Let’s face it, salespeople are often annoying and frequently focus too much on their own goals rather than the needs of their customers. On the telephone, the sales process is often worse – too direct and pushy, sounding insincere and untrustworthy. Today, the prospect drives the sale far more than ever before, and the salesperson has much less room and time to do his or her “thing.” The prospect’s interest must be satisfied within just seconds.
So how can you create interest in such a short time window? Consider the old-fashioned sales script, with a modern approach. Sales scripting receives a bad rap. It’s viewed as old-school, with the belief that salespeople need to be more flexible and better able to think on their feet. However, several of my clients have recently asked me to develop a sales script, leading me to reconsider its effectiveness. I believe that when combined with a modern prospecting approach, sales scripts can still enable sales success.
Sales Scripts as Part of the Sales Process
Walking through business parks knocking on doors to learn the name of the decision maker is a dead technique. Modern prospecting requires an understanding of why your current best clients are your best clients. Identify what do you do that brings your customers value and happiness, and then find similar types of companies that may have similar challenges and goals, i.e. where your successes will resonate fast.
Broach the prospect. To make the conversation important, you must be able to explain the value you generate to your top clients. Because the content of those first words must be value-based, a sales script can make it easier. Tell a story around that value. While the content needs to be pre-determined, salespeople need to think, speak and respond fluidly, otherwise the prospect will tune out immediately.
Interest generation will significantly improve when you focus on the prospect, not on your goals – which is all you can hope for early in the sales process. The dialogue needs to be driven towards learning the challenges of the prospect and expressing the value you have brought to others. To that end, pre-planned statements can entice interest and avoid sounding unnatural and robotic. When followed by good listening skills, the salesperson can pivot towards the needs of the prospect, identifying if you can help them, not yourself.
Alleviate Sales Stressors
Sales is often ranked as one of the most stressful jobs. The pressure to say the right thing at the right time can be tremendous. Creating a modern prospecting strategy and process, identifying your best target clients based off the solutions and successes of your best clients, can be facilitated by value statements added to your sales scripting. Pre-planning will remove the stress during the phone call by identifying some of the more specific areas of value, and the best practice methods to draw out the conversation in a positive light. Effectiveness can be improved by carefully choosing the words you want to use, and making observations about what is working and what isn’t working – allowing you to experiment with language choices to see what is most effective.
As with many tools, sales scripting alone is weak. However, when you address the potential needs of prospects by associating what you do well in prepared value statements, you can make sales scripting, and your salesperson, more effective with better outcomes.
Michael Wills is the founder of Top Line Solutions, powered by Sales Xceleration. He specializes in Outsourced Sales Leadership, focusing on revenue growth and sales organization for small and medium-sized businesses. Connect with Michael at [email protected].