The title of Bob Franco’s 2016 book pretty much sums up the current state of sales. “Sales: The Hardest Easy Job In The World” emphasizes that while sales jobs are relatively easy to find, they’re not for the faint of heart. For employers, sales jobs are becoming increasingly harder to fill. According to The Wall Street Journal, sales careers have become a tough sell — no pun intended — as the way people research and buy products has changed.
Because people have changed the way they research and buy products, salespeople have had to change their approach, too. Now, the image of the slick-talking salesman is as dusty and dated as a cassette tape player. Today’s customers expect conversations, not sales pitches, and one of the things they value most in those conversations is consistency.
Customers want a consistent experience with your product or service, and they also want a consistent message. Without a consistent message, they’re not sure what you’re selling or why your product or service is better than your competitors’. And, in a world where so many messages are being delivered in rapid fire from every direction, it’s easy for customers to get distracted. Inconsistent messages confuse customers and, as the saying goes, “A confused mind always says no.”
One of the best ways to maintain consistency is by using a sales script. All too often, salespeople are reluctant to use a sales script; after all, no one wants to come off like a telemarketer who’s reading through a flowchart of predetermined responses. But sales scripts are one of the most effective tools you can use to improve results.
Research shows that using the right sales scripts can increase closing rates and conversions. Just as with sending the right email, the key is to create a sales script that is dynamic, engaging and can get the salesperson to where they need to be with the customer, whether that goal is to set an appointment or close a sale.
Writing a Killer Script
A great sales script provides a framework or map that you’re going to follow for your sales call. Planning out in advance what you’re going to say means that you know where you want the conversation to go, and you will be in a better position to guide it.
When you’ve already thought about what you want to say and know your intention for the call, it’s easier to follow through. You’ll have a response ready for objections. You’ll know which key points you want to emphasize and have a reminder to ask for what you want.
Too often, when conversations go off topic, you might forget to ask for the appointment or encourage the sale. Use a script to guide the conversation to your specified goal, and you might be surprised at how it builds your confidence, too. Writing a script takes some work to make sure you’re using words efficiently and disclosing information at the right time. Be willing to invest time in this up front, because it can pay off in the long run. The more you practice it, the more natural it becomes and the easier it is for you to remember your key points.
Before you start writing, identify all of the following:
- Which product or service you want to focus on. A sales script works best when it is targeted to a specific product or service. Knowing what you want to talk about lets you write a more detailed script.
- Who you’re selling to. Different buyer personas have different pain points and needs. As you identify your target customer, you can tailor the script to their needs. This will mean looking at their specific pain points and identifying how you can solve those issues.
- Your purpose or goal in making the call. Is this to set an appointment for a demonstration? Do you want a face-to-face meeting? Or are you trying to close the sale? Over time, you’ll create several sales scripts that can help you in virtually any situation.
7 Elements of a Good Sales Script
No matter what the topic or the goal, a good sales script will follow the same general format. Including these seven elements in your sales script will guide you through the conversation and ensure that you address your key points.
1. Introduction. Of course, every great conversation begins with a great introduction. Say who you are, who you’re with and then ask if you can have a moment of their time. There are many different ways to phrase it, so find an introduction that feels most natural for you.
2. Value statement. Create a one-sentence value statement that immediately demonstrates what you can do for them. You’ll use this right after they’ve responded to your introduction.
3. Disqualifying statement. A disqualifying statement can be helpful if the prospect seems wary; telling them something like, “I’m not sure this is right for you, so may I ask you a couple of questions?” can be an effective way to build rapport and address any skepticism.
4. Qualifying questions. Now it’s time to ask some specific questions about their business to see if they truly are a good fit for you. Questions like, “What has kept you from solving this problem in the past?” or “What does solving this problem mean for you?” can help you better understand how to meet their needs.
5. Pain points. Here’s where your buyer persona research and previous customer experience come in handy. What are common obstacles or pain points? Sharing examples of other people in their industry that you’ve been able to help is a great way to get your prospect’s attention.
6. Interest points. When you’ve established rapport and demonstrated that you understand their pain points, it’s time to give them some even more specific points of interest that will move them closer toward your end goal. Do you want them to set an appointment? Make a purchase? Here’s where you present your most compelling and relevant reasons for them to do so. This is a good place to give examples of how you’ve helped similar clients or how their situation could change if they take that next step.
7. Close. Ending a sales call is a lot like ending a first date. It’s just going to get awkward if you hang around without asking for what you want. There are lots of options when it comes to asking for an appointment or for a sale; try out a couple of approaches and see which one feels best for you.
As you create various scripts for different customers, divergent purposes and varying stages of the buyer’s journey, remember that consistency is critical. Review your scripts to make sure that your messaging is consistent from one script to the next.
Using sales scripts might not come to you naturally but, as you begin to use them and see how they can help increase sales and improve customer relations, you’ll understand why they’re so important — and appreciate what they can do for you.