When you get decision-makers on the phone, are you interrupted, cut-off, hung up on or quickly hear “We are all set”, “Send me some info” or something else that represents phone frustration.
The truth is that many times YOU are the cause of those problems.
Yes, YOU!! You choose words and a script structure that actually causes the very problems that frustrate you and you wish to avoid.
During the past week I had the opportunity to review scripts for two clients. One was an on-site presentation, the other a telephone-coaching client. Both of them made common strategic errors with their choice of words. Let me share the highlights of my advice.
TOO LONG: You’re wondering why you get cut off? You are not getting to the point and communicating something they want. If your written script is 4, 5 or 6 minutes long, what are you thinking? You are causing the problems that frustrate you. Condense and communicate value and credibility clearly. Your initial pitch should be 30 seconds long. No more. You need to accomplish 5 things in those 30 seconds.
DON’T ASK QUESTIONS UP FRONT: It is a major strategic error in scripting to ask, “How are you?” or “Did I catch you at a bad time?” Why? They know you don’t care, you sound like all the rest that waste their time, and you already know they are probably busy… so don’t ask, give them information that makes you more important than what they are doing. When you ask questions like this you think you are being nice but you are actually cutting your own throat. You spend so much time dialing to get someone you have identified as a decision-maker, get to the value exchange. The value exchange will lead to success, convenience or comfort will not.
DON’T TRY TO QUALIFY THEM BEFORE YOU HAVE COMMITMENT: Big mistakes made up front in scripting are efforts to qualify in the wrong place. If you have carefully selected a pool of targets that closely resembles the accounts you wish to clone, and you have called to identify the decision-maker and probably in previous calls had the opportunity to re-confirm that your target handles XXX, why would you ask them – within seconds of hearing “Hello” – “Are you the person who handles XXX?”
When you do that you sound like all the rest, so by your own actions you have enabled your target to lump you in with all the other time wasters, you have given them control of the conversation, something you never want to do and …. you are not communicating value…, so such questions are a waste of words and significantly reduce conversion rates of conversations to appointments set. There are other ways to confirm decision-making authority before you hang-up.
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“WE” IS OVERUSED: Listen, it is not about you. It is about them. Scripts that are laced throughout with “We this,” “We that” or “We want” are misguided as nobody cares about you. Your choice of words has to be about them. When communicating to a decision maker eliminate the “we’s” and use “YOU, YOU, YOU.” Talk about what they will get at the meeting, talk about benefits others have received. Re-craft your words to be oriented about THEM and the value they will get when meeting you.
ELIMINATE UNNECESSARY WORDS: Don’t say “The reason for my call is… the point of my call is” Just say it. If you are going to communicate 5 points in 30 seconds you need to rip out every unnecessary word.
DON’T DESTROY YOUR OWN CREDIBILITY: Don’t say things like “companies like yours will save $25,000 or more.” If I hadn’t heard of your company until 10 seconds ago and you have never interacted with my company, how can you say you will definitely do anything? When you say things like this the credibility meter plummets and the crap meter rises. You are better off to say, “70% of the companies we meet with are able to save $25,000 or more.”
DON’T TRY TO SELL YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE: The only thing you are trying to sell with that phone conversation is a meeting. The only thing you are trying to communicate is a value exchange so that your targets can conclude that it is worth his/her time to spend 30-60 minutes with you… even if they don’t buy, which of course, is what they are probably thinking. It is hard enough to sell that over the phone. Do not cross the line and start pitching the value of your product or service. It is way too early to do so and you will schedule far fewer appointments within qualified companies.
Sell the meeting and you get more opportunities to sell your product or service. Pitch your product or service too early and you get fewer appointments… fewer opportunities to sell.
There are many other common self-sabotaging script mistakes.
Best wishes for sales success,