by Jeb Blount
We received this question from Bob, an inside sales rep from my old stomping ground, Atlanta, GA. Bob writes:
I am in inside sales and my funnel is anemic. I have a problem creating good scripts that will lead to relationships. If I can get in the door I can push the sales cycle. However, just getting on the call with the right decision maker using the right script is a problem. How do I work on that?
Bob, this is an excellent question and I applaud you for reaching out for help. That takes a lot of courage. I’m also pleased that you see the value in scripts. Most people in your situation flounder because they won’t use a script. But without a script they shoot from the hip and bet their quota and income, on the roll of the dice. In sales winging it is a fast track to failure.
Of course, like you Bob, many salespeople struggle to develop scripts that work. That is understandable because there are few sales training programs that are designed specifically to teach sales professionals how to write scripts. Think about it. Politicians, actors, news anchors, and speakers use scripts. For them having a good script is the only way to be successful. But few of these people actually write their own scripts. Instead they have professionals who do the work for them; and most of these professionals have gone to school or have years of experience in writing scripts.
Yet you get plopped down in an inside sales job where a good script is the difference between success and failure but, you don’t get a professional to write your scripts. It doesn’t seem fair but such is life in the sales profession. The only way you are going to get a script is to write it yourself which would be easy if someone had taught you how. So in this episode I have some tips that will help you begin the process of developing scripts that accelerate your sales success.
The first thing to consider is what scripts you will need. I reached out to Mike Brooks, who is also known a Mr. Inside Sales, to find out which scripts you should be using. According to Mike, at a minimum, you should develop:
Mike says that it is likely you are already using scripts for some of your sales activities but you just don’t know it. You see you already have the habit of saying certain things certain ways again and again. The first step is to analyze what you are already doing.
The next step is to formalize what is working for you into a script that can be repeated with success, time and again. The key is to keep it natural and simple. For example, a great opening script contains an introduction, credibility statement, a reason for your call, and a request.
So an opening script to sell you a program on how to write scripts might sound like this, “Hi Bob, my name is Jeb Blount, I’m the host of the Sales Guy podcast on QuickandDirtyTips.com. Our podcast on selling has been downloaded more than 500,000 times by sales pros like you. The reason for my call is to introduce you to a new sales training program designed to teach inside salespeople how to write winning scripts. Is now a good time to talk or should we set an appointment for later?”
I use simple scripts like this every day in my business and they work. Now I have to admit that there isn’t much to this - I like to keep it simple and to the point. Because my call is an interruption in my prospect’s day it shows respect for their time and quickly gets me to a yes, no, or maybe answer which then opens the door to dialogue.
But most people find writing scripts hard because they over complicate the script or put in cheesy lines that make them sound un-natural. One way to avoid this is to just stand in your prospect’s shoes and consider how your script sounds on their end. If you wouldn’t like it you can bet that they won’t either.
Once you have your scripts together practice them into a recorder until they sound natural and conversational. This is something Mike Brooks says is essential to perfecting your scripts. You want your scripts to roll off your tongue automatically. The last thing you want to do is to be thinking about your next line while you prospect is giving you valuable information that could help you close the deal.
I also recommend investing in yourself with books and audio programs that will enhance your script building skills and provide you with templates that will make the job easier. Some of my recommendations include:
And I highly recommend Mike Brooks’s amazing new book:
Of course the most important key is to get started. These tips and resources mean nothing if you don’t take action. However, when you take time to perfect your scripts through analysis, skill development, and practice, 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 in your company.
This is Jeb Blount, the Sales Guy. If you have a sales question please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.