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Warding off pushy language

Posted by Deidre Rienzo on

Welcome to Week 50 of my adventure of following the Start Up Grow Your Business Marketing Plan + Calendar and Week 13 as a member of the Marketing Plan Group. In my posts, I talk about my voyage down the road of self-employment as a website copywriter, my achievements and roadblocks along the way, and what I’m learning from my group experience.

The goal of a research call is to get people to share information with you about their businesses — to let you in — and to plant the seeds of a relationship in case they might need your help (now, or in the future).

The goal of a cold call is to sell.

This is why cold calling gets such a bad rap. You can hear one coming from a mile away — and they usually leave you feeling, well, cold. This is also why we renamed our calls to be "research" calls.
This week, my group and I worked on our research calling scripts so that they opened a relationship instead of closed one. We worked on the language and wanted to eliminate anything that might come off as cold, rude, or pushy — in exchange for warmer language that promoted relationship growth.
It's amazing to know that words have this power — and that the words you choose can either make a prospect feel comfortable and receptive, or put off, defensive, or downright angry.
We all know that people don't respond well to "pushy," and on today's group call, I realized that what might not seem "pushy" to me can seem "pushy" to my prospects. What else did I learn? That running your cold calling script by your (practice) prospects is a great idea because they can provide excellent feedback.
In the pursuit of a good cold calling script, we didn't realize that some words, sentences and phrases, as innocent as they seemed on paper, came off less innocently when read out loud. Fortunately, tweaking a word or two can make a big difference in how your outreach feels to your prospect.
Here is an example:
I'd like to help your business.
I'd like to see if I might be able to help your business.
The first sentence assumes that your prospects' business needs help, and that you're the person to help them — and since they may not know that yet — it can rub them the wrong way.
Slightly rephrasing the sentence allows your prospect to feel more comfortable. It allows them to choose to open up, instead of to feel defensive and close down.
This doesn't mean you should never be assertive or direct. It just means that those first seeds of a relationship need tender care in order to grow.

In my script, I currently mention that "I pay a referral fee for each page of copy that I write." I never realized it, but my group members, who are also my prospects (designers) said this came off a little pushy and had a cheap salesy feel. They all agreed that they wanted to know more about what I could do before they knew about money issues.
The reason I had it in there is because I saw it as an incentive but it never occurred to me that it could feel cheap.
What do you think?
Any suggestions on how to phrase your research calls so your prospects are more receptive?

  • More in: Cold Calling, Marketing Plan Group Journal, Marketing Plan in Action, Posts by Deidre

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