Sales Scripts and Three Tips for Your Voicemail Audition
Have you ever played the parlor game, “Two truths and a lie?” It’s a great icebreaker for groups, and even works if people know each other well. When they’re done, they might wonder if they really ever knew each other at all. Each participant makes three statements about themselves — two of which are completely true and one is a lie. Creative people can drive other players nuts as all three statements could either be accurate or a fabrication, and the game is to figure out which is which.
Salespeople play a similar game when their bosses ask, “Why aren’t we selling more?” The only difference is, they believe every answer that comes out of their mouth. For the manager, it’s a matter of differentiating between actual truth and sales truth. Fo r example:
- “I need a brochure that details our capabilities;”
- “I don’t have enough time to prospect for new business;”
- “I need a sales script.”
Alas, there will be no brochure. You’re assuming the client’s top concern is how you magically get ink and toner to adhere to substrate. It’s not. They care about their business needs, not your printing capabilities. And you should care about what they care about. So, take that off of your wish list.
And no, you don’t get to use the “no time” excuse. You have time. What you lack is motivation. If you suddenly got hit with an unexpected expense of, say, $10,000, it is highly likely you’d miraculously find the time to prospect. You’re 0 for 2, Sparky.
That leaves the sales script. A sales script is what reps lean on in both live prospecting calls and, more likely, for voicemail messages. It’s a long, often winding statement that covers an introduction, the purpose of the call, and a request for action on the part of the customer.
Example of a Sales Script
Something like this:
“My name is Bill Farquharson and I’m calling from FarkaBerry Printing, a full-service company able to handle all of your printing needs. I am told you are the person who buys the print and I’d like to set up a time to come talk about our capabilities and what we might be able to do to help save you money. Please call me back at 934-7036. Thank you.”
Perfect, right? In 68 words, the customer hears everything required in order to phone back and either set up appointment or place an order on the spot. There. That was easy!
If your product is generic or if it is your goal to “sell printing,” by all means conjure up a few lines that talk about the equipment you have, as well as your goal to save the prospect money on their print spend. Provided you are the lowest-cost print provider, you will find temporary success as you steam toward bankruptcy or become a target for takeover. Assuming that is not your goal …
The overwhelming majority of prospecting phone calls will result in voicemail. You might believe your message will be returned and, if that’s true, your optimism is admirable, although misplaced.
Setting Proper Expectations
As such, you need to prepare your words with the following expectations in mind:
- No one returns voicemails.
- The goal of voicemail is to be memorable.
- At best, someone will pick up the next time you call.
Voicemail is an audition. While it would be awesome if the intended target listened to your message, picked up the phone, and called you back immediately, that’s just not going to happen. Instead, a more reasonable goal is that you make an impression, one that spurs a different kind of action from the call’s recipient. In fact, let’s get that 800-pound sales gorilla out of the way immediately.
Step One: “My name is Jennifer Jenny. I’m calling from Good Time Printing. My phone number is 867-5309. I don’t expect you to return this call. My honest hope is that you will simply remember it, so the next time your phone rings, and you look at your caller ID and see a number that ends in '5309,' you’ll pick up and say, ‘Hello.’”
It’s a standard practice to start with name and company, but leaving the phone number at the beginning is probably something you’re not doing currently. The thinking is this: if someone listens to your message, saves it, and wants to call you back, don’t make them listen to the entire message just to get your phone number. Put it at the beginning and the end. Then …
Step Two: “My company can help you … ” and that’s where the call can go in one of two directions.
You’re prepared: If you’ve done some research on the company and have something of value to say, finish that sentence accordingly and speak to that perceived business need. Let’s say you’ve gone on their website and noticed they have a product launch coming up.
Armed with that knowledge, you can finish that sentence with, “ … make that product launch I read about on your website successful,” and then proceed to step three.
You’re not prepared: Without something specific to say to the company you’re calling, you are left saying something like, “ … launch a new product, make your next trade show a booming success, promote your offerings, and meet various other communication needs.”
The generic approach is not necessarily wrong; it’s just not preferred since it’s not a strong, differentiating statement.
Step Three: “Again, my name is Jenny and my number is 867-5309. I’ll be available all afternoon, but will try you again before the week is out. Hopefully, you’ll pick up when I call. Thank you.”
As you did at the beginning of the voicemail, slow down and leave your telephone number clearly. Next, spell out what the customer can expect from you as a follow-up. Will you call? Stop by? Email? Let them know.
There are two primary types of sales conversations you can get into. The first is about price. The second has to do with solutions. The latter is more desirable, more fun, and more profitable. It’s a long-shot expectation to enter a solutions-based sales call on the basis of one conversation, and a Hail Mary pass to the end zone if the result of your call is voicemail.
But a series of memorable statements sandwiched between two return phone numbers, possibly, just might get your prospect to look over, see those last four digits on the screen, pick up and say, “Jenny Jenny, you’re the one for me. Great message. I don’t know you but you made me so happy. Let’s talk!”