If I say “Sales script” it probably creates a negative emotion for most people. That’s because most of us have experienced a really poor cold-caller following a script to the letter and not listening to our responses: Caller: “Good morning, how are you today?” Customer: “Terrible, my dog died” Caller: “Excellent! Now the reason I’m calling today is….” Set aside any sales script related negativity, because you wouldn’t read from a script and use it badly – would you! However, scripts are vital to maximise sales and achieve consistency.

Imagine you have three sales people selling exactly the same product to a list of prospects. One of them continually achieves twice the level of sales that the other two do, but why? It’s easy to say “he’s a better salesperson” and you’d probably be right. But it would be foolish to simply accept that, rather than examining the detailed reasons.

If you were able to get the other two sales people doing exactly what the best one does… the total results would be significantly better! Are you doing that? Sit and watch the best salesperson. How do they initiate the greeting? What words do they use, what’s their attitude, what process are they naturally following? For starters they’re probably speaking confidently, enthusiastically, smiling, and being friendly. They’re probably asking questions and listening to the answers rather than just talking. How do they get the prospect interested, how do they judge the speed of progress, and importantly – they probably ask for the order. How do they end the call and what do they organise as the next step if the prospect was interested?

These are just examples of what to look at – sales calls are actually very complex processes that “good” sales people do naturally or learn to do naturally. And I’d argue that anyone can learn to do it, if they want to and have the opportunity.

Set about observing your sales people – or yourself if it’s just you. Write a bullet point list of all the key steps you follow within a sales call. Especially list the key questions that you’d want to be asked on a call. When completed, consider this your sales script.

Each of your salespeople should be trained on this until they’re able to do it to an agreed standard. It’s no use just telling them or giving them a copy, they need practice to convert the knowledge into skill.

In reality you’ll probably find that you need to create a number of different scripts for use in different circumstances. The steps and the questions are likely to be different between calling with a special offer to sell versus a regular account management relationship call, so use an appropriate script. When you introduce a new member of staff into your sales team, these scripts will form a significant part of the training process. Not only will you be able to get a new starter trained faster, they’ll also be more effective and more consistent with the existing team. But allow some scope for each person to modify what they say so that it sounds natural for them. Are you using sales scripts in your sales team?

Rob Pickering,
Senior Partner & Coach