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August 2008 | Volume 27 / Number 3
Innovative SOLUTIONS

Four easy steps to scriptwriting success

By John Kiminecz,
Director of Marketing Strategy InfoCision Management Corporation

For even the most seasoned professional, writing a compelling and effective telephone marketing script can be a daunting task. In today's hyper-competitive climate, getting to the point quickly and making a favorable impression on your prospect is more critical than ever. However, by following four simple rules your scripts will always be fresh and effective.

Your telephone marketing goals will be much more easily accomplished if you first identify the emotional trigger, engage your prospect, paint a picture with words and make an assumptive ask.

Identify the emotional trigger

It really doesn't matter whether you're selling a children's charity, a political appeal or a "miracle" diet plan – telephone purchases and donations are made on impulse. These are dictated characteristically not by reason or logic but by feelings of emotion. Interactive marketing, frankly, is guided by managing emotion to elicit a desired response.

There are well over a hundred discernable emotional states to consider and contrary to what some may believe emotion is just as applicable to commercial promotions as it is to fundraising. We are all very familiar with the emotions of fundraising: sympathy, fear, anger, guilt, etc. But what if you're selling insurance? Or maybe a home equity product? A person's need for security or to provide for family is tied directly to personal pride and self-worth, which are both grounded very strongly in emotion. Take that "miracle" diet plan, for instance. The desire to lose weight is directly tied to ego and self image.

Once you've identified that emotional trigger, you've found the link that connects your prospect to your product.

Engage the prospect

Next, you need to find out what's on your prospect's mind – and there's no better way to do so than by asking him. By initiating a dialogue, you bring your potential donor or customer directly into the decision-making process. This will, at the very least, give him the chance to verbalize his objection and open up an opportunity for you to overcome any doubts and close the deal. Here are a few ways to start a dialogue:

• Ask a qualifying question

Let's say for the moment that you are prospecting for a window manufacturer. Naturally, you save a lot of time and money by asking up front "Do you rent or own your home?" The qualifying question is a filter to weed out the prospects that simply have no opportunity to respond favorably to your appeal.

• Ask a leading question

Differing from a qualifier, the leading question has a sharper edge and mixes in a bit of guilt and persuasion. For example, maybe you are calling aggressively for a political candidate with a green platform. The qualifying question might be, "Mr. Jones, do you believe the environment should be our primary concern in the upcoming election year?" whereas the leading question might be "Mr. Jones, we don't want our grandchildren to inherit a filthy, polluted atmosphere – do we?"

See the difference? One question seeks your opinion objectively and one is more likely to lead to a specific answer or even draw a manageable objection, which can be overcome with a well-scripted rebuttal.

• Attempt a trial close

A trial close is yet another subtle way to assumptively engage the prospect. Maybe the product you are selling is a low-exercise, weight-loss system. Why not try a question like this, "Mr. Smith, if there were an effective diet plan that did not require strenuous exercise, would you try it?"

If Mr. Jones answers "yes" to this question, he is in essence admitting to you that he is ready to try your product. What better buying signal do you need?

Paint a vivid picture

It is not enough for a prospect to simply hear your script – he must have a graphic mental image of what your message is all about. He must identify with your product or appeal. There are a few devices to consider that will make this imagery possible.

• Create a sense of belonging by tying your product to a club or organization. The most successful continuity programs thrive this way.

• Give your prospect a sense of status by focusing on the positive image and feelings that your product or appeal will generate.

• Try using bundle marketing to add value to your product. Nothing makes a product more attractive than tossing in a free premium that boosts perceived value.

Ask assumptively

Finally – and some might argue most importantly – always assume that the prospect will respond affirmatively. Nothing conveys more confidence in your script than believing in the quality of your product or appeal. Your script should always assume that the person on the other end of the line wants to purchase or donate. More often than you might expect, a confident, assumptive ask is sometimes the only difference between a failed presentation and a successful one.

John Kiminiecz, Director of Marketing Strategy, InfoCision Management Corporation. In business for 25 years, InfoCision Management Corporation is the second largest privately held teleservices company and a leading provider of customer care services, commercial sales and marketing for a variety of Fortune 100 companies and smaller businesses. InfoCision is also a leader of inbound and outbound marketing for nonprofit, religious and political organizations. InfoCision operates 32 call centers at 13 locations throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. For more information, visit http://www.infocision.com. CiS

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