A 2014 guest post of mine titled “Getting to a Yes With Sales Scripting in 7 Easy Steps” made top story in Entrepreneur. Due to its success and the interest it generated, I wanted to provide my readers with a new and expanded version.
Salespeople often get a bad rap. Many believe that for a salesperson to be successful, they must be manipulative and pressure clients into signing that dotted line.
However, this isn’t the case. The word “sales” was originally derived from the Scandinavian phrase “to serve”; a good sales person does exactly that. A salesperson that is truly good at their job doesn’t need to be conniving or manipulative – they simply need to understand the features of what they’re selling, ask questions to determine how these features translate into benefits for any particular client, and make these benefits known. Hard-selling isn’t necessary; once the benefits are explained, all that is left to do is ask the client to take that next step.
Personally, I find that when the sales process runs smoothly, it’s merely a matter of going through the motions – and before you know it, they’re signing that dotted line!
What is sales scripting?
Sales scripting is basically the process of transcribing your sales call – from questions and jokes, through to stories and how you close the sale.
Sales scripting is a very useful tool, as it ensures that the sales process is the same each and every time. Once you determine what works well for your business, a sales script allows you to roll out a “recipe for success” to all of your sales staff.
A carefully planned sales script has the ability to make the world of difference to a business, and I can’t recommend it enough. It also goes a long way to helping people overcome what I identified in a recent post as the seven self-destructive sales mindsets.
How do you create a great sales script?
So how do you even go about setting up a sales script? It may sound like a mammoth task, but when you break it down into steps it’s relatively simple.
Here’s how it works:
- Gain an understanding of how sales actually works.
Whether you’re selling a revolutionary product or an everyday service, the sales process doesn’t actually vary that much. Many businesses believe that their situation is different to others; however this perception is generally the result of an inconsistent sales process.
In actual fact, 90% of all sales interactions are the same. With this being the case, it makes it quite easy to script your sales process – you just need to understand how your average sale works!
- A scripted sale doesn’t equate to being fake.
In fact when carefully planned, a scripted sale can have quite the opposite effect.
A lot of sales people fear that a planned sales script will leave them sounding insincere and even deceitful – however, this isn’t the case. Think about a story you frequently tell your friends and family – perhaps of a special time in your life or how something horrible once happened to you. Surely the more you tell this story the better you get at telling it, and the more engaging it becomes to the listener.
Are you being insincere and deceitful? NO, you’re just sharing the truth in a more engaging way. The same principle applies to sales; once you find the right story (i.e. one that resonates with your clients), it makes sense to continue using the same narrative.
A great story doesn’t make a salesperson any less genuine. Rather, a great story will increase your confidence and in the process improve client engagement levels – motivating them to buy.
- Break it down into steps.
If creating an entire sales script seems daunting, break it down into steps or “chapters.”
After the enquiry/cold phone call for an appointment, it’s possible to break the sales process down into fourteen critical stages or steps. Of these fourteen steps, the seven critical points to remember are:
- Establishing trust and building rapport
- The introduction and creation of an agenda
- Probing questions
- A presentation
- Stories that demonstrate success
- A trial close
- Closing of the sale
- Record and review your sales.
The best way to start creating your business sales script is to record three or four sales appointments (with permission from prospective clients) and then listen to the recordings.
Some sales meetings run more smoothly than others – it should be fairly easy to determine which were the most successful. Transcribe the best meeting and use this as a basis for your sales script. You may also find that some meetings had successful components; select the parts that worked well, and add these to your sales script where applicable.
- Create a list of pros and cons.
No matter what you’re selling, customers are going to perceive both benefit and potential problems from your product or service. These are what I like to call “elephants in the room”; they may be uncomfortable to talk about, but you can bet your bottom dollar prospective clients will want to discuss them. You may think it’s best to avoid them and hope the client doesn’t bring them up, however, I can guarantee that this isn’t in your best interest. Avoiding these elephants may not lead to the client asking about them, but it is likely to lead to the dreaded response: “let me think about it.” It is best to get them out there and in front of them.
Create a list of both the tangible and intangible benefits of what you’re selling, as well as a list of any potential elephants you may need to address. These elephants or objections may be concerns such as service issues or past product defects.
The best way to address these elephants is to create stories of why these were past issues, but are certainly not a problem anymore. Alternatively, stories of a person “just like them” that had the same concern are effective. These stories should explain how shortly after using the product or service, the person had a specific success – and what they were concerned about never eventuated.
In my post “Story Telling: The Key to Sales Success” I describe in detail how stories can help you overcome elephants in the room and build credibility. However, for now I will just say pick your best one for each elephant, have them recorded and transcribed, and then work out how to fit them into your script.
- Set up a presentation folder.
A presentation folder makes sales progression much easier for sales people. Your folder should include:
- Client-probing questions
- Quotation sheets
- Testimonials from past clients (and these should back up your sales stories)
- Required paperwork to close the sale
- After-the-sale leave behinds
- Seek professional advice – there’s always room for improvement!
There is always room to improve each component of your sales script. YouTube is a useful resource and a great place to commence research.
When I was just starting out, YouTube took me from a shy introverted kid that took 93 doors to make my first sale, to the top performing sales person in the nation in just a matter of weeks. Start like I did, by focusing on one component of your sales script at a time. For each new chapter of the script, take a look at what the “sales experts” recommend to gain the knowledge and then go out to test and increase your skill.
Once you have researched and improved each component of your sales script, it may be worth consulting a master sales coach – they’ll be able to offer further insight and improvements.
Sales success is only a script away!
A carefully crafted sales script allows you to take control of the sales process – and this means far less is left to chance.
While it may take a couple of months to perfect, a great sales script has the ability to transform your sales process from unpredictable and disjointed to smooth and successful.
Getting prospective clients to sign that dotted line isn’t about being manipulative or pushy; it’s about telling a great story and letting your clients come to their own conclusions. Great sales people (with great sales scripts) find that getting a “yes” comes naturally – and they also find the journey enjoyable!
Before you go to work, leave me a comment below and let me know what kind of concerns (if any) you have about sales scripting and I will direct you to the right advice. As a bonus, let me know what you’re going to do now that you’ve read this post.
Finally, if you think your friends/network would find this useful, please share it with them – I’d really appreciate it.