Telesales: to script or not to script

Most call centres work with a script for their agents to read out. You can write a perfect script which will guide the rep and take the rep through the pitch word for word. Anyone can do the job, all you need to do is read the words from the screen. But is a script really the best way to go? Let’s have a look at the pros and the cons.

With a script, you can map out the entire conversation that your reps have with their prospects. This has a lot of benefits. New employees will be able to pick up the job very quickly, because they only have to read from the screen. Your telesales agents don’t have to be experts on the products they are selling, because with a script, your agents can look up the answers and respond to every question that the client may ask. In fact, you can give the appropriate response to any question or objection and make sure your reps say the right thing every single time and use the right words and language. Another great advantage is that having the right answer to a question at hand makes you seem very confident and knowledgeable. This definitely helps because it gives your prospect a little peace of mind, by showing him he’s in the right hands.

Sounds good? Yes, it does. Unfortunately, scripting a sales pitch does come at a cost. First of all, people can tell if you are reading your story from a screen and they don’t like it. It sounds like you’re talking to a robot, and after having spent five minutes struggling to get through your phone menu choosing option 4, 3 and 1, they really want to speak to a human being.

Another disadvantage of scripting is that it kills spontaneity. You see, robots are not great at building rapport, because they don’t ask what the weather is like down there in Dallas. They don’t have a quick chat about who is going to win the game this weekend and they sure as hell don’t show any interest in your prospect. Now some of you may think that this chit chat is mostly a waste of precious time that could seriously improve service levels if eliminated. But think again; it is a big problem because if you don’t leave room to build a rapport your prospect may not want to give you his money, simply because he doesn’t like you!

So what is the solution? Should we abandon script? Should we just wing it in every call? Of course the answer lies in the middle, as usual. A basic script should exist to guide people through their sales calls. It will help new employees to find the right words and it will provide a guideline for use of language and how to approach your customers. A few lines that can be memorised will help your sales staff sound confident and knowledgeable, especially when overturning objections. But make sure you give them the freedom to choose their own words, give them the ability to sound natural and above all, make sure they have some breathing space to build a rapport.


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