As mentioned in earlier blog posts, staying assumptive is quite possibly the most sought after attribute a conversational marketing expert (CME) can acquire while making blood recruitment phone calls. Although it is a very nice weapon to add to the arsenal, if not done properly, there is a chance you can come off as abrasive or aggressive. There is a very fine line between staying assumptive and being aggressive; as a CME, there needs to be some clarity on the subject.
- Staying assumptive is an attribute that some of the best Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs) have, but may not yet have mastered. When recruiting blood donors, riding the fine line between assumptive and aggressive is a pretty common occurrence. However, just by altering your voice inflection and using choice words, you can stay on the assumptive side of that fine line and be quite successful. When on a blood recruitment phone call, the number-one thing to remember is to assume that the donor you’re talking to wants to donate again, especially because they’ve already donated in the past. Having the mindset that they want to donate again gives you the ability to play on your strengths and on their weaknesses. When using the LAMA format, (Listen, Acknowledge, Make a statement, Ask a question), questions that receive a direct answer need to be asked to ensure you deliver a successful rebuttal to get the appointment and stay in call control. While doing this, though, you need to be 100% positive that the phrases you’re choosing are not going to come off as abrasive or aggressive to the donor, which could very well decrease the relationship with the donor.
- The phrases that you choose to use decipher the outcome of the phone call, and directly affect the relationship between the donor and the donor center. If not used properly, these phrases could potentially demean the donor in a way that is not lucrative. Assumptive phrases that tend to work out quite well also can come off as aggressive if not used in the right format or if used with the wrong voice inflection. “What normally works better for you: a weekday or weekend?” is an assumptive phrase that I tend to use quite frequently. When using this phrase, I make sure that I sound as if I’m very willing to work with their schedule, ecstatic about having them come back to donate, and, most importantly, like I truly care about their well-being and the cause itself (which I do). When you take that phrase and use voice inflection that doesn’t portray those values and ideas, it can easily be interpreted as invading the donor’s personal space or life and, as mentioned earlier, can push the donor away very easily. Even when using these assumptive phrases in the earlier part of my career as a Conversational Marketing Expert (CME), I encountered times where the donor would tell me that “I don’t need to answer that question. I’ll donate when I have the time.” But as I came to learn, to be successful in using these assumptive phrases, you need to care about the donor.
- Being aggressive in phone calls isn’t necessarily a bad thing, depending on the interpretation and the context in which it is used. If you ask me, being assumptive and being aggressive are almost one in the same. The difference between the two is simply the voice inflection you apply to each phone call to suit the needs of the donor and to match their mood, pitch, and speed. Staying aggressive and trying to get an appointment shows that you truly want the donor to come back to donate, but if you don’t choose to apply the correct voice inflection on specific words (or actually listen to the donor), you go from being assumptive and conversational to being over-the-top and aggressive. Listening to what the donor has to say and altering your LAMA and voice inflection to help them in every way possible are the key factors in deciphering the difference between being assumptive and aggressive. If you listen to what the donor says, you can better tailor your assumptive phrases and questions to make sure that they know you heard what they said and that there is an option for them.
Overall, voice inflection and actually listening to the donor (not just hearing what they’re saying) are the keys to staying on the assumptive side of the never-ending fine line between aggressive and assumptive. To be successful, you have to take the initiative to get the donors to schedule but, while doing so, always remember that you’re working to get them scheduled and to find the most convenient option for the donor. If after your second attempt at getting the donor scheduled using an assumptive phrase you cannot get them scheduled, make sure you apologize and let the donor know that we could always use their support. Even if the assumptive phrase does not work, the majority of the time in my personal phone calls the donor thanks me for reminding them how important it is to donate, and that they will make an effort to do so. Always remember that the donor comes first, and you’re working to help save lives across the country.
For more information about LAMA, please visit McKee Consulting LLC