While many business owners seem to think that sales scripts will limit their sales staff, the opposite is actually true. A well thought out sales script can actually assist in boosting your sales people’s confidence and helping them to get a consistent message across to potential clients.
Selling is essentially about matching a customer’s needs with the products and services you offer, and ensuring that the value perceived by the customer outweighs the cost. A good sales script empowers the sales person to tackle this process effectively, while also preventing him or her from overselling and making promises that can’t be kept.
Using a sales script is also valuable in helping business owners to test and measure every step of their sales process. Think about it: If you have ten people all using the same script and an issue consistently crops up, it is easier to identify and solve the problem than if everyone is taking a different approach. It narrows down the number of variables.
When to use a script
Now, I get told by many people that their sales staff will hate using a script. And, if the script is bad, that’s understandable. But a good script is just one step in a sales process, and should provide more of a guideline than something that needs to be memorised word for word.
Sales scripts are especially helpful to people who are new to the business, and can help ensure continuity if you ever lose any of your sales staff.
The making of a great script
The number one rule is that the script needs to be about the client, not the product. It needs to help sales people to ascertain what the client needs and wants. You need to spend time listening to a client to understand his or her ‘pain points’ before you can develop a solution that solves them. In fact, your objective is to help the client make a decision, not actually to sell to them. Start with questions.
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“Who is your current service provider? Are you happy with them? Why or why not? What has frustrated you most about dealing with them over the last few months? What would make you consider switching to an alternative provider?”
The second important matter is to understand that sales scripts should not be static. You don’t write one and then stick with it forever. First, role-play the script a few times. Tweak it where necessary. Then, actually record the use of the script. Was it successful? Why or why not? Make changes and test it again. A good script is like a flow chart — there need to be alternative responses that have been thought of, depending on what the prospect says.
Remember also that your script is likely to take some getting used to. It may not flow perfectly the first time, or even the first few times. Use it for a period, and if it’s not working, try something new.
Ensure, though, that your staff are competent with the script before putting it to use, even if this means practising with yourself or each other. Most people tend to read in a monotone, and that’s very off-putting for the customer. Ensure that sales people buy into the script, or customers will pick up on it.
Finally, change your scripts as the market moves. The easiest way to pick up on when it’s time to do this is by tracking your conversion rates. When they drop, it’s time to re-examine the sales script.