I like to have freewheeling conversations with prospects, letting them explore various aspects of my services and talk about whatever is on their mind. How important is uniformity in telephone calls with prospects and clients?
There is a tradeoff between flexibility and thoroughness in such conversations. While it is important to go with the flow and be responsive to emerging prospect and client issues, there is also value in assuring you maintain control in these conversations.
A phone script is as much a process as any financial or operational process a consultant would improve for a client. Telephone salespeople use scripts to assure that all desired points are covered and in a specific sequence. They regularly evaluate scripts for effectiveness and modify them as needed to improve desired outcomes.
Having a script does not preclude flexibility. You can still address issues that are not on the script, either ones you think of during the conversation or issues a prospect or client raises. A script just means you have thought out the conversation ahead of time and makes it less likely you will say after the call ends, "Gee, I wish I had thought of/said that during the call." Tip:
Prepare a series of scripts or outlines for each type of important call. For example, you might prepare separate scripts for "cold calls," referral calls, inquiries, project kickoff calls, etc. For each call, list the desired outcomes, information you need for the conversation, main topics to be covered and the sequence in which you prefer to cover them, risks and your approach to dealing with each, records of prior calls (including results of any action items for which you were responsible), and expected next steps after this call. You will appear, and actually be, more prepared and on top of the conversation and more likely to achieve the outcomes you want. © 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA