Why You Should Use Scripts to Sell Over The Phone
Get tips and advice for building and using scripts to improve presentation skills when cold calling and selling over the phone.
Cold Calling and selling over the phone are critical to the success of most sales professionals. In article 102, I provided you with the anatomy of a cold call and gave you an example of what a basic cold call sounds like. What you heard was my basic cold call script. It is a script that I’ve repeated so many times I can do it without thinking.
Why You Should Use Scripts to Sell Over the Phone
Why do I use a script? A practiced script makes my voice intonation, speaking style, and flow sound professional. It also helps me sound competent.
Scripts will make you better at selling over the phone. They will make you sound more professional and knowledgeable. Scripts have the added benefit of freeing your mind to focus on your message and your audience rather than on the words you use. And scripts work so well in sales because we have many repetitive activities, like making cold calls, setting appointments, making follow-up calls, giving elevator speeches, offering product demos, answering questions, making presentations, overcoming objections, and making closes. When you have a script you never have to worry about what to say.
Why Using a Script Helps
If you really want to observe the power of scripts just notice the difference in our president Barack Obama when his is speaking off script. You will notice when he is giving a speech with the teleprompter, which is a script, he is incredibly convincing. But without a script he often stumbles on his words, and makes many of the same mistakes we make in normal conversation. Scripts are what make most politicians compelling personalities.
Successful Salespeople Use Scripts
Over the years I’ve discovered two key differences in salespeople who are successful on the phone and those who are not. The first difference is that successful salespeople overcome their fear of "no" and make calls. The second difference is that they all use scripts. However, when I stand in front of a group of salespeople and utter the word, “script,” the first thing I usually hear are groans. In the face of the overwhelming evidence that scripts work in sales, most salespeople still reject them off hand.
I hear all of the regular excuses, including my favorite, “I don’t sound like myself when I use a script.”
To that I answer, “Good, that is the whole point. The primary objective of the script is to make you sound different and to project a professional message.”
The rebuttal is always the same, “But you don’t understand Jeb, I’ll sound canned.”
Scripts Don't Have to Make You Sound Canned
The fear of sounding canned is legitimate. If I sounded canned on this podcast you would tune out, and if actors and politicians sounded canned, TV shows and movies wouldn’t be entertaining and speeches wouldn’t be believable. But that is exactly why actors, politicians, and top sales professionals rehearse and practice. They work and work until the script sounds natural and becomes their voice.
[[AdMiddle]This is what most salespeople don’t get. Whether it is a big presentation or a routine call to set an appointment, the words that come out of your mouth must be practiced to make the best impression on your prospect or customer. Scripts are a powerful way to manage your message, but they must be rehearsed.
When salespeople complain that scripts make them sound canned, what they are really saying is, “I’m too lazy," or "I don’t care enough about my own success to take time to write my script and rehearse it.” They are willing to shoot from the hip and bet their quota and income on the roll of the dice. Sadly, this is the exact reason that the top 20% of sales professionals make 80% of the commissions. They are simply willing to do the things that average salespeople are unwilling to do.
How to Write Scripts for Selling Over the Phone
The question you should ask yourself is, “Am I committed to being my best?” If the answer is yes then you will make the time to create scripts for all of your activities. I won’t feed you a line and tell you this will be easy, because it is not. Writing and practicing scripts will require you to think, and it will be time consuming. The good news is you are already using scripts for some of your sales activities--you already have the habit of saying certain things certain ways. The first step is to analyze what you are already doing and formalize what is working into a script that can be repeated with success, time and again. There are tons of resources available to help you including the Complete Book of Phone Scripts, which you will find on SalesGravy.com.
As you prepare your scripts, practice and perfect them. Use a recorder, a role play buddy, or coach to help you rehearse. Over time, your scripts will become second nature, your confidence will improve, your income will increase, and you will move into the ranks of the elite Sales Professionals.
This is Jeb Blount, the Sales Guy. If you have a sales question please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.