10 Steps to Building A Killer Telemarketing Script

Winning new customers in the IT Services business is akin to dating. It’s all about building relationships. If you expect someone to trust you to touch their computers, networks, or other important technology assets, chances are they’re going to want to be pretty comfortable with you first. You’ll ultimately want to be perceived as their “trusted advisor” in all technology matters. But how and where to start?

Today I’m going to tell you how to build a killer pitch that will keep your prospect listening long enough so, at a minimum, you can deliver a very important awareness and branding message about your company, and in 50% of the cases, get your prospect to take a positive step to learn more about what you’ve got to offer.

But before I do, I need to broach the touchy subject about who should be doing the calling. In most IT business companies I’ve worked with  (and there’s a LOT of them) I find a reasonable number of pretty outgoing people. But hardly any of them relish the thought of sitting there for a few hours at a time calling perfect strangers to solicit business. So, unless its their full time jobs, they tend to avoid this dirty deed at all cost. But my philosophy has always been, “new business is everybody’s business.”

The fact of the matter is that nobody can drum up new business better than the company CEO, no matter what the size of the company. But he or she is going to need help. Since we’re talking about “building relationships,” the most effective telemarketing programs are those where the people who will actually “own” the relationships after the business is won are the people who should be doing the calling.

The relationship building STARTS with the outbound calling effort! The minute you get that prospect on the phone for that first telemarketing call, is the first and immediate opportunity to begin the relationship building process. If you can get your prospective customers to get to know you, and to trust that you know what you’re doing, you’re more than halfway home free.

Sounds good in theory, I know. But how do you actually make that happen in a predictable way, that you can control as opposed to just “hoping it happens” when you go to the next Chamber of Commerce gathering, Boy Scout meeting, or other networking event?

Well, in previous posts I described for you the process of identifying your target market, purchasing contact lists, and setting up Autotask so that you could set up a “marketing machine” that could touch dozens of targeted and pre-qualified new prospects a day.

I’m assuming that you have your own existing sales strategy that you are deploying around your telemarketing campaign (big assumption, I know. But, no worries… if you’re not there yet, I’ll cover some of that in future blogs).

So for the purposes of this example, I’ll use my fictional IT Services Company, Making Your Computers Work, Inc.. My sales strategy for this company is to offer up monthly executive workshops for the CEOs of small local professional services firms, my specialty. Once I get them to attend, I give them a heck of a lot of valuable information they can immediately use, and some materials to take back with them that allows them to do a self-assessment of their computer systems and network. My game plan is to follow up with each workshop attendee to discuss the outcome of that assessment, and see if I can get in the door for a deeper dive paid engagement. If they never actually did the assessment (which happens in most cases) I’ll make the pitch to come in and do it for them at a small fee, with an offer to credit that fee to future work if they ultimately purchase some of my managed services down the line.

My next challenge is getting my prospects to take my call, and listen to me long enough to make my pitch. You’re busy, right? Well, guess what… your prospects are just as busy as you are. Busier, maybe. And their initial reaction to your call is likely going to be, “Crap… another salesperson who wants to sell me something I don’t need.”

You need to get past that right away. Here’s an example script I invented  in calling John Jones, President of ABC Ad agency. After the script, I will reveal the 10 hidden steps that makes this a “killer pitch:”

“Hello, John. This is David Jones, calling. I’m the CEO of Making Your Computers Work, Incorporated. I run a very specialized and highly successful local computer services company that helps business owners to get the most value out of the technology assets they own today. Because of our 10 years of experience in working with ad agencies like ABC, we can help you to evaluate how well your existing technologies are performing compared to industry norms, and make recommendations about new technologies that might give you a competitive edge.

“I’m not calling today to sell you anything. But I would like you to be my personal guest at an upcoming workshop that I’m leading exclusively for CEOs in our area. It’s a high-level, strategic presentation for business executives that reveals how technology can be more valuable than your best employee, or more damaging to your business than your worst competitor. This is a high level presentation that I will be personally making exclusively for the area’s C-level executives. I’ll give you some actionable tools you can take home evaluate your own technology assets. This workshop will run about 90 minutes, and we’ll save some time at the end for some refreshments and allow you to network with some of the other local business executives who will also be there.  

“And, John, in order to allow for a meaningful exchange with the workshop attendees, I’m limiting this workshop to 20 senior executives per session. I only have a few seats still available for the next workshop, which is coming up next Tuesday. If you can make that one, I can guarantee that none of your competitors will be in the room. From the background research I have on ABC Ad Agency, John, I really think you’ll get a lot out of my session, which is why I’m calling you first. Will you be my guest at this event?”

If I’ve done my targeting right, and I actually get my prospect on the line, half the people I make this pitch to are going to say “yes.” Let’s break the pitch down so you can customize it to match your own sales process:

1.  First of all I’m assuming that you are the business owner or a manager or partner of your company (if not, make up some really important title for yourself to let your prospects know that you are “on their level” so to speak. This will buy you a few important seconds right up front. “Hello, John.  “This is David Jones, calling. I’m the CEO of Making Your Computers Work, Incorporated.”

2. Always use the first name to level the playing field… never use the deferential, “Mr. Jones.”  That’s an immediate reminder that his time is more important than yours.

3. Introduce yourself in a manner that conveys confidence and uniqueness, and communicates the benefits of what you do:  “I run a very specialized and highly successful local computer services company that helps business owners to get the most value out of the technology assets you own today.”

4. Quickly follow up with a statement that reinforces the unique value your services and makes them relevant to the person you are calling: “Because of our 10 years of experience in working with ad agencies like ABC, we can help you to evaluate how well your existing technologies are performing compared to industry norms, and make recommendations about new technologies that might give you a competitive edge. This is a high level presentation that I will be personally making exclusively for the area’s C-level executives. “

5. Before the prospect has a chance to say, “I’m not interested,” lower his guard: “I’m not calling today to sell you anything.”

6. HIt him up with an offer that is personal, exclusive and compelling:  “But I would like you to be my personal guest at an upcoming workshop that I’m leading exclusively for CEOs in our area. It’s a high-level, strategic presentation for business executives that reveals how technology can be more valuable than your best employee, or more damaging to your business than your worst competitor.”

7. Once you’ve got him interested, give him additional incentives to agree: ‘I’ll give you some actionable tools you can take home evaluate your own technology assets. This workshop will run about 90 minutes, and we’ll save some time at the end for some refreshments and allow you to network with some of the other local business executives who will also be there. 

8. Time to create a sense of urgency: “In order to allow for an meaningful exchange with the workshop attendees, I’m limiting this workshop to 20 senior executives per session. I only have a few seats still available for the next workshop, which is coming up next Tuesday.”

9. Continue to sweeten the offer: “If you can make that one, I can guarantee that none of your competitors will be in the room.”

10. Ask for the commitment, and keep it personal: “From the background research I have on ABC Ad Agency, John, I really think you’ll get a lot out of my session, which is why I’m calling you first. Will you be my guest at this event?”

Still Got Questions About Telemarketing?

In future posts, I will share some other approaches you may take to the pitch, other offers you might want to think about, and a discussion about overall sales strategies. We’ll also take a look at marketing to your existing customer base.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this post, feel free to comment below. If you have any other questions regarding best practices in marketing, sales, or business development, send us an email with your suggestion for another post.

Don’t be Pennywise & Pound Foolish With Your Clients

When you’re in business servicing other businesses, it’s too easy to forget that your clients are consumers of your service. They act, and react, based on the same emotional triggers that are present in their personal lives.

Your clients will reward you with unquestioned loyalty in response to your acts of kindness and fair play. On the other hand, when you act in a way that your client perceives to be unfair, unreasonable, or unprofessional, run the high risk of losing that client forever.

When A Good Experience Goes Bad 

My wife and I decided to go out to a fun restaurant that we hadn’t been to in a while. The last few times we were there, the service was very slow. But the food and the atmosphere was good, and we had the time, to we figured we’d give it another shot.

When we arrived, we were immediately seated, the server was prompt and even allowed us to taste a few of the different beers before deciding which one to order. Our food came right away, and the server checked back frequently to see how we were doing. We were very pleasantly surprised by this experience, and I was already thinking about putting the restuarant back into our regular rotation. But then it happened.

On a whim, we agreed to the server’s suggestion of carrot cake for dessert, just about the time when a huge party took their seats. The coffee came right away, but no dessert. We could see the flurry around the big party. Our server was AWOL. About 15 minutes passed before she checked back to apologize for the delay, explaining that “the kitchen was backed up. She did offer a warm up on the coffee, which also took some time to come, but still no dessert. It ultimately took longer to get the dessert than it took us to order and eat the entire meal.

How To Turn The Situation Around

At that point I remember thinking,  “I’m never doing this again.” But then, another surprise. The server came back with my check, apologized for the delay in getting us our dessert, and told me that they were not charging us for the carrot cake. I can’t tell you how good that gesture made me feel. It wasn’t the $3 savings. It was the fact that this business knew they did something that lessened my experience at their restaurant  (maybe even out of their control at the time) and they cared about that, and they cared about me as a customer.

The ROI Of A Small Concession

So, what does this mean in terms of business profitability? I spent $40 with them that evening. It could have been the last dollar they ever got from me. But because they invested $3 in customer relationship management (their actual cost of the cake was much less),  my overall experience that night was positive.  I’ll probably go back there another 10 times this year (assuming they keep doing the right thing), representing $400-$500 in top line revenue.

So, let’s bring it back to you and your business. The next time you encounter a situation where your client appears to be upset or unhappy with the service you delivered, even if you disagree, making a small concession on the fee you charged might be all that’s necessary to turn the situation around.  You’ll be showing your clients that you care about them, that their opinion matters, and as consumers they will respond with their continued loyalty.

Don’t Take “No” For An Answer When Marketing

There is simply no getting around it. You MUST continue to acquire new business. Even if you don’t have any plans or desire to GROW your company, no customers last forever, so that means winning new business just to maintain your current level of activity.

Marketing and selling is hard work, and doesn’t come easy for IT professionals I talk to every day. But I’ve found that a lot of the dread is fear of the unknown, and fear of failure. Marketing and sales is very much a numbers game. You need to kiss a lot of toads before one turns into a prince (or princess). That translates into a lot of rejection, and who likes that?

Here’s one thing to keep in mind that might help keep you motivated as you are seeking new business. The availability of new technology products and solutions is growing weekly. And the technology that’s in your prospects’ hands is getting older, and more obsolete with each passing day. That all spells new opportunities continuing to open up for you … all the time. You need to keep in mind what a dynamic market we’re in. Just because a potential new customer says “no” to you today, does not mean that you should write that prospect off. There are TWO factors to keep in mind when you are running your marketing campaigns: You need to reach the RIGHT PROSPECTS at the RIGHT TIME.

When prospects are “shopping,” – that is, if they are coming to you as a result of whatever advertising or word-of-mouth you have going – then you know it’s the right time, but they may not be the right people, and they are probably looking at your competition, too. But it’s pretty easy to quickly qualify them, which is why you advertise in the first place.

But if you are not getting enough “shoppers” knocking on your door, you need to take proactive action, and start prospecting. It’s fairly easy for you to get a list of target prospects to make sure they are the right people. It’s a lot harder, though, to know when it’s the right time for any given prospect. All the stars need to be in alignment for the timing to be right: they have to have the need right then; they have to have the money; they have to have the time; and they have to lack the resources and desire to do the work themselves.

So, when you make those calls, letters and e-mails, brace yourself for the majority of your prospects who never to respond, and worse, the many who tell you they don’t need your services. But what they are really telling you is that they don’t need your services “now.”  However, circumstances change all the time. The prospect may grow. Some key employee may quit. Some of their hardware may be coming to end of life. Or, it could be as simple is you caught the guy on “a good day.” It all points to the requirement that you diligently reach out to your prospects (including your long-dormant customers) on a regular basis. Monthly is not too frequent.

In other posts, I’ll talk some more about some of the strategies in building your ongoing marketing campaign.

Think and act big, even if you’re small

Every now and then you run into someone who’s just starting out, and you say to yourself, “that guy (or gal) is going to be successful.” I met one of those people today. His name is Josh.

When I reached out to Josh, I knew nothing more about him or his company than that which I learned from his web site. I had no idea how big the company was, or what Josh’s role was.

When he told me that he IS the company, I was surprised. He’s got a part time admin who works 24 hours a week, answering phones, putting stuff into Autotask (his business management tool), and handling basic support. The rest is all Josh.  I just assumed from the way the web site was built and the content that was there, that the company was bigger.  This is exactly what Josh hopes will happen when prospective customers visit his site.

It didn’t take a major investment for Josh to put the site up. He used a commercially-available template, and then put a bunch of his own time into getting some basic content up there to give him a credible presence in the marketplace. This is important for Josh. He’s been an IT consultant since 1996, but in January of 2005 he decided that he was going to start an IT services company.

Now, more than three years later, he’s still a one-man-band. The fact that few people who interact with the company are aware of this is only partially satisfying for Josh. He’d rather it not be an illusion that he’s larger, and he has plans to grow to 5, then 10, then 15 people in the not-too-distant future.

The main reason that Josh hasn’t started to staff up yet, is that he’s still building the foundation he knows will be required to support a large organization.

“As a consultant, I’ve seen a lot of good ways to run a business and a lot of bad ones,” Josh told me. “The best ones were all built from the ground up with a design in mind. A real plan. The ones that are pieced together as they grow are the ones that struggle.”

Rather than “rushing it” and bringing people on board, continually reinventing the company, retooling the back-end systems, re-engineering basic business processes and redefining services as the company grows… Josh is deliberately planning all of these things, and testing them out himself so that when he is ready to grow, it will happen quickly, smoothly, and efficiently with no surprises.

That’s why, even though it’s just him and his part-time admin, Josh elected to get started right with quite a bit of technology that is allowing him to support more than a dozen commercial clients — including a 60-PC account with four locations, plus four SOHO accounts, and another 40-some-odd residential customers.

Of course he’s working hard and putting in the hours. But he’s getting pretty close to his coming out party. Probably the biggest thing he still needs to work out is that dreaded sales and marketing thing. Right now, he’s living and growing on referrals (like many us).  Referrals currently account for 90% of his new business. But he’s hired a marketing coach, which is an important first step, and he’s got a number of experiments planned, including a regular newsletter highlighting his services, some informal free lunch-and-learn webinars, and some added content to his site.

Whatever he does, however, you can bank on the fact that Josh is doing the right things, and doing things right. That’s why I’m saying to myself — and you all — “this guy is going to be successful.”

7 Tips On The Ins & Outs Of Google Advertising

In some of my webinars, I talk about a really terrific web site that has all of the elements of success — great content, great organization, and all the rest — but it failed to generate anything significant in terms of leads. Be sure to check out www.result-it.co.uk because it’s got some great elements worth emulating.

Lee, the owner of the site told me that he tried using Google Adwords to drive more qualified prospects to his site. But he was quickly discouraged by the lack of results. He said he purchased the five most popular keywords with links right to his home page. He felt he was paying a premium for the keywords he picked, but wasn’t seeing any leads come from the effort. He couldn’t see how this was going to work for him, and gave up.

Unfortunately, advertising effectively on Google (or any search engine) isn’t quite that easy. If it were, we’d all be doing it successfully. For those of you who have also tried this and failed, or for those of you who plan to give it a whirl for the first time, visit my Marketing Mastermind blog on this subject.

1. BIDDING… There is a bit of art and a bit of science to the bidding. You want to bid high enough to get you enough visibility and enough action, without overspending. Start low and work your way up. The name of the game is not how much you agree to pay per click; it’s what did it cost you to generate a lead — and ultimately win a new customer — and what is that business worth to you? If a customer is worth 10,000 (Dollars or Pound Sterling) over the lifetime as your client, what would you be willing to spend to buy him or her? 1,000? 2,000? 5,000? Pick a number as your acceptable cost of acquisition and work backwards from there. To keep the math simple, say you are willing to spend 500 to win a new customer. Now say only 1 in five of your leads converts to a customer. That means you can spend 100 per lead. Next, figure only 1 out of every 20 clicks on a given keyword converts to a lead. That means you can spend up to 5 per click to have it all work out. So, the better your conversion at each stage in the process, the more you can bid and/or the lower your cost of acquisition.

2. KEYWORDS… bid on lots of them at first and see what is generating the most traffic for you. Google has a tool that will estimate the number of impressions your ads will get based on your bid price. This is by no means accurate, but it will give you at least a relative sense of which keywords and phrases are more popular. It’s always a good idea to type these keywords into Google yourself and see what pops up…both in terms of natural listings as well as who else is buying those keywords. You’ll want to refresh the page a few times, and Google will rotate the ads… especially the ones further down the page that are competing to get more exposure.  Just because a keyword or phrase is going to generate more impressions or exposure, does not mean it will work better for you. The name of the game is getting the RIGHT PEOPLE to click on your ad for the RIGHT REASONS. Picking the right Keywords will help you get the right people. You ads will help to make sure they are clicking for the right reasons (see next point). So test many, and then weed out the ones that don’t generate the results you want, either because not enough people are clicking through, or the wrong people are clicking through.

3. ADS. Google does not give you much room to be creative. The format is the same for everyone. One short headline, with two lines of copy… all of which have severe character limitations. Your ads MUST function in a very narrow window of being compelling enough to attract attention, but very clear in intention so that you limit the number of people clicking through for the WRONG reasons. The more specific you can be, the better. So rather than try to attract someone with broad “IT Services” or “IT solutions” for your region, pick a more narrow topic to generate that lead. Pick just one of your specific services at a time and try promoting that with keywords and ad copy to match. The chances are that someone needing one of your services will likely need others. You can use other vehicles to drive traffic on your more broad, holistic offering. Also, it is super important to test different ad copy. The likelihood of you nailing this on your first crack is very low. When we do keyword testing, we usually run three to five different ads against the same keyword. Google allows you to set this up so that the ads are rotated. Be sure to choose the setting that will serve up all ads equally, rather than the Google default, which is to serve up the one that gets the most clicks the most. You don’t care about clicks as much as you care about leads! Give all your ads an equal shot.

4. LANDING PAGES. You absolutely, positively, MUST create a landing page for your ads. Don’t send people to your home page, where they can get distracted and lost in the sauce. Ideally, your ads should point to a specific web page that relates directly back to the keyword and the ad you wrote, pays it off, and has compelling offer and lead form right on that page, or one click away. As with the ads, you will want to experiment with different landing pages. You need to optimize this page. Try different headlines. Different offers. Different images. Different copy. Different forms. Only swap out one element at a time. For advanced  users, Google has a tool that will allow you to create different modular content (such as multiple headlines, images, and copy) and Google will mix it up in all possible permutations so you can tell what is influencing results. Whether you use this tool, or just swap out elements one at a time, the key here is to keep testing and try to continually improve the results. Be sure that you use tracking codes on your lead forms so you can do the analysis.

5. LEAD FORM. You will want to capture enough information about your leads so that you can do some quick qualification. Make contact fields mandatory. If they don’t want to tell you who they are and how to reach them, they are not serious prospects. And don’t be shy about asking a few qualifying questions, including how big they are, what they are looking for, and what (or who) they are using today. As with your ad copy and your landing pages, you will want to test the wording and the layout of your form. If you are getting people to hit your form, but not complete it, you need to make some changes.

6. REMARKETING. If you have an ad agency or graphic designer you can tap into to build some banner ads, I strongly recommend you take advantage of Google’s remarketing program. This tracks people who visit your site, and then when they visit other sites that carry Google advertising (and there are a lot of them) Google will serve up your ads at no additional cost. You only pay when someone clicks on them. Meanwhile, your prospects will be amazed at how much advertising you’re doing, and how you seem to be “everywhere.”

7. RAPID RESPONSE.  Last but not least, if you have set up a system where leads are coming in from your web site, be sure that you have a mechanism in place so that you are alerted when the lead comes in, and you have the resources to jump all over that prospect. It is sad to say but true: too many solution providers go through the effort to generate leads, only to have them get stale sitting in the e-mail inbox. These things have a pretty short shelf life. If someone is shopping, they want something now. If you don’t get back to them promptly, they’ll go looking elsewhere.

Those are some of my best suggestions. Anybody else using Google Adwords effectively? If so, please share with us what techniques you use, and what you find works in this space.

How To Create A Presentation Topic That Wins New Business

One proven business-building technique that works for virtually any service business is to develop a presentation on a topic that will attract and appeal to your target market.

There are a variety of forums for delivering your presentation — including guest speaking at someone else’s event, putting on your own “lunch and learn” session at a local venue, or broadcasting a webinar over the internet.

But whatever the forum, a big factor in your success is in picking the right topic, and finding a catchy and compelling title for it. The more compelling and relevant your topic is to the target audience, the more participation you will see, and the greater the likelihood that you’ll end up with some new clients as a result.

Unfortunately, like most things in business, this is easier said than done and there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer. But here are a few tips to guide you:

1. Go with a subject you know. The place to start is with YOUR own expertise and service offerings. If the ultimate goal is building business, then you’ll want your topic to relate to something you know a lot about, and are good at. So, if you have a strength in network security, use that as a topic. If you have practice around disaster recovery and back-ups, go with business continuity.

2. Develop a specific theme. You need to come up with a good theme or main idea for your topic. So while you might speak about “Network Security” or “Business Continuity” as noted above, both are way too broad. Those would be your “subjects,” not topics. Don’t go the other way, though, and make the topic too narrow. For example, if your subject is Network Security, you wouldn’t want to have your topic be around creating strong passwords, which you could explain in five minutes or less. What is the business point do you want to get across? Try something like common security holes that get over-looked in business.

3. Factor in your target audience. If you are targeting a fairly broad group of prospects — such as small and medium-sized businesses — then your topic will need to hit on the lowest common denominator that would be of equal interest to all, whether they are in real estate, construction, law or the public sector. But if you are targeting a specific vertical market, then you’ll want to narrow down your topic to hit its specific hot buttons, such as HIPPA or Electronic Medical Records for Healthcare providers, or Printer/Plotter options and 3-D apps for Architects.

4. Develop a compelling title. If you expect busy business people to take time out of their day to attend your event — or select your topic over the next guy’s — then you better promise that they will come away learning something. Starting your topic with “How To” is a pretty straight-forward way to communicate that you will be delivering meaningful information. If you are reading this post now, you can see what I mean. An example might be, “How to Automate Your Inventory Management on a Budget” for an audience of small retail business owners. Your title promises that they will learn how to solve what is probably a nagging problem they have, in an affordable way. Alternatively, if you are going to offer up concrete tips and suggestions in your presentation, count them up and include that in your title… something like, “Ten Tips For Protecting Your Computer Assets Against Theft And Damage.”

5. Try to make your topic, well, “topical.” Keep an eye on the headlines and see what the big issues of the day are. If the issue is big enough more than just a passing news blip for the day, try to tap into the inherent interest in the topic. For example, if you are located in the Southern or coastal parts of the US, and this is hurricane season, and a good way to tie in the importance of disaster recovery. When we’re in the political season… is there something in the tax or technology proposals of the major candidates that fits into your business? Of course, you could always pull something out of what’s topical in the industry. But just be careful not to get too far ahead of your audience, who may not be following these trends as closely as you.

It’s pretty easy to “test market” your ideas. Take an hour or so and brainstorm with others in your business about possible topics based on what you are expert in, what you sell, who you sell to, what they want/need, and what’s “topical” today. Come up with the biggest list of ideas you can. Then take the top three-to-five and bounce them off some of your existing customers who match the profile of your prospects, asking them to rank the topics in order of interest.