Over the years I’ve heard thousands of sales professionals say, “I don’t like using sales scripts. It sounds so robotic and stiff and it just doesn’t work.”
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 key to success.
There’s a reason why following scripts can help: Used correctly, they help build trust.
Prospects Respond to Confidence
You’ve probably heard the advice, “It’s not just what you say but how you say it.” That connects with the reality that communication is much more than an exchange of facts and data. When we communicate with someone else we’re also exchanging emotions, enthusiasm, and opinions.
We don’t even realize we’re doing it because a lot of this interaction happens on a subconscious level. But it happens constantly.
It’s why we don’t have much confidence in someone who mumbles, doesn’t make eye-contact, and has more filler words like “um” than actual words. If they are a salesperson, they might have a fantastic solution. Their information might be great, but it’s a lot harder to trust them.
Sales Scripts Create a Repeatable Path
When you script parts of your sales presentation, you know what to say. More importantly, you know why you are saying it and how you should say it. 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.
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.
It allows you to focus on the emotional connection you have with your conversational partner when you aren’t trying to think of what to say. And you can respond more effectively to them because you are paying attention.
Scripting Your Approach Makes You More Professional
In most professions (unless you’re a professional improv-comedian) 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. And you shouldn’t reinvent the wheel in every conversation.
The common fear is that you’ll sound fake if you follow a script.
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, the actors confidence and knowledge can shine because they aren’t stumbling and searching for something to say.
Sure, it can be hard to see untrained actors because they do sound like robots. Well, if you aren’t an amateur, that won’t be a problem. Put the time and energy into learning your lines and your confidence will shine through.
Start Your Own Script
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:
1. Decide upon the 2-3 discovery questions
Ask every prospect these questions in the beginning of your presentation. Memorize word for word.
2. 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.
3. Develop set responses to your three most common objections
When you examine your sales conversations, you’ll find that your prospects give you a relatively small number of objections. Have a clear way to answer each of them.
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. 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.