that point (question, statement) just a bit... and then implement that with your best telemarketer. Let him/her use it a while before evaluating the results.
If it's an improvement, make the change permanent and now do the same with the NEXT point in the telemarketing script giving problems for your telemarketers.
If it isn't an improvement then drop it and try again.
Beware of going into any changes of your telemarketing script because one or two people say so or since one or more prospects react to it in a negative way.
No telemarketing script can ever please everyone. Decision-makers react to things emotionally and a seething response can just as well be caused by the guy's wife telling him off just prior to your telemarketing call... it need NOT be the telemarketing scrip at all.
So don't jump into conclusions about the script. Research, observe, verify it from several sources and then create a small change and TEST its results.
Telemarketing scripts and the blindness of expertise
You're not going to like this but it needs to be said: The biggest weakness of any competent person who's a top expert in some field is that we tend to take granted that that same expertise extends to OTHER related fields of knowledge.
This is usually the case with creating a telemarketing script. Because a person is so intimately familiar with the customers and one's own technical area of expertise, we assume that this makes us best qualified for creating the telemarketing script and approach.
Yet telemarketing is a very specific area of communication in which one needs to be an expert of communication rather than the specific technical field which it promotes.
The intimate technical knowledge of the service / product line being promoted as well as experiences from existing clients can actually both be more of a liability rather than an asset in planning a telemarketing script for that business activity.
Knowledge of communication techniques combined with an OUTSIDE VIEWPOINT will always produce a far more efficient set of telemarketing tools, simply because telemarketing needs to apply to the CLIENTS' experiences of YOU rather than the other way round.
You can't go into much technical detail in telemarketing anyhow, so the technical understanding required in planning a first-contact telemarketing tool is easily obtained from you in a briefing.
But the experience and/or knowledge of creating telemarketing tools takes years to achieve.
It requires thousands of hours of experience from hundreds of B2B / technical telemarketing assignments (and equally many market researches of their target groups) to acquire CERTAINTY in creating telemarketing tools that produce the kind of results one SHOULD expect from a telemarketing activity.
Yet few business owners and/or top executives come to think of it this way. It's so everyday to hear various experts and consultants extol their own expertise that we become dubious of all promotion.
It's an old maxim that the FEELING of expertise diminishes in a reverse ratio to the number of telemarketing campaigns that one plans and sees the results thereof in practice.
The more experienced and expert one becomes in planning telemarketing systems and scripts, the more one understands one's limitations, in other words.
For those who've planned no (or few) telemarketing campaigns (or who've not meticulously documented the results and evaluated them in light of the true potential of telemarketing), it feels easy to create a telemarketing script.
It's an oversight which is easily made by any competent executive and its power is directly dependent on NOT REALISING the existence of this thinking.
Once we look at it from this viewpoint, it becomes obvious that, in light of the vast expense of telemarketing itself, it might be a good idea to spend a few pennies to have the best possible telemarketing script (based on research of the target group's viewpoint) in order to extract the best possible horsepower (results) from the telemarketing activity.
It's bean counting really. The more one can increase the results of the telemarketing activity, the lower one can push the relative COST of it.
But where would you turn to have a telemarketing script and/or system devised in such expert manner?
Searching in vain for expertise in creating telemarketing scripts?
Indeed, where does one FIND an expert of telemarketing scripts?
It's actually NOT hard to see WHY most businesses don't look for a telemarketing expert for creating a script and tools for their telemarketers.
Broadly speaking, there aren't any!
Well, I consider myself one, what with some 100 campaigns created for different technical B2B companies... but I actually am not aware of ANOTHER telemarketing consultant.
If you search the Internet, you'll find this out too. You'll see that 99.99% of what passes for "telemarketing experts" out there are telemarketing agencies whose idea of service is that they make the telemarketing calls for you.
Their attention is wholly concentrated on HAVING telemarketers and those people possessing a pleasant telephone manner.
They sell "hours" or "calls" or even "contacts" but usually they never mention the expertise of creating a telemarketing script and planning the correct approach.
So obviously you would not call these guys to find expertise in CREATING a telemarketing system for YOUR in-house use, right?
Because it seems like an intellectual exercise and since there aren't any experts available to do it, we create our own telemarketing script without giving it a second thought.
In the realm of the physical this would never happen. A manufacturing company wouldn't consider manufacturing all the technical equipment and machinery needed to manufacture their product. They would turn to someone whose expertise that is and BUY the machinery.
A company offering CAD drawing or 3D rendering would not ever try to create the software they use but turn to expert software companies.
Yet it's not really different with telemarketing.
Your telemarketing system is the "software" with which your telemarketing activity operates... and the results can be only as good as the "software" directing the activity.
Your telemarketing script is essentially "that which produces results" in the hands of telemarketers in your telemarketing activity.
Thus, it might be an idea to look into revamping your telemarketing systems on part of the script and the approach. If that's of interest to you, why not try the Telemarketing Result-Optimization Analysis?
It will analyse your telemarketing script among other things and provide a lot of valuable information on how you could improve the results of your telemarketing and thus save a lot of money.
We also undertake assignments in creating telemarketing tools and campaigns. To find out more, click here to read about HDK Custom-Made Telemarketing Systems.
Give the script
some thought. Ultimately it is what influence the results of
your telemarketing most of all!
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