We’ve all been there. Your boss—or maybe your boss is you, and to eat you’ve got to start—says, “Time to start ‘Dialing for Dollars’. Here’s the script, here’s a list of five hundred people who have never heard of us: get started.” Eww. You mean, I have to cold call complete strangers, rattle off this script word for word, and hope they’ll stay on the line long enough to tell me whether they are interested or not??
First of all, let’s throw out that old saw, “Dialing for Dollars”. That’s a bad intention and not what you’re going to do. Maybe you’ve been doing that, but I want you to stop immediately. The intention of your calls is now to make genuine connections with other people, and find out if you can help them in some way. If you can’t, that’s fine: this is feedback, not rejection.
You must have a consistent sales process. You can’t wing it, not have a plan, not know what the next step is. Applied with the intention of genuinely helping others, this will be your most powerful tool in kicking the Prospecting Blues. Also the first key to sales force transformation.
Second, scripts are good, but you have to develop a way to say those words in your own voice. I can say “I pity the fool…” all I want, but those are Mr. T’s words and will never be mine. You will do much better if you take the script and move it into your own intention and voice.
There will probably be resistance to this… particularly if you’re in a call center. In that situation it’s tough, because some supervisor was told everyone has to use that script, letter for letter. If you’re going to succeed at cold calling, however, you’re going to have to put the words into your own voice.
Let’s look at an example. Say the script reads, “67% of all data entry productivity is derived from the software the data is entered into.” Do you talk like this? If you do, then go ahead and say it that way. Assuming you don’t talk like a technical manual, how else could you accurately express the same idea and yet not have that little voice in your head announce “You sound like a robotic moron” as you say it?
You could say, “You know, when it comes to data entry, two-thirds of the productivity your people experience is a direct result of what software you’re using.”
Or maybe, “It’s a surprising thing, but typing skills don’t matter nearly as much as what software you’re using to record data: the specific software is responsible for sixty-seven percent of your data entry productivity.”
Figure out how you can say the idea naturally. I encourage having a script, and also taking the extra step of personalizing it to your voice. This will considerably help you feel better about prospecting.
Now let me clear something up: a script is merely a framework for discussion. To be a successful cold caller, you must have a consistent sales process, and that will lead you through the call’s stages. The script gives you the confidence of knowing what your message is, what you’re going to say. If it becomes necessary to deviate from the script, or not mention some of the things in it at all, so be it. Following a process and being genuine are far more powerful tools to help with cold calling and for kicking the Prospecting Blues.