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Before teleprospectors pick up their headsets and let the auto-dialer work its magic, most marketers will have conducted due diligence on their list of prospects to determine both the true buyers and the products or services that will best meet their needs.

But once that process is complete, don't let them put on their headsets just yet.

Dedicating sufficient time to crafting an effective script and giving your teleprospectors ample opportunity to practice, refine, and make the script their own are crucial steps to the teleprospectors' success and should be done before they start making calls.

Script writing, practice time, and verbal delivery of the content are the key components of tactical marketing messaging at its best. Words matter more during the teleprospecting stage than any other period of the sales process.

The way teleprospectors phrase their questions and emphasize key messaging within the content can be the difference between handing over a fully qualified lead to the sales team and hearing a dial tone.

But don't fall into the common trap of writing a script and trying to get everyone to follow it verbatim.

Realize that when you craft a script, you have less control than you think over what is ultimately actually said, and so you have to spend even more time thinking about what information you present to your teleprospectors. Yes, you'll need to put something good in front of your teleprospectors, but you have to allow them to make it their own. Position it as a guideline and make sure they know that they can tweak it accordingly to match their own communication styles.

Don't hammer script adherence down on your team members. Get them instead to understand your communication strategy and how they can follow it.

An effective teleprospecting communication strategy focuses on three things: your prospect's pain (vs. his function), decision-making authority, and willingness and ability to spend money.

1. Pain over function

You have no need tell your prospects what you know about their business and job function. Rather than waste their valuable time, identify their "pain" without addressing their function.

This approach should be the cornerstone of your teleprospecting communication strategy, and it should be stressed with your reps prior to the launch of every outbound campaign. Remind your reps that their job is to find out how a prospect's current situation affects performance (theirs and their company's) and what cost is associated with that effect on performance.

Your teleprospectors should not be talking about how your solutions solve those pains, but they should be focusing on identifying them and then moving on to the second phase of your communication strategy.

2. Is your prospect a player or not?

After you've established that your prospect has sufficient pain, your must determine how much decision-making authority your prospect has under his or her control. Whether your prospect is just an influencer or the ultimate decision maker doesn't matter. At this point in the process, your rep needs to get the prospect to voice accurately his or her role in the process.

Your communication strategy must put an emphasis on not only getting prospects to tell you their role but also asking follow-up questions designed to fully validate whether their answer is in fact the role they will play.

Many prospects tend to overstate their own role only to tell you later that they actually don't have real buying power. Make it very clear to your team members when you roll out your strategy that they need to triple-verify this information.

Knowing your prospects' true role will pay great dividends in the long run.

3. Will they spend money?

The third and final phase of your teleprospecting communication strategy is to find out whether your prospects will actually spend money on your services. Most prospects should be able to address the standard BANT (budget, authority, need, timeframe) questions—especially those surrounding budget.

Most important, focus on the person. How much does he or she know about the cost of your types of solutions or services? Has he or she bought them before? Who was involved in that previous purchase?

Your strategy is to learn about the person's previous spending habits. What kind of company is it? Does it buy to try or does it go down the full-blown RFP path? How many of you out there have found that your technology or service is a line item with an active project associated with all of your engaged prospects? Most of all, don't bother with questions you already know the answers to.

* * *

An effective teleprospecting communication strategy is a must for anyone running a business development team. You've hired intelligent people. Don't waste your time making them memorize a script. Spend your time educating them on the information you need them to find out, and let them do the scripting themselves.

Continue reading "Don't Just Script... Teleprospecting Done Right" ... Read the full article

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image of Peter Gracey
Peter Gracey is chief operating officer at AG Salesworks, a B2B teleprospecting and marketing services firm.