Actually, let me restate that: Over the years, I’ve heard thousands of unsuccessful sales professionals say that. Successful sales professionals understand that having a script – a set process that they follow when interacting with customers – is critical. Even the successful sales pros who swear they don’t use scripts follow the same path with each customer conversation; they’ve internalized their scripts so deeply they don’t even know they’re following them. It makes sense, because unless you’re in improv-comedy, success comes to those who can reliably and consistently repeat a set of skills at a high level of competence. You don’t see professional baseball players re-inventing their swing every time they come to plate.
When you have a scripted sales presentation, you know what to say and more importantly, you know why you are saying it and how to say it. Most salespeople feel that their conversations are always different – but they really aren’t. The solutions you present, the features and benefits you have, and the questions your customers don’t change much. If you have a consistent conversational process, you will share the right information the right way, and for those times when something unexpected does come up, you’ll have a solid foundation that you can modify and build upon.
The common fear is that you’ll sound fake if you follow any sort of scripting. But have you seen a movie or a play? All of the dialogue was written beforehand and the actors sound perfectly natural. Scripts that are internalized aren’t robotic – in fact, your confidence and knowledge can shine because you aren’t stumbling and searching for something to say. And if you think that you are really quick on your feet, you’re losing business because you aren’t as quick as you think you are…
You don’t have to write out every single word you are going to say to a prospect or customer, but there are three areas that will benefit from scripting. It’s worth spending a few minutes in front of the computer writing these out:
- Decide upon the 2-3 discovery questions you are going to ask every prospect in the beginning of your presentation. Memorize word for word.
- What is your “closing question”? Have a specific way that you ask for business every single time – it will help your confidence because it will just roll off of your tongue.
- Develop set responses to the three most common objections your prospects give you.
By the way, if you haven’t written out your sales conversations before, the first few times you follow a script, you will sound stiff , because you are still learning it. But if you remain consistent, you will quickly find that the stiffness fades away, leaving a deep confidence when you work with your prospects and customers. And that’s when good things happen.