Scripted or unscripted?
If I had a pound for every time someone has asked me whether they should use a script or not in telemarketing, I probably wouldn’t be in telemarketing any more, I’d be in the Bahamas. However, it’s a valid question, and both approaches have their merits.
At Integrity, we believe that the script is the fundamental differentiator between success and failure – but that’s not to say that once the script is either over, or interrupted, the telemarketer puts the phone down. The key here is that a conversation takes place drawing on elements from the script.
With no script, the telemarketer is free to start, lead and conclude the conversation in almost any way he or she so desires. This means that unexpected responses can be handled quickly and efficiently, and that the conversation doesn’t sound robotic or stilted. It should flow naturally, and should allow the telemarketer to drill into the contact’s pain points – what are their needs, and how best can those needs be matched up to a product or service?
This conversation style allows for a business conversation – which means that you need experienced telemarketers from a business background. You need someone who can naturally hold a conversation about your business, can field questions about you and your services, and can display a natural empathy with each and every contact.
The disadvantage here is that you need to train the telemarketer significantly in what you do, and educate in who you are, so that there are as few surprises as possible. Equally, if you have a strong marketing message, you want to ensure that your message is being conveyed consistently.
A consistent marketing message is essential, and a script allows you to include your key points, perhaps as bullet points (at least when written on paper) that resonate particularly with your market.
A script also allows you to capture data efficiently and consistently. Depending on how much data you want to collect, a script does frequently remind a telemarketer which ‘boxes need filling’, and equally, a script can be tweaked according to response. Certain messages get through better than others, so a script can be improved over time in order to both capture data better, and get the right messages through.
However, a script can sound robotic and stilted – what a good telemarketer needs to do is take a script and use it as the basis for a business conversation. A 50/50 mix of scripted and unscripted is where a telemarketing campaign needs to go – blending data collection and marketing message consistency with an enquiring, conversational tone that stays on-brand, but can go off in any direction. Finally, the conversation needs to close well, so a script should allow for a range of closures that work well – and again, only over time can that be tweaked and improved.
Scripted works – and we know it works because we measure it. However, it only works if you have the telemarketers who know how to use a script in order to generate a business conversation – the only calls that turn into appointments are those that come about through a conversation!