Every sales organization, with a particular product or service, should have an optimal level of sales scripting in place. While most sales reps will be repelled by the thought of using a sales script, claiming it will make them sound robotic and keep them from being themselves, the right scripting will achieve several desired business results. First, it will provide a system and structure around the sales process to yield consistent results. Secondly, depending on what is being sold, it can provide the framework for compliance, regarding what reps need to say/disclose, and what they are not to say (non-compliance).
Scripting also gives management a tool for providing feedback if reps are falling short of expected results. As I have told reps and managers for years, if you are not following a script and you are also not closing deals, there could be a dozen different things you are doing wrong that could be difficult to pinpoint, but if you are following the scripting and still not closing deals (and it’s a script/process I know yields a certain closing percentage when followed), then that dramatically narrows down what the rep may be doing incorrectly.
The key with scripting is having the right balance for the product or service being sold. In some organizations, the best thing might be to have a word-for-word script in place. For other organizations, the best scripting could be just the main items (introduction, explanation of the product/service, objection/rebuttal responses, the close, etc.) available for the rep to use.
I have found that the best strategy is generally to have both, with the full, word-for-word script required for new hires to use. They will have many things they are trying to do and learn simultaneously (data entry into the company’s CRM or order system, using the phone, knowing what to say, running calculations, closing the deal, answering objections) so by providing a full script, you will remove one part they need to think about. (For a secondary reason for new reps to use a full script in the beginning, see Closing Percentage Improvement.) Depending on the organization, sales reps should graduate from the required full script to a scripting/outline with all the main, required items but not the filler details that make up the rest of the sales conversation.
I have extensive experience in a wide range of B2C products/services with writing scripts from scratch that are then tested and refined to achieve the desired results. Typically, I will take my test script and actually work to close deals myself until I feel the scripting/process can be replicated by other reps with varying degrees of sales skill and experience. I have also built scripts that small sales teams test to optimize them for general use.
I also possess the ability to take a current sales script or process that may not be achieving the desired results, and analyze it along with the sales interactions to determine where improvement could be applied. At times, the scripting or sales training is not strong enough, but with the right application of changes, it can yield more success for the reps and a lower CPA for the company.
Sales Script Tip
Depending on what you are selling, having reps read from a script can actually be the best strategy. Prospects are perpetually worried about being “sold,” so if your reps sound too excited, it could trigger prospects into worrying the rep is trying to take advantage of them. I have found that reading a script makes the rep speak in a calmer tone, which helps prospects lower their barriers. If you have any disclosures your reps have to tell prospects before completing the sale, it’s always good to have them read them because it will feel more official.