We love cold-calling scripts, but if you use them the wrong way, they could hurt your results.
No, we haven’t lost our minds. If you’ve read many of our blog posts, you know how much we believe in cold-calling scripts. They’re almost always on our lists of tips and advice for new and experienced salespeople. We’ve posted more than a few blog posts on creating and refining your cold-calling scripts.
So what’s changed? Why are we here now asking if you’re putting too much faith in your scripts? Should you ignore everything we’ve said up to this point?
As with so much in life, the answer isn’t an all-or-nothing situation. You don’t have to decide whether or not to use cold-calling scripts. What you do need to do, however, is determine if you’re leaning too much on that script.
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For the best results, don’t misuse your cold-calling scripts
Cold-calling scripts can help you in phone sales. There’s no question about it. A script can help you stay on track, ensure you share the relevant information, and help you guide the conversation if it becomes too abstract.
There’s even the opportunity to A/B test your scripts to find out which opening works best or what is better off in the trash heap. Scripts can keep the floundering to a minimum and can streamline conversations.
Cold-calling scripts can also be a less-than-ideal stand-in for the work you need to do to build a relationship and help your prospect feel heard and understood. Even the best scripts can only account for so many real-world possibilities.
That means simply that no matter how great your script is, it’s only a guide. You have to go off script to truly hear and respond to what your prospects are saying. Successful phone sales rely on real conversations.
When you lean too heavily on a script, it’s easy to miss the small comments or the things people don’t say. It’s easy to walk right over their concerns and questions. And they can tell. Even if they don’t recognize it right away, there’s a feeling that you aren’t connecting.
Think of your cold-calling scripts as directions. When you plug an address into your GPS, you are given a route. Depending on your settings, you might get the fastest route or the shortest. In either case, what you don’t get are the exciting stops along the way.
For example, if you want to drive from the Atlantic coast in Jacksonville, Florida, to the Pacific coast in Santa Monica, California, the directions are to get on Interstate 10 and drive for 2,428 miles. If you get lost and take a wrong turn in, say, Phoenix, Arizona, your GPS will get you back on I-10.
That’s very helpful if you want to get where you’re going or if you get lost easily. But it doesn’t account for the fact that you’ll go right by Joshua Tree National Park, the Hill Country of central Texas, or the always lively city of New Orleans, Louisiana.
This is your script, and all those fun stops are the things that aren’t on your script, but are important to the overall experience. These are the points of interest that your prospect wants to talk about. And if you’re ignoring those detours and staying on the highway the entire time, you will miss out.
The secret is to stretch out and explore the sights and sounds and little details that make any road trip, and any conversation, better.
That’s not to say cold-calling scripts aren’t helpful. Some of us have the GPS on even when we’re driving in familiar terrain. You never know when there’s going to be construction or extra traffic. A detour might send you in a new direction, and you need the GPS to get back on track.
Ultimately, you can do both. You can have a conversation that explores a prospect’s questions and concerns. You can address their objections. You can empathize with a sad story or congratulate them on the new house or car they just bought. These are the things that build relationships, and if you stick 100 percent to your script, you’ll miss these opportunities.
So use your cold-calling scripts. Write the best scripts you can, and keep them ready for those moments when you detour and need to find your way back. Your sales scripts are there to help you – not to do the job for you.
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