Outbound call centers convert more leads when their agents know the right thing to say at the right time.
Let’s face it. If you’re cold calling, you’re coming up against some fierce attention barriers.
So when we’re talking about writing a cold calling script that gets results for outbound call centers, we should be thinking about strategies for breaking through those barriers to win the attention of the prospect on the other end of the line. Now, here’s the ice bucket…
You’ve got less than 20 seconds…maybe less than 10.
On top of that, today’s leads are harder to reach. So once you do get someone on the phone, you don’t want to blow it.
The primary tool your agents need to hold their prospect’s attention is a concise, well-thought-out cold calling script. Hopefully, your call center agents are using intelligent dynamic scripting – more on that later.
Once you’ve crafted your cold calling script, making that script come to life and work its sales magic will be in the hands—the voices—of your agents. So we’ll also offer a few tips on how to guide agents in a starring performance of your Pulitzer Prize-winning cold calling script. Okay, we exaggerate, but we do think this article can help you boost call center ROI, which is its own prize.
Here’s what we’re going to talk about:
- Starting with quality data
- Preparing before you write [your message is the foundation for your script]
- Crafting a compelling intro [and why this is critical]
- Scripting the agent’s path [anticipating responses/objections]
- Improving agent delivery of your cold calling script [tone sends its own message]
- Empowering agents with dynamic scripting for efficiency and lead conversion
By the way, cold calling is one tactic of outbound sales. The folks at Drift offer up some savvy advice in Outbound Sales: The Complete Guide. They tell us, “smart outbound strategy may be the secret to attracting new customers and powering up your growth engine.” To optimize your outbound strategy, be sure to use your dialer’s omnichannel capabilities so you can also reach leads via text, email, and ringless voicemail.
FIRST STOP: QUALITY LEAD DATA
Let’s back up a moment and look at the source of the leads you’re calling. Your call center campaigns will only be as effective as the quality of the data lists loaded into your dialer.
You can have the best cold calling script on the planet, but if you’re getting irrelevant contacts or nobody picks up… Shrug.
Outbound call centers need highly targeted lead lists, which can be purchased from a reliable vendor, or nurtured and strategically generated by your in-house marketing department or external agency.
Make sure to always use clean, reputable caller IDs and implement effective dialing strategies to protect your caller ID reputation. You need the capability for real time insight into how your leads are performing, so if a list is a dud that is not converting, you can pull that list or possibly the list source.
Of course, you want to avoid burning through those quality leads that you’ve paid good money to acquire. So, before your team starts calling, focus on maximizing your agents’ cold calling capabilities to drive productivity and revenue. When a potential customer does answer, they’ll be more inclined to listen to your offer and qualify themselves.
WHAT MAKES A GREAT COLD CALLING SCRIPT?
The short answer is one that converts leads.
Outbound call center managers who design customizable, targeted scripts will dramatically improve the performance of their agents. Below we’ll look at what makes a cold calling script great: how to prepare ahead of time, and recommendations for writing the script.
Preparation: What to Think About Before You Write
What’s your message?
Before you start writing your outbound sales script, you need to create a compelling message.
The next step will be to distill that message down to it’s essence, so those crucial opening seconds of your call grab the attention of the prospect, and entice them to learn more.
The best messaging doesn’t pitch a product, it tells a story. Stories make emotional connections with potential customers by linking their pain points to solutions provided by your product or service.
A little journalistic reflection
Don your press credentials, and think like a journalist for a moment. Your story assignment is to cover the potential customers who need your product or service. Answering those Who, What, Why questions will give you insights that will inform the message you want to create.
WHO are we talking about? Make customer profiles by identifying:
- Interests and hobbies
- Needs and goals
- Probable pain points
WHAT pain point or problem does your product or service solve? How does our product or service help the customer achieve their goals and needs? Identifying these will help you begin to see the world through the customer’s eyes.
WHY should this potential customer believe you? Why will your product or service work when other solutions haven’t?
Your message must convince the customer that you understand their problem. So put yourself in their place. Think about the experience that they are seeking, based on what you know about them.
Writing Your Cold Calling Script
Craft a Compelling Intro
In our blog post, 7 Must Know Tips To Improve Your Cold Calling, we talk about how cold calling is compared to bull riding. The first eight seconds are the toughest, but if you can ride through that, you’ll mark an increase in success.
With so little time to capture the attention of the lead, your intro needs to hit the bullseye on that first impression. No bull, just get to point. Okay, no more bull metaphors.
End Intro with a Question
Asking a targeted question at the end of the intro gives the prospect the opportunity to respond, and the agent the opportunity to listen and learn. This will determine the next step in the script for the agent.
Keep It Positive
Train your agents and put it into your script. If the lead you call says they’re not interested or they’re too busy to talk, keep it light, say “no problem” and make a note if you can call another time.
Remember the old sales saw, “Some do, some don’t, so what.” Move on.
A few WRITING TIPS before we move on:
- Write like people talk – casual, natural conversation
- Avoid overly technical words and catch-phrases
- Use keywords developed in your prep
- Communicate a sense of urgency, without conveying stress
- Include clear, concise phrasing around customer needs
- Use an active voice. People will respond more to the clarity and directness of an active vs a passive voice. Compare these statements: “Customers save money with our product.” [active] vs. “Our product provides savings for our customers.” [passive]
Script the Path by Anticipating Responses and Objections
Based on your preparation work, you’ll brainstorm and craft multiple potential prospect responses to the intro question as discussed above. You’re designing clear pathways, automated in your dynamic script, for your outbound call center agent to guide the lead toward a disposition. Hopefully, converting to a sale or transfer, depending on your objectives.
A Yes to Yes!
The positive responses will be clear. Write those first to get the hang of a conversational flow in which everything goes perfectly! Do a victory dance, and then get to work on the part of the scripted path that you need to give careful thought to developing.
What You Learn Through Pain
When writing your outbound sales script, incorporate customer problems and challenges into the flow. Your agents will be listening for responses based on questions you’ve carefully built into the script intended to help discover this particular lead’s pain points. Here’s a resource with some examples of questions that give insight on the customer’s perspective.
Design your script to paint a mental picture that enables potential customers to see and feel what life could be like if their pain points were resolved. Go beyond stating the obvious. Describe what they will be able to do and accomplish [customer goals and needs].
Know What to Say to No
Now is when you’ll pull in everything you know about answering objections. List as many as you can think of that may be raised about your product or service [you’ve probably heard them all]. Use these to write the scripted handling of those objections that your agents will say to the prospect.
Bear this in mind from The Ultimate Guide to Objection Handling: “Objection handling is when a prospect presents a concern about the product/service a salesperson is selling, and the salesperson responds in a way that alleviates those concerns and allows the deal to move forward. Objections are generally around price, product fit, competitors, and good old-fashioned brush offs.”
In that article you’ll find 40 responses to common objections, which can help you customize the remainder of your cold calling script path. And, below are 7 valuable tips they share for overcoming sales objections.
- Practice active listening.
- Repeat back what you hear.
- Validate your prospect’s concerns.
- Ask follow-up questions.
- Leverage social proof.
- Set a specific date and time to follow-up.
- Anticipate sales objections.
The Personal Touch of Lead Conversion
Personalization is essential for salespeople and marketers. A whopping 88% of digital marketers in the U.S. have reported significant improvement in sales as a result of personalized outreach.
Find places to naturally customize your script by inserting relevant personal information, John Doe, from your CRM that will help build connection and trust with the prospect.
As a first step to personalizing calls, use the contact’s local caller ID, which will also increase the chances that the lead will pick up. Ask your call center solutions provider about this capability.
When Things Don’t Go As Scripted
The well-planned script allows the agent to directly and intelligently address the prospect’s responses.
That said, be sure your agents are trained enough in the product or service to confidently go off-script if necessary, and that you’ve planned for how they will handle unusual situations that seem to fall outside the flow of options available in the script.
Test and Tweak
You’ve written what you think is a pretty darned good script that accounts for all the objections and responses you’re already familiar with. But once that script is put into play, be prepared to get feedback from agents and to note where things don’t go as smoothly. Are there holes and tributaries on the path that you didn’t anticipate? You’ll need to adjust. Think of this as a flexible process in which you’ll refine your script as you learn what’s most effective. You may have more than one cold calling script you want to try out to track how each performs.
COLD CALLING SCRIPT MEETS CALL CENTER AGENT
At the beginning of a cold call when a lead says, “Hello,” the path ahead is unknown. The agent and the prospect are on a journey together, in a sense writing the script as they go. Careful listening by the agent will help determine the direction of the call.
Listening is power for an agent.
They’ll learn information from the prospect that will help them know how to respond, and where to go in the script. By listening, agents can learn from prospects what they want most, what they need, what they’re worried about, what they’ve tried before that didn’t work and why.
A Word about Tone of Call Center Agents
Keep a light, conversational tone. That’s pretty much it.
A robotic, boring, or stiff delivery of a great script detracts from the words they’re trying to communicate. It’s simply harder to generate interest.
A recent study reported that 28% of call center agents’ voices sounded strained and tired. How is an agent going to create quality engagement sounding like that?
Agents should practice their delivery, and get feedback from the manager or more experienced agents.
Here are some TONE TIPS to use when speaking with leads:
- Have an upbeat vibe. The ol’ “smile as you dial” is worthy advice.
- Use conversational, natural speech.
- Convey personality and care.
- Listen for the customer’s tone and mirror that to some degree. Being in sync can make a difference on how agent’s connect with the prospect.
- A little self reflection: Express genuine interest and sincerity, and avoid getting pushy and acting out of self-interest. [“I need to make this sale!”] You’ll get more positive results.
- Speak confidently. Call center managers can support agent confidence by ensuring adequate training on the product or service, and by providing a reliable, well-thought-out cold calling script with automated dynamic scripting.
- Humanize the prospect. Use pictures of fictional leads to help visualize being in conversation with a real person while on the call. Is this awkward? Maybe. Will it help create better conversational flow with the disembodied voice on the other end of the line? Definitely.
DYNAMIC SCRIPTING DRIVES ENGAGEMENT
With the advancements of today’s automated technologies, lead generation call centers should be using smart, dynamic scripting.
Dynamic scripting prepares your agents to interact with each specific lead by auto populating dynamic fields you select within the script, such as their first name. It can also prompt agents to a new set of instructions or a different script loaded with CRM data, based on the reaction of the lead.
Once you input your script and set up the flow, a predefined page pops up every time a call is connected, prompting the agent to say the correct thing at the correct time. Scripts can be simple with all information on one page, or you can move page to page based on the lead’s responses.
Bonus of Dynamic Scripting for Call Centers
The automation of dynamic scripting decreases training time, helping to drive call center efficiency, and get agents on calls making money sooner. Managers report seeing agent motivation dramatically improve when using dynamic scripting. With greater efficiency, call center agents experience more success more often. The result? More revenue, lower turnover.
Boom. You’ve just boosted your ROI.
To understand the power of this tool, get a demo of Convoso’s dynamic scripting capabilities and other advanced tools for outbound call centers.
Agents can significantly move the productivity needle in outbound sales when they’re armed with a great cold calling script that engages leads in the first few seconds, and keeps those leads engaged for the remainder of the call.