Do you feel challenged making cold calls during the COVID-19 crisis? Use our guide and free cold calling script template to get ideas on where to find your kryptonite and how to navigate past the anti-sales superpower people are equipped with today.
Through the COVID-19 outbreak, customers have been equipped with a superpower. It's a passive restraint to value propositions and urgency. When you cold call potential clients they will have a thousand arguments not to meet with you and not to buy from you during the pandemic. Those arguments will range from "can't meet in person" and "we need to monitor where things are going" to "our mother company has shut down any spending" and "I don't know who can make that decision".
As an advertising sales rep, you need to learn how to disable that superpower and you better learn it fast. It's your job to do so.
Using a cold calling script will help you avoid sounding like a blabbering idiot
This should be the number 1 argument for sales reps who believe they can just wing it. If you’re not using a script it’s likely that each call will sound different and that the are progressively getting worse and worse.
The script will keep you on track so that you can gather intelligence about the client rather than trying to think of what to say next.
Research the prospect before calling
Scripts should be designed to intrigue the prospects you are calling. Depending on what your clientele looks like, their position, your geo location and other variables, take ten minutes to do a little bit of research before you call. This research will help you if you are able to get past the first crucial minute – the usual time it takes for most to say they are not interested or even just hang up.
Research their website, google them and also look up the person you’re about to call on LinkedIn. This makes them less cold for you. In today’s business environment it’s usually not good enough to just present your product, but if you can show them that you’re actually interested in helping them grow their business, you are more likely to grow your own.
Define your goal before calling
Your script should be laser focused on driving the prospect towards your goal so you better make sure you understand what your goals is. For obvious reasons, you don't want to book an in-person meeting, but maybe you are looking for permission to create a plan for the client and explain it during an online call?
Don’t be afraid of being up front with this, even to put this into the second or third sentence in your script. People tend to be busy so if you are holding your goal back, you may just be making your prospect impatient.
Find your kryptonite before calling
Your kryptonite is unique. You can't copy someone else's kryptonite, but you can get inspired. The kryptonite is what's going to penetrate the superpower bubble and disable it. Therefore, it has to be delivered during a very short window right after you have said who you are.
The kryptonite need to show the client that COVID-19 is personal to you and that you have experienced it even if it wasn't first hand. This early into the pandemic most people don't really know how sick one gets from the virus so it's likely that they'll listen to someone that can tell a tale.
The kryptonite also need to contain a visualization of a post-COVID-19 world. You need to get the client to think in terms of the outbreak being over. You need to get them to transition in their mind to "where do I want to be when this is all over?". As an advertising sales rep, you can be the person helping them get there.
Get to your value story quickly
Don’t spend too much time asking for permission to take up the prospects time, but rather weave that into the ending of your leadin. If your script is not good enough to hold water for more than three sentences you should not be calling at all.
—– Beginning of Script —–
Melissa here from Nifty Magazine. I have talked to a handful of business owners that have had the COVID-19 virus and I’d like to share with you what they have learned and how they are advertising with us to get a head start when this crisis is over.
Do you have a quick minute to discuss?
(Prospect: Uh-huh, you can have 1 minute.)
Great! Terry, I'm sure you are busy and want to respect your time, so I'll be brief. What these business owners unanimously said was that getting sick was truly a drag but not worse than a normal flu. And once they got well they wanted to find a way to position their brand for business during and after the outbreak.
If my research is correct, your clients ... [replace with; procure huge amounts of, are located in, have the ability to transport, etc]
Is this correct?
(Prospect: Yes, but they also .... ) [truly listen to the prospect, ask question about their products, customers, value prop, etc. and take notes in your CRM system, i.e. RunMags]
I understand. Nifty Magazine is published with premium content in print and then we have more up-to-date articles on our website to drive engagement. We hear that people are devoting a lot of time to read the print magazine during the crisis and they are accessing our website and reading our newsletters to get up-to-date information.
(Prospect: OK, so how does that help me?)
With your permission, I'd like to take what I have learned from you during this call, go back to my desk and devise a cost effective plan for how we help position your company for business right now and also after the crisis is over. I want to make sure that you get as much bang for your buck as possible. Can we schedule a call on either Monday or Tuesday next week so I can present this plan to you?
(Prospect: Sure, Tuesday at 10 am works for me.)
Great! Shall I call you on this number and also, please let me know your email address so I can send you my plan and also a meeting invite.
(Prospect: Yes, that works. My email is email@example.com.)
Perfect! I have what I need for now. It's been great talking to you. I wish you a great rest of the week and I'll talk to you on Tuesday.
(Prospect: Sound good. Thanks!)
Thank you, bye for now.
—– End of Script —–
Design cold calling scripts for your Buyer Personas
Prospects are not created equal and you will be more effective in your dealings with them if you understand what’s driving and motivating them. If you take a look at this COVID-19 Cold Calling Script for Selling Advertising, you’ll see that it’s actually designed with a specific Buyer Persona in mind – Terry the small business owner.
If you haven’t already defined Buyer Personas for your business and would like to know more about how to do this, read this blog post where you will also find a template for Buyer Personas. Design your scripts for each Buyer Persona so that you quickly can navigate past gate keepers or blockers, and be ready to strike if you’re able to connect with a decision maker.
More effective than circulation and readership numbers
Even if your publication is not well known and the client have not heard about it, try hold yourself off from listing proof points from your media pack. While circulation and readership numbers may be important indicators for agents, don’t assume that they are to a small business owner during a pandemic. Instead, focus on emotional needs and the actual value that you can delivery, i.e. more business for your prospect.
As you have done your research, increase your sales effectiveness by becoming a trusted confidant that help the client stand out as a thought leader and/or reach clients that they could otherwise not reach. If your website and subscriber database allow for it, be ready to talk about which customers you client would like to reach and how you can help with that.
If you are able to intrigue the client enough to the point where you get to talk about how you can help them get more business, you may also want to explore offering additional services, for example branding and marketing expertise, artwork design, cold calling 🙂 As you put together your Deal in RunMags, think of ways you can expand your product inventory and grow with your clients.
Practice, practice, practice
One final, important note: Do not read the script, under any circumstances. Instead, practice the script as written, and then practice it from memory–so that the words emerge naturally, as if you just thought of them, the moment you began speaking.
This is what great stage actors do. They rehearse until the words are “part of them”–then, when they speak lines they’ve spoken on stage 100 or even 1,000 times before, each performance seems fresh and exciting.
Also, when you ask a question as part of the conversation, stop and actually listen to the customer. Don’t plow through like a carnival pitchman. This is about having a conversation, not about getting the words out of your mouth.