Just as you sit down for dinner the phone rings. Yep. It's one of those annoying telemarketing calls! Someone wants you to switch phone companies, donate to a charity, or buy insurance. Usually you can't wait to get the salesperson off the phone. But sometimes the offer interests you, and you buy.
Business people get these calls, too. Telemarketers (in business-to-business marketing, the industry prefers the term teleselling) are continually trying to persuade them to schedule a sales presentation, buy a directory, agree to visit a trade show booth, sign up for a seminar, or respond to any number of campaign objectives.
Teleselling is one of the most effective ways to reach prospects. It may be annoying to some people, but the technique works.
Unfortunately, one of the reasons that telemarketing has gotten such a bad rap is that the telemarketing scripts — sometimes called guides — are often poorly written. That's where you, the copywriter, come in.
The good news is there are proven techniques to putting together an effective telemarketing script that:
Minimizes the number of people who get annoyed when they receive the call
Gets the desired results
In business-to-business telemarketing, a gatekeeper is a person, often a receptionist or assistant, who attempts to screen a call. He or she may ask questions like: “Which company are you from? What is the purpose of your call? May I take a message?” Telemarketers will try to get past the gatekeeper and talk to the prospect directly.
Be Ready for Anything
You normally have to write more than one version of a telemarketing script. That's because you never know who's going to answer the phone. What if the telemarketing campaign is to make people aware of a sale at a ladies' fashion boutique — and a husband answers the phone? Your script will need to include a section on how to handle this situation.
Forget everything you learned from those dinner-hour telemarketing calls. A successful telemarketing script has the following characteristics:
Friendly, courteous, and conversational
Never pushy and aggressive
Short and to the point
Clearly identifies who is calling and why
Leaves the prospect with a good impression, even if he or she doesn't buy
Conveys an enticing offer
Clearly tells the prospect what do to next
Here is an example of a very simple telephone script. This one invites prospects to a Web seminar (Webinar) as part of an overall lead-generation campaign:
“Hi [contact name], this is Jane Doe calling on behalf of ABC Company.
“The reason for my call is to inform you of a 20-minute Webinar we're sponsoring called The Future of Loss Payee Notification. It features how companies like Permanent General Insurance and Tower Hill Insurance Group are reducing costs by 50% while virtually eliminating risks. The Webinar is hosted by Dr. John Smith, a recognized expert in the field.
“[contact name], I'd like to e-mail you an invitation to this FREE Webinar. Would that be okay with you?”
“Thank you. What is your e-mail address?”
“Is there someone else in your company we should be talking to?”
When writing a telemarketing script, follow these guidelines:
Write for the ear, not the eye. Your script must sound natural and spontaneous. Have a friend read it back to you, preferably over the phone. If it seems like a canned sales pitch, rewrite it.
Soften your tone. “Mr. Prospect. I'm calling to ask if you want to double your department's productivity in just 60 days. Guaranteed.” This may work in a sales letter, but on the phone you'll quickly hear the dial tone. A better opening: “Mr. Prospect. I'm calling because we've recently helped ABC Company double the productivity of their accounting department. May I ask you three quick questions to help determine if we can do the same for you too?”
Suggest, don't ask. Use the word “suggest” when wording your call to action. For example, “If you're interested in learning more, may I suggest that you go to our Web site and download our latest free White Paper.”
Use the words “I'm just curious.” For example, “John, I'm just curious. How many employees do you have in your accounting department?” For some reason putting “I'm just curious” in front of what otherwise might be considered an impertinent question tends to get a friendly answer.
If possible, make reference to other known companies. This builds credibility. “John, we recently implemented this solution at XYZ Company here in Chicago. And their productivity soared 24% within three months.”
Keep it short. Write in chunks. Prospects get frustrated and tune out when a telemarketing call is a long-winded sales pitch. Most people will just hang up.
One final note. Make your script easy to read and deliver. Remove any hard-to-pronounce words or difficult passages. You never know the level of experience a telemarketer who is using your script will have. It's your job to craft words that work effectively, no matter who may be speaking them.