Getting Past the Gatekeeper with Professional Sales Scripts
Sales organizations are benefitting from automation and data-driven marketing techniques more now than ever before. However, as much as it helps to drive highly-qualified leads into the sales pipeline, the close of a sale more often than not still falls at the feet of the men and women in the sales department. The precision and insight that tools like Salesforce CRM software offer to the sales teams is irreplaceable, but when it comes down to making those first sales calls, it’s essential to have the same level of confidence in your sales scripts, too. In fact, whether you have veteran salespeople or junior sales development team members, the right telephone sales pitch can make or break the sale even before they reach the contact. That’s why we’ve put together some of the most effective ways to tailor sales scripts for dealing with the biggest hurdle in the telephone-based sales world, the gatekeeper.
Know The Players, Gatekeeper and VITO
An od acronym I became familiar with during my days as a cold-caller before I became a stockbroker is the Very Important Top Officer, or VITO. This is interchangeable with a decision maker, lead, contact, and basically any other sales target you can imagine. Regardless of the title you give to the person who you want to make the purchase decision, however, they all have one thing in common and that’s that they have at least one layer of protection between themselves and the inbound world. Meet, the gatekeeper. The gatekeeper’s job is much like that of the soldiers who would protect the old ramparts of yore. By guarding, monitoring, and approving or denying the traffic that comes through the telephone lines into the world of the decision makers, the gatekeeper may never make a buying decision but is the first person your sales script needs to address in order to find success. The gatekeeper is also all-too-frequently an overlooked portion of the sales call process and, as such, very rarely are sales scripts written to accommodate for them. Until now! Following these few pointers when writing sales scripts will help you and your sales team to navigate your way into a conversation with the right individuals more often.
- Don’t Act Like You Own It Contrary to an old school perspective that suggested that you should muscle your way past the gatekeeper, you definitely get further by not coming off as impatient or impertinent. Certainly, confidence is important, but be very careful not to let that overstep into the territory of arrogance where the gatekeeper feels you are being rude.
- Mind Your P’s and Q’s And as a perfect segue out of not being rude, it’s also important to always include please and thank you into your conversation, regardless of your tone and tact. Remember, the gatekeeper is the person who will ultimately decide if you get to speak with your contact, so it’s important to always treat them with respect and kindness. Also, let’s face it, you should be doing that to everyone anyway, so you can extrapolate this one into your entire life.
- The “can you help me?” Technique This isn’t terribly new for many salespeople, but there’s a subtle distinction between those who use it effectively and the rest of the people who go to voicemail. By saying something like, “I need a little help please…” but then immediately following it up with a request for the individual you’re looking for with a, “Can you tell me who is the individual who…” you’ve taken from the gatekeeper the opportunity to actually respond. If you ask for a bit of assistance in your sales script, you need to pause and allow them the opportunity to actually ask how they can be of service. You’ll find after they inquire how they can help you, they are far more likely to actually pass you along to the right person.
- Stand Up, Smile This is a good idea to do on all calls and regardless of who is on the phone because it’s insanely effective. Body posture and facial expression, although unlikely, can be heard through the phone. Not only will you project your voice more clearly and confidently when your back is straight and your diaphragm is open, but the sound of a person’s voice is always more appealing when they aren’t slumped over. I’m telling you, if you are in a tough run of calls, try taking away your chair and only dialing from a standing position and you’ll find that the same sales script you’ve been using will be more effective without making one edit.
- Brevity is Key It’s important that every sales script be as succinct as possible. Getting to the point of the call, and specifically to how your service or product will benefit the person on the other end of the line as quickly and clearly as possible will be invaluable. Taking too long to communicate those things means that the contact will have more time to get distracted or, even worse, annoyed. That’s not a buying mindset and you want to avoid it at all costs.
- Be Prepared for Objections Obviously you won’t be able to predict all of the possible objections you’ll get on the phone from a contact, but you can anticipate them to be in a few key categories. Price, timing, interest, and a few other categories that are customary objections need to be considered beforehand and an appropriate response readied as part of a successful sales script. Considering these objections before you place the call will prepare you to be more effective when dealing with them in a live conversation.
- Practice, Practice, Practice Which leads us to the final, and most important tip of all- be prepared. There is nothing more cumbersome and uncomfortable than a salesperson reading a sales script for the first time to you over the phone. You do not want to be that salesperson. In fact, I’d make the argument that you need to be so comfortable with the script that it is one that you don’t need in front of you to deliver over the phone. Don’t think of it as memorizing it so much as internalizing it. Robots reciting lines are far less effective than people who know what they are calling for, how it will help you, and what we need to do to close this deal today.
We’re big proponents of continuing education, and writing professional and successful sales scripts is no exception. And because we know we don’t know everything, we’re constantly researching better ways to provide not only the best VoIP service we can but the very best in business related suggestions like these, too. You may also like our guide on how to make Professional Voicemail Greetings, but we regularly post tips and tricks for having an effective sales organization on Twitter and Facebook, as well. Stay tuned for more sales script writing suggestions, and until then, happy hunting!