Any time I hear or read a sales trainer demean the use of scripts, they lose credibility with me.
Sometimes the problem is in their definition of a script, which usually has more to do with the delivery, such as reading a script in a monotone voice.
I suggest you look at a script like an actor, and deliver it the same way. Otherwise, “winging it” and generally being unprepared usually yields horrible results.
It’s quite simple, really. If you can prepare for what you’ll say, and then edit, practice, and fine-tune it, why wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t turn in a rough draft if you were going to write a very high-profile article in your industry publication would you? But a rough draft is precisely what you deliver when you aren’t totally prepared on calls.
Every day, salespeople insist on diving blindly into calls, and puking all over themselves with the first words that come to mind.
Would a surgeon walk into an operating room, slap on the gloves and say, “OK, give me the knife. By the way, what are we doing with this guy?”
Would a lawyer dash into a trial, pop open a briefcase, begin an opening argument, then turn and whisper to the client, “What are we working on here again?”
In either case, I hope not.
Let’s grade your level of preparedness as of right now in each of these areas.
Screeners and Assistants
Can you instantly provide a response to the question, ”What is this in reference to?” And I mean a good, results-oriented answer, not one that gets you screened out.
Opening Statements and Voice Mail
These most certainly need to be prepared, word-for-word.
Ever hear, “I’m not interested,” at the beginning of a call? Are you able to breeze past this reflex response—which isn’t a real objection, by the way. We covered it here in the May issue—and engage them in conversation, moving them to a state of interest and curiosity?
Unexpected Answers to Questions
We’re all able to build sales momentum when they follow the script we’d like … answering questions with the positive, interest-filled responses that lead to our objective. But what about the ones we DON’T want? The ones that resemble a hard-drive crash, wiping away all of your memory.
Too many sales reps dread objections because they feel that to deal with them they must “overcome” them with a canned, argumentative answer. Those types of “rebuttals” actually throw gasoline on the fire. Instead, we must be prepared with questions.
In each of these areas, I recommend the same prescription for excellence: work and preparation. There’s no easy way to sound smooth.
A sales rep told me at a recent training seminar, ”You make it look so easy, coming up with quickanswers. How do you do it?”
Oh, it was easy, I told him. After almost 30 years, over 1500 sales training presentations, thousands of sales calls, and thousands of hours of writing, reading, and practicing, it just comes naturally.
C’mon, no one is naturally smooth. Although almost everyone can sound that way. But we must be un-smooth and uncomfortable first. Before you can golf in the 80’s, you go through the 90’s.
If you want to raise yourself to the next level, go back to the basics and beyond.
Lock yourself in a room with a pad of paper. Begin by writing out the headings above, and any other difficult situations you encounter.
Then, stretch, knead, and rack your mind until you create word-for-word statements, responses and questions you’re comfortable with. Go to the archives of Smart Calling Online to get examples to work from.
Then, go to the next level. Like a military strategist preparing for all possible scenarios, brainstorm for their possible responses. Keep repeating the process. Then practice it out loud. Role play with a partner.
Recite—don’t read—into a recorder.
What’s great about this is that the more you practice, the better you become, which means better results. Which means you have more fun on calls. Which also means you’re more confident.
And people will be saying about you, “You sound so smooth! You’re a natural.”
(For over 30 years Art Sobczak has helped sales pros use the right words by phone to get the results they want. Get more free tips from him every week, and see back issues of his weekly tips here.)