Most financial professionals are really good talkers. We like people and we tend to be out-going and friendly.
This trait is important when you are in a relationship-oriented business. However, sometimes your natural ability to talk does not work for you on the phone.
When setting an appointment with a new prospect, it is critical to come across in a professional manner. Although you want to sound natural and friendly, that does not mean eliminating a script. It means having a script that:
says what you want it to
sounds like you and the way you normally talk; and
has “natural-sounding” sentences that get your point across.
The challenge starts with your script. If you write a “literary” script that would work for an SAT exam, then it won’t come across in a conversational way. So the trick to sounding natural is to write the script and then PRACTICE!!
I conduct role-playing sessions with several agencies. I am appalled that someone who professes to be a financial professional would get on the phone without knowing what they are going to say. And the newer you are, the less you can fake your way through a call.
I hear producers say many, many good things over the phone, but when they aren’t linked together properly (i.e. having a beginning, middle and end that matches my ABCDEFG format) the impact of the words gets lost.
You have to clearly identify yourself based on your relationship to the prospect; then:
tell them why you are calling (and it’s not to get the appointment);
mention the idea of getting together; and
give them the benefit of the appointment. Don’t interrupt the flow with a yes-no question (“Does that interest you?”) or you lose control of the call. You end with your alternative choice close and then you are done. Then wait to hear their response.
If you think you sound scripted, then improve your delivery. Don’t throw out the structured format just because you haven’t mastered your use of it!
You can be sure that if your managers and peers think you sound like you are ad-libbing, then the prospect hears it too. Ad-libbing does not come across as friendly; it sounds like you are grasping for words and that reduces the professionalism of your call.
Write a good script, practice it so you can “talk” it, then make your calls!
Keep smilin’ and dialin’