What is a Call Guide?

The term 'call guide' is often mistakenly considered synonymous with the term 'script.'  Perhaps in some circles, that is, indeed the case, but not at eti.  Since our inception in 1987, we have never used scripts. Scripts are intended to be delivered verbatim by Telephone Sales Representatives (TSR’s) as they conduct their interactions with prospects.  Most times these scripts are TELL-type documents that essentially require the TSR to deliver/read the exact canned message regardless of the responses or needs of the person they are calling.  The key skills for the caller are outwardly focused on reading a message as opposed to engaging in a dialog, probing and listening for need, pain and interest and being able to adjust accordingly.

Why a script?  Because TSR’s working in such environments usually cannot be trusted to engage in a meaningful discussion with their prospects.  Neither their educational background nor their business experience gives them the ability to undertake the essential consultative dialog that is required.

Typically, the script structure has a fixed blurb about the product / service / charity / politician being sold or promoted and then some responses are provided for the most frequent questions and or objections.  Scripts are generally used in low-cost consumer and fund raising environments or in commodity Business-to-Business (B2B) applications where brand and market positioning are not as important as breadth of coverage.  They are also often used in high-pressure boiler rooms where 'dialing for dollars is the name of the game.

Call Guides, on the other hand, are used to engage a prospect in a focused discussion (a consultative dialog) between a Business Developer (BD) and a prospect.  Call Guides do not dictate in any way exactly what must be said, how or in what sequence.  Instead, they set a framework for the prospective conversation.  In our world, a call guide is comprised of probing questions that are designed to stimulate a discussion about the product, service or solution about which we are calling and how it might benefit their organization.  The idea is to seek and develop a “mutual perception of need” between our clients’ offerings and the needs of the prospect organization.  Ultimately, it is there to provide a road map for the BD to navigate the prospecting waters in order for both parties to assess the potential for a mutually valuable business relationship.

Generally, Call Guides are used in sophisticated B2B environments for more complex lead generation and qualification programs.  Using call guides requires BD’s with solid education, intelligence, relationship development skills, business acumen, aptitude and comfort engaging in a consultative relationship with someone who typically knows far more than they do about the topics being discussed.  These are precisely the characteristics that we seek when evaluating people to work as BDs at ETI Sales Support.

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