Telemarketing Scripts? No - Courtesy Calling? Oh Yes!

Telemarketing scripts in the traditional sense, should never be used again! You'll discover why in a moment, but first think about how you feel when you get a phone call, birthday card, or thank you gift from a friend or family member. Those interactions probably evoke feelings of being loved, valued, and appreciated, right? 

Next, think about how you feel when a solicitor calls you at home or at the office and overtly attempts to sell you something over the phone. If you're like most people, the feelings you have in this instance are the complete opposite. Let's face it, no one likes feeling pressured by a sales person, especially when you can tell that person is clearly reading from a script! 

telemarketing scripts

If you take nothing else from this article, know this. Never read from telemarketing scripts. If you do, you can assume that the recipient of your call will easily recognize you as being insincere. When a prospect or customer realize you’re simply reading from a script, they will justifiably feel as if you are insulting their intelligence. So, don't ever read from a script.

Your approach to telemarketing doesn't have to be an uncomfortable or bad experience. Actually, making outbound calls to both customers and prospects can be quite enjoyable for both parties, provided you approach the call in the right way. We'll explain this approach in detail shorty, but first let's more clearly define telemarketing vs a more positive approach we call "courtesy calling". 

What is Telemarketing? Essentially, telemarketing is "product pushing". It's selling widgets for the sake of selling widgets. Sadly, telemarketers are very pleased if they are able to achieve a 1% success rate - meaning it takes them 100 calls to make 1 sale.  

What is Teleconsulting? Basically, teleconsulting is about asking questions over the phone to qualify a need and then selling a product to solve that need directly over the phone. Telemarketing scripts may or may not be used, but the focus is on making sure you are meeting the customer's needs.

"Excellence is not a skill. It’s an attitude."

- Ralph Marston

What is Courtesy Calling? Courtesy Calling is great because is aligns nicely with so many of our personal values. The purpose of a Courtesy Calling approach is to add value to the customer. Furthermore, the goal of the call isn't to get the sale, but rather to simply book an appointment so you can provide a more in depth discussion that meets all of the customer's needs, thereby selling even more products and services. 

By changing the goal of the call to booking the appointment versus making a sale, the success rate of your calls will immediately skyrocket!

Finally, you can throw away those terrible telemarketing scripts. A Courtesy Calling approach allows you to focus on the needs of your customer, so now those outbound calls are all about providing customer service excellence, but as you'll soon learn the sales will still happen. 

Mindset for Making Courtesy Calls

Whether you are calling existing customers or prospects, your mindset is critical for maintaining momentum as you work through your calling list.  Consider the following recommendations as you prepare to make Courtesy Calls.

  • Always call with a genuine intention of adding value to the customer. Unlike telemarketing scripts, which is all about closing the sale right now, this is your opportunity to connect with your client, making them feel appreciated and valued. 
  • Assume the best outcome for each call. You never know what issue or need you might uncover. You may be able to solve a customer's issue that positively impacts their life. 
  • Yes, you will get a lot of No's.  Accept this as a fact and move on to the next call. Remember this analogy... "Waiter/Waitress offering to fill your cup of coffee. Eventually, everyone says 'no thank you' - thank the customer and simply move on to add value ot the next customer."
  • Don't take a "no" or a harsh word personally. It's not about you. You are just offering to serve the customer by solving for their needs. 
  • Remember your successes and your main purpose; to serve and solve. You are simply one "no" closer to your next "yes". 
  • Even if a caller is discourteous to you - and some will be - always ne nice and professional to them. You can only control what you say and how you say it, not how another person chooses to receive you. 

"Begin always expecting good things to happen."

- Tom Hopkins

No More Telemarketing Scripts - Use This Courtesy Calling Approach

Throw away all your old telemarketing scripts and complete these five steps to create your own Courtesy Calling script. In this instance, we are scripting for an existing customer. For prospective customers, you'll need to make some small adjustments.

  1. Introduction - Example. "Hi, this is (name) from (name of business) located here in (name of city, state). This is just a quick courtesy call. I’m contacting existing customers to make sure we are meeting your needs; do you have a moment?” If Yes, proceed to Step 2 -  If No, kindly thank the customer for their time, provide your phone number and invite them to ask for you by name next time they are in the store so you can meet and help them with any of their future needs.
  2. State the Purpose of the Call with Benefits   “I’m calling to see if we are meeting your expectations as your (business type).  How have we been treating you?  Are there any issues that I can help you to resolve? Is there someone here locally that you usually work with? Have you met our Store Manager (Name)? When was the last time we conducted a full review of your (personal or business) needs? One important benefit of doing business with (name of business) is that we provide a free annual review to ensure that you are receiving all the benefits you need and deserve. From my experience this review is quite valuable for our customers - is this something that you would be interested in?”   If Yes, proceed to Step 3   If No, kindly ask if there is anything else that you can help them with, if not, provide your phone number and invite the customer to call you at any time. Thank the customer for their time and for doing business with you. Wish them a good day/evening. (Note: Unlike telemarketing scripts, you need to customize your Courtesy Calling script using your own words, and only use bullet points, which will ensure you can never be accused of reading from telemarketing scripts ever again.)
  3. Set Up Appointment  “Would tomorrow morning or afternoon be best for you to come in/ for me to visit you?  Does 10:30am work for you?”
  4. Handle Any Objections or Complaints   Objection examples may include: Complacency, Price/Cost, External Input, Timing. Etc.  "Oh, I am so glad that I called so that I can help you to resolve this issue.”  (If you don’t know how to address the issue at the moment, let the customer know you will research and call them back. Take notes on the details of the issue and let the customer know you will escalate to the appropriate person if necessary. Make sure to follow up.)
  5. Close the Call   “Thank you so much for your time, it was great speaking to you. I look forward to seeing you on (day/time). Or, next time you are in the store. Please feel free to call me at any time, my phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.”

What About Time-Sensitive Promotions?

Ideally, a customer will agree to meet with you for an account review and any special promotions will be offered only after completing a full needs assessment analysis. Never lead with a product or special offer.

If the customer does not want to schedule an appointment and you’re ready to complete the call, you have the option of deciding whether to mention any special promotions or to conclude the call. 

Based on your recent interaction with the customer, you will have a general idea about how the customer might respond. Use your best judgment. If you believe the customer will be receptive you might choose to kindly state “Oh, by the way, while I have you on the phone, are you aware of (special offer)?” Then a quick follow up… “Is this something of interest to you?”  

If the answer is no, conclude the call. If yes, then continue the conversation and attempt one final time to schedule an in-person appointment.

Measuring Success of Courtesy Calling

As mentioned earlier, salespeople using telemarketing scripts are pleased with a 1% success rate. You can enjoy much higher success rates with Courtesy Calling because you are not selling product over the phone. Your primary purpose is to connect with your customers, letting them know you are here to serve them and to invite them to meet for a full account review.

Because you are tracking success differently, you can quickly turn a 1% success rate using telemarketing scripts, into a 50%, 60% or even 70% success rate using Courtesy Calling.

Here are examples of both negative and positive common Courtesy Calling scenarios.

Negative Scenarios

A.    No contact is made. The customer has no idea you attempted to call.

B.    Contact is made, customer is not interested and unhappy that you called. Using the Courtesy Calling approach, this doesn’t happy very often. The customer may simply be having a bad day. Quickly thank the customer for banking with us and move on to the next call. 

Positive scenarios:

C.    Complaint Uncovered this is great! Now you can save the relationship and “Wow” the customer.

D.    Contact is made, customer not interested, but appreciated the call. Even though the customer is not interested, they know you are reaching out to make sure their needs are being addressed. This helps to build trust and solidify the relationship.

E.    Left Message. Although no contact was made directly, the customer will still know that you appreciate their business and is there to help at any time.

F.    Appointment Setthis is the ideal scenario. Invite the customer in for an annual review of their entire account relationship, where you will fully assess their overall needs, confirm they are in the right existing products, and make recommendations for any additional products and services.

As you complete each call, record the results on a tracking sheet using columns A through F. 

Calculate your success rate using the formula, (Sum C,D, E, F) / (Sum A - F)

Based on your new success rate, we are confident you'll never use telemarketing scripts again. Now, go make some more Courtesy Calls.  

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