Persuasive calling skills are essential in any calling agent’s resume. To craft their pitch and deliver it expertly is key to fantastic calling campaign results.
Before they begin any campaign, agents need to think of how they will persuade their target audience to–
- Agree to listen to them.
- Allow them to reconnect for calls in the future.
- Accept what the agent is proposing.
This article explores persuasive calling and how you can design and implement the perfect calling routine for great results.
Components of persuasive calling
According to Prof. Albert Mehrabian of the University of California in Los Angeles, the key ingredients of effective personal communication are:
For a phone call, if we consider the element of body language neutralized (Or so you might think. Read on to find out how body language still plays a role in phone calls), then the words and the tone of the call play a much more significant role.
The recipe for a successful phone call contains–
- The right dialogue.
- The right tone.
- And the perfect follow-up.
Let’s take a look at each of these ingredients in detail.
Crafting your dialogue
Keep your agents on track with calling scripts
No matter how experienced they are, callers are bound to face some anxiety when reaching out to contacts they don’t know. A script can lift some of that pressure by keeping agents on track with what they want to say.
If your agent or volunteer leads the conversation and things are going according to the script, that’s good. But as each respondent answers questions differently, the conversation is bound to go off in different directions. Be sure to keep your script flexible.
One way in which you can make your script dynamic and flexible is by using branching scripts in your campaign. Branching scripts help you–
- Create a script with different branches that change depending on agents’ responses. For example, if your respondent says “yes” to a question such as “Do you like fruits?” your agent can be directed to questions asking them more about fruits. If they say no, agents can branch into a different script.
- Set up the best responses at every stage of the conversation. For example, the follow-up question to “Do you like fruits?” cannot be “So which fruit do you like?” if the respondent has already said no to the first question.
- Ensure your agents do not spend time scrolling through the script to find the correct response for an answer.
Let’s look at how you can craft the perfect script for persuasive calling–
Here’s a structure that your script can follow:
The people on the other end of the line want to know who’s calling and why. Answering those questions at the outset of a call is a good note to start on.
Hello, Amanda. This is Mark, raising funds for Hope Society. How are you this evening?
(Around Holiday Seasons, starting with Happy New Year or Happy Holidays is acceptable.)
Offer some background information
You have introduced yourself and who you represent, but to keep contacts on the line, you need to give them information about your organization.
Keep it short and consider what you are proposing to your contacts.
Introducing yourself is also mandatory under TCPA guidelines, so more the reason to let them know who you are.
Ask leading questions
Chances are, you don’t know enough about the contact you are calling to make a truly effective pitch. Ask questions that will allow you to fill in these knowledge gaps and create a more convincing argument.
Do you mind telling us about the main challenges you face when organizing a conference and recruiting volunteers?
Close the conversation
You don’t always need to make a hard push to convert your contacts on the call. If they need more time to think about your proposition, then giving them that time is always the better option. If this is a cold call, then the above is especially true. On average, agents must make up to 6-8 calls to convert a sales prospect into a customer.
Let them know you will follow up with them through another call or a text message, and then sign off by thanking them for their time. With CallHub, you can set up and send out text message follow-ups after you call a contact.
Say their name, and often
Names hold power. It’s a trope you’ll find familiar in many fantasy books. But as with all tropes, it’s something that’s rooted in reality.
Liberal use of a contact’s name is an excellent way to build a connection with them; here’s why–
- By saying someone’s name, you show that your attention is entirely on them.
- When we hear our name spoken by someone else, we instinctively turn towards them to listen.
Dale Carnegie said it best:
Use connecting words
These three connectors: “as,” “because,” and “that is why,” can improve the effectiveness of the arguments you make with contacts.
Take the example of this study by Ellen Langer at Harvard. Langer asked people if she could cut in line at a library to photocopy some papers:
“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush?”
94% of people agreed to let her use the machine.
“Excuse me; I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?”
60% of people agreed.
You might note: In the first case, she gave a reason for needing to use the Xerox machine, which influenced the positive results.
Further experiments proved otherwise:
“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?”
93% of people agreed.
The reason given here is clearly less convincing than in the first example (everyone is standing at the xerox machine to make copies), but nearly the same percentage of people agreed to let her use the machine.
Take advantage of the Yes Cycle
Humans like being consistent. This is clear from how we talk to other people.
A persuasive caller can take advantage of this tendency.
Put the “Yes” cycle to work by asking people questions to which you know the answer will be yes, before talking about your offer or request. Because of the tendency of the human mind to want to stay consistent, chances are your contact will proceed to answer yes to whatever you are proposing (within reason).
For example, Mary remembered hearing from her boss that the company director she would pitch to went to Disneyland on holiday with his kids. Here’s how she can use it to her advantage:
“So, Jon, how was your summer? Did you end up going to Disneyland?”
“Yes, I did; it was great! Thanks for asking.”
“Awesome! How did your kids like it??”
“Yes, they had a fabulous time!”
“Glad to hear! So, about that proposal I suggested. Do you think it could benefit your organization?
Once you’ve got your contact into the cycle, chances are, the answer to that important question is yes.
Identify their challenges
This part of persuasive calling is about questioning your campaign and its goals and how they address challenges that your target audience faces.
Ask yourself, when preparing to call–
1. What is the problem?
Your target audience needs to know or feel strongly about a particular pain point that your campaign can solve. It could be a product or service you are selling, a donation campaign to raise funds, or a political campaign asking for votes – identify what challenges or concerns your target audience is facing and how your campaign solves them.
2. What happens if you don’t solve it?
This is where your skills for persuasive calling will be honed. Answering this question gives you insight into what your target audience faces, and you can connect with them instantly if you get this one right.
For example, a political phone banking campaign can discuss all the repercussions their voter base may face if the opponent wins.
3. Who is affected by this problem, and how?
Understanding who is affected by this problem will help you narrow down your ideal target audience. Ask yourself–
- Who will benefit the most from what I am proposing? For example, a business looking for tax deductions might be looking to donate to a nonprofit.
- Are there people who will be negatively affected if they do not solve the problem? For example, maybe your political opponent is supporting policies that may adversely affect the environment and the community’s health.
Reaching out to people whose problems you have the solution to will undoubtedly increase your conversions or goals.
4. Who can solve it?
Well, you! After answering the three questions above, you can include the answers to your script to make your calls persuasive. Design the pitch to directly imply that you are the solution your target audience is looking for!
You can also conduct a short market research campaign to help you gain better insight into the questions above. Read our article How To Set Up Survey Phone Calls For The Best Insights to learn more.
Crafting your tone
Keep it light
Moods are infectious, and by having a pleasant, light-hearted tone, you can subconsciously convince the person on the other end to be more receptive to what you have to say.
Not just that, whether the objective of the call is met or not, both the caller and receiver can come out of it feeling good.
For productive dialogue to occur, there needs to be active listening. Both sides need to be invested in the conversation taking place. As the person making the call, it is much more important for you to take steps to build a rapport with contacts. That means paying attention to what your audience is saying.
On a phone call, that means more than just nodding your head. You want to make it known to your audience that they have your attention.
You can do that by–
- Paraphrasing and repeating the information you receive to show that you are following and showing interest.
- The use of verbal affirmations such as “Yes”, “I understand,” and “Go on” when the speaker pauses.
Read this: 5 Call Center Communication Skills To Train Your Agents On Today to know more essential call center skills that will help your persuasive calling.
Mirror their situation
Mirroring the person you have called makes for a great call persuasion technique. It makes the person on the other end feel understood.
You can use statements such as ‘As someone who also,’ ‘Coming from the same place as you,’ ‘I also feel..’.
Build a good rapport with your audience and make them feel you understand what they are trying to say.
You can also showcase your credentials using phrases such as “As someone who has worked in this industry for 15 years…”.
Harness the power of storytelling
Storytelling can be more effective than fact or data sharing. People are more likely to remember facts and data when wrapped inside a good story. A story adds context and value to a conversation you want to have.
To make highly effective persuasive calls, craft a story around your calling campaign.
Here’s what you can do to build a compelling story:
- Make your audience the story’s hero. Shift the focus away from you, what you are selling, your goals, etc., and focus on your audience, their challenges, and how they can solve them (hint: They can solve the challenges through what you are pitching – but how you include it in your story is your stroke of genius).
- Highlight the hero’s journey. What problems does your hero (target audience) face, the action they take to solve them, and what results do they produce? Do not talk about how you help them solve it; make them feel they decided to opt for your solution.
- Inspire hope. Allow your audience to see what is possible through the story you are telling them.
You might like to read: The perfect nonprofit storytelling approach to create effective messaging that drives action
Use FOMO to your advantage
If you are offering a service that you want contacts to buy into, by emphasizing to your contacts that they risk missing out on something valuable, you have a better chance of them converting.
You can create a sense of urgency by inserting the worry of missing out into their mind. At the same time, it’s important to be genuine when explaining what you or your organization have to offer.
Note your body language
It might seem apparent that due to the auditory nature of a phone call, you don’t have to worry about your posture during a call. With that being said, it’s entirely possible for listeners to pick up on traces of your posture in your voice.
There’s a clear connection between a speaker’s body language, inflection, and energy.
You can use that to your advantage. In most cases, you can create the tone you want to convey over a call by altering your physical location.
Want to appear upbeat and energetic?
Try walking around and actively using physical gestures.
To convey a casual tone of voice, you can try smiling as you speak
Once you do your research and establish plausible contact personas, these mental exercises will help you approach the conversation with the right attitude and deliver a persuasive message.
Offer social proof
People need to see corroboration before they commit to something.
Nobody wants to regret the decisions they make.
Show your audience the success stories of other organizations that took advantage of your services. If you’re a nonprofit soliciting donation, then talk about how the donations you receive are helping your cause.
Once you assure them that other people have decided to make similar choices, they will be more willing to buy-in.
Case studies like this are examples of social proof: Sheila for Congress: How MMS Broadcasts Won Her Votes. You need to replicate the same but in the form of a call.
Talk like an expert, or like you know one.
If you happen to be an expert on the subject matter you are calling about, It’s a given that your contacts will trust you based on that authority.
Not an expert? No problem. Invoke the authority of others for a more convincing conversation.
There are several ways you can invoke someone else’s expertise in your discussions:
- Quote a statistic from research.
- Quote a line from an expert.
Even without direct expertise, you can bring in trust by association as an effective persuasion tool.
Craft your follow-ups
Believe it or not, your follow-ups are the most crucial factor in converting cold calls.
One way to do it is to schedule a follow-up call with each contact later. Another option is to shoot them a text message immediately after a call.
Send text message follow-ups.
You can send a follow-up text message to reiterate your call in your contacts’ minds.
You can send a follow-up to–
- Confirm an appointment.
- Send a calendar link for a demo.
- Link to a donation page or petition.
- Get RSVPs for an event and more.
The text’s objective is to ensure that the contact completes the action he promised over call.
That is why having a call center software capable of sending texts from calling campaigns will help improve the efficiency of your calling campaigns.
Surveys are a great way to gauge the effectiveness of your persuasive calling. Plus, they act as an additional touchpoint to your end customer or target audience.
There are two points at which you can conduct a survey–
- Before the campaign begins, to understand your target audience and their challenges.
- After the campaign, to understand how effective your call was and what they felt about your organization.
You can conduct phone or text surveys depending on your audience’s preferred method and the platform that gives you higher responses. A phone survey will allow you to have a conversation at length and gain additional insights. Text surveys, on the other hand, are quick, efficient ways to get a large number of people to respond.
The way forward
Persuasive calling is easy to achieve when you follow industry best practices that enable you to get great results.
While improving your calling campaign with great techniques, you might also want to consider call features that boost your campaign. Read our article The Complete Call Center Software Buyer’s Guide: What to Look Out For to know which call center software to opt for or, if you already have one, which features to explore.