Good sales scripts:
- are purposeful – have a clear reason why you are calling someone;
- use language the customer understands;
- are designed for the benefit of the listener with it always being “the prospects choice” to accept or reject what they hear;
- are brief and allow for questions and conversations;
- aim to achieve a result – an appointment, donation, purchase, feedback, etc;
- are planned not canned –they are flexible, allowing the sales person to adapt to the different needs or queries of the prospect whilst maintaining the integrity of the call’s purpose;
- leave the prospect feeling valued and informed, even if they choose not to proceed with you in this instance; and,
- are pleasant, respectful and engaging.
Sales scripts are not meant to be regurgitated word for word with no deviation, nor are they meant to be a one-sided affair. This type of approach is called ‘canned’ scripting. You would think that in this day and age we would have ditched these ‘canned scripts’ but they still happen. See the Cluetrain Manifesto (a resulting force that rose out of the discontentment people experience with businesses and how they fail to communicate with people).
Building on this and taking the canned script one step further, some companies and political parties have even ditched the live person on the other end of the phone and opted for a recording instead. And this is supposed to engage us? This is free-to-air television advertising or junk mail in disguise. At least with television we can choose what we watch and we can put a ‘no junk mail’ sign on our letter box but getting ‘canned’ advertising over the phone takes the biscuit in my opinion. Yes there is the ‘do not call’ register which you can sign up to, however resorting to ‘recorded messages’ is lazy and only serves to create more angst in the already heated area of telemarketing.
If done properly, telephone sales is a very effective way of getting in contact with legitimate prospects. But when scripting removes the ability to genuinely listen and respond to a customer, we all suffer.
If you want to create positive and memorable experiences for your customers, members, donors or subscribers then seek to engage with them in a meaningful way. Don’t force your sales people to be rooted to the spot and limited by a one-size-fits all script. Trust your team to engage with people in meaningful ways by giving them the guidelines and tools they need to communicate effectively with the wide variety of people they encounter on a daily basis. The autonomy this gives your people puts back interest and challenge in the task of making effective prospecting calls and in the process might make the customers, members, donors or subscribers’ experience that much better.
Remember everybody lives by selling something.