When I was 18 I got a part time job cold calling Sr. Citizens for a political fundraiser. It was tough work, both because I had no idea how to convince people on fixed incomes to donate large sums of money and no experience with what I was selling. They did provide me a script though, and they offered up a phone so I figured I could wing it. Wrong!
The first day I didn’t get a single donation. My second day wasn’t much better. It wasn’t long until I was politely informed that if I didn’t bring in some bacon soon that I would be out on my ear. I got the picture.
I’ll never forget the call that resulted in my first sale later that day, and how bad it started off. I learned a valuable lesson about prospecting that day. Scripts are OK as guidelines, but if you are prospecting over the phone you better create a connection, and quick!
What happens when you get caught reading a script?
Here’s what happened. It was about 3 hours into a 5-hour shift and I had a list of previous donors, some basic donor information and a contact number. My job was to get them talking about the politician, identify their “commitment level” and get them to provide a donation.
The problem was, I sounded like a robot reading that silly script. It didn’t flow in my natural voice. I’m fairly animated and those personality traits come across on the phone, the script only served to create a wall between the prospect and I, as we weren’t connecting on a personal level.
About the time I finished recounting the politician’s 5 most notable accomplishments to my current prospect, I proceeded to repeat the next line which said to ask the question “So what do you think about that?” (I know, it wasn’t my script, lol).
His reply was simply, “Well I think you’re readying pretty well of that sheet there in front of ya sonny”.
My first thought was to continue to the next line of the script. I mean, I panicked! But after considering my response for a moment, laughed and said “yeah, it’s pretty hokey huh?”
We both laughed, we talked for a few moments then I went into an “importance” close and actually got my first $750 contribution!
If I hadn’t have gotten in on the joke, I would have been the jestee but as it played out I became his partner in the joke. We laughed together, and then we took care of business.
That funny old guy may have busted my chops, but he taught me to use scripts as guidelines. For each type of call (setting appointments, calling back opt-in leads, cold leads, etc), I may outline the flow of a call but for each type I have a few key points memorized and the rest is all about listening, connecting with the prospect and identifying and reacting to their core need. Think of these key lines sort of like arrows in a quiver.
Todd Falcone’s Little Black Book Of Scripts is a great resource for these tidbits of script. Todd’s a master at working the phone and this book contains enough stress-tested lines to put together any number of outlines that suit your style. I highly suggest you check out the free sample scripts on his website.
I hope this helps some of you who may be struggling with making calls, it’s actually pretty fun once you start doing it using the attraction marketing principals I teach through MLSP here.