Use Scripts to Increase Sales Immediately
What do, playbooks, prompts, guides and screenplay/scripts all have in common?
They are all popular tools that dictate or guide human behavior toward a desired outcome.
Playbooks help coaches tell sports teams specifically how to play the game to overcome an opponent. Prompts help to kick-start writers and other creative professionals when stuck in a rut. Guides provide a series of instructions so that a person or team of people can complete or implement a specific task. A screenplay or script is a written work by screenwriters for a film, video game or television program. In them, the movement, actions, expression, and dialogues of the characters are also narrated in order to have something, that sustains widespread popularity and achieves enormous sales and success such as Titanic, Harry Potter, Avatar which combined have grossed over 3 billion dollars. Never have any doubts in your mind about the value of a good script.
If you’re in the business of sales, you also know about sales scripts. Sales scripts are tools that guide salespeople during interactions or conversations with potential customers.
A large number of businesses use scripts, either as a way of maintaining consistency amongst a sales team, training new salespeople, or enhancing their sales skills. They may have a single script, or several, and may change their scripts regularly, or use the same one for years.
What most businesses overlook, however, is that the sales script is a living, breathing, changing member of their sales team. They may be internal documents, but they deserve just as much time and effort as your marketing collateral.
Do You Really Need a Script?
The short answer is yes. You absolutely need a script for any and every customer interaction you and your salespeople may find yourselves in.
Sure, countless business owners and salespeople work every day without a script. If you own your own business, chances are you’re already a pretty good salesperson. But if you are not using scripts, you’re only working at half of your true potential – or half of your potential earnings.
Scripts don’t have to be “cheesy” or read verbatim. They act as a map for your sales process, and provide prompts to trigger your memory and keep you on track. How many times have you made a cold call that didn’t
work out the way you wanted it to? Scripts dramatically improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your sales processes.
A comprehensive set of scripts will also keep a level of consistency amongst your salespeople and the customer service they provide your clients.
Once scripts are written, memorized, and rehearsed, they become like film scripts; the salesperson can breathe their own life and personality into the conversation, while staying focused on the call’s objectives.
Why Your Scripts Aren’t Working
If you a currently using scripts in your business, are they working? Are they as effective as they could possibly be? How do you know? When was the last time they were reviewed or updated?
Scripts are like any other element of your marketing campaign – they need to be tested and measured for results, and changed based on what is or is not working.
Measure the success of your script based on your conversion rates. Of all the people you speak to and use the script, how many are being converted from leads to sales?
When evaluating your existing scripts, ask yourself the following questions:
How old is this script? What was it written for? Scripts are living, breathing members of your company. They need to be written and rewritten and rewritten again as the needs of your customers change, your product or services change, or as new strategies are implemented.
Does this script address all the customer objections we regularly hear? Every time you hear a customer raise an objection that is not included on the script, add it. The power of your script lies in the ability to anticipate customer concerns, and answer them before they’re raised.
Does this script sound the same as the others? Your scripts are part of the package that represents you as a company. There should be a consistent feel or approach throughout your scripts that your customers will recognize and feel confident dealing with.
Is everyone using the script? Who on your team regularly uses these scripts? Just the junior staff? Only the top-performing staff? Make sure everyone is singing from the same song sheet – your customers will appreciate the consistency.
Types of Scripts
Depending on the product or service you offer and the marketing strategies you have chosen, there are countless types of scripts you could potentially prepare for your business,
When you sit down to create your scripts, it would be wise to start by making a list of all the instances you and your staff members interact with
your existing or potential customers. Then, prioritize the list from most to least important, and start writing from the top.
Here are some commonly used scripts, and their purposes:
Sales presentation script
Each time you or your sales staff make a presentation, they should be using the same or a slightly modified version of the same script. This script will include sample icebreakers, a presentation on benefits and features of the product or service, and a list of possible objections and responses. These scripts should also help alleviate some of the nervousness or anxiety associated with public speaking.
Closing scripts help you do just that: close the sale. This could include a list of closing prompts or statements to get the transaction started. This type of script also includes a list of possible customer objections, and planned responses.
Incoming phone call script
Everyone who calls your business should be treated the same way; consistent information should be gathered and provided to the customer. The person answering the phone should state the company name, department name, and their own name in the initial greeting. This goes for both the main line, and each individual or department extension.
Cold call script
This is one of the most important scripts you can perfect for your business. The cold call script must master the art of quickly getting the attention of the customer, then engaging and persuading them with the benefits of the product or service. The caller needs to establish common ground with the potential customer, and find a way to get them talking through open-ended questions.
Direct mail follow-up script
Scripts for outgoing calls that are intended to follow up on a direct mail piece are essential for every direct mail campaign. They are designed to call qualified leads that have already received information and an offer, and convert them into customers. These scripts should focus on enticing customers to act, and overcoming any objections that may have prevented them from acting sooner.
Market research script
Scripts that are used primarily for the purpose of gathering information should be designed to get the customer talking. A focus on open-ended questions and relationship building statements will help to relax the customer, and encourage honest dialogue.
Difficult customer script
Just like every salesperson needs to practice the sales process, you and your staff also need to practice your ability to handle difficult customers.
If you operate a retail business this is especially important, as difficult customers often present themselves in front of other customers. These scripts should help you diffuse the situation, calm the customer down, and then handle their objections.
Creating powerful scripts is not a complicated exercise, but it will take some time to complete. Focus on the most vital scripts for your business first, and engage the assistance of your sales staff in drafting or reviewing the scripts.
Your Script Binder
Keep master copies of all of your scripts in one organized place. An effective way to do this is to create a binder, and use tabs to separate each type of script.
You will also want to create a separate tab for customer objections, and list every single customer objection you have ever heard in relation to your product or service. Find a way to organize each objection so you can easily find them – group them by category or separate them with tabs.
Then, list your responses next to each objection – there should be several responses to each objection created with different customer types in mind. A master list of customer objections and responses is an invaluable tool for any business owner, salesperson, and script writer. The more responses you can think of, the better.
Remember, the script binder is never “finished.” You will need to make sure that it is updated and added to on a regular basis.
Writing Scripts – Step by Step
Step One: Record What You’re Doing Now
If you aren’t using scripts – or even if you are – start by recording yourself in action. Use video or audio recording to tape yourself on the phone, in a sales presentation, or with a customer.
Make notes on your body language, word choice, customer reaction and body language, responses to objections, and closing statements.
You may also wish to ask an associate to make notes on your performance and discuss them with you in a constructive fashion.
Step Two: Evaluate What You’re Doing Wrong
Take a look at your notes, and ask yourself the following questions:
- How are you engaging the customer?
- Are you building common ground and trust?
- Does what you are saying matter to the customer?
- Is your offer a powerful one?
- What objections are raised?
- How are you dealing with them?
- What objections are you avoiding?
- How natural is your close?
- Are you as effective as you think you can be?
Once you have answered and made notes in response to these questions, make a list of things you need to improve, and how you think you might go about doing so. Do you need to strengthen your closing statements? Do you need to brainstorm more responses to objections? Remember that everyone’s script and sales process can be improved.
Step Three: Decide Who the Script is For
So now that you know the elements of your script you need to work on, you can begin drafting your new script, or revising an old one.
The first part of writing a script – or any piece of marketing material – is having a strong understanding of who you are writing it for. Who is your target audience? What does your ideal customer look like? Consider demographic characteristics like age, sex, location, income, occupation and marital status. Be as specific as possible. What are their purchase patterns? What motivates them to spend money?
If you are writing a cold call script, you will need to develop or purchase a list of people who fall into the target market specifics you have established. If you are writing a sales script for in-store customers, then spend some time reviewing what types of customers find their way into your place of business.
You will want to use words that your target audience will not only understand, but relate to and resonate with. Use sensory language that will trigger emotional and feeling responses – I need this, this will solve that problem, I’ll feel better if I have this, etc.
Step Four: Decide What You Want to Say
There are typically five sections of every script – and there may be more, depending on the type and purpose of script:
- Get their attention or pique their interest
- Establish common ground
- Build trust, be human
- Ask for their time
- Ask + Qualify
- Take control of the conversation by asking questions
- Focus on open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a “yes” or “no”
- Get the customer talking
- Ask as many questions as you need to get information on the customer’s needs and purchase motivations
- Get Agreement
- Ask closed-ended questions you are sure they will respond with “yes”
- Get them to agree on the benefits of the product or service
- Repeat key points back to the customer to gain agreement
- Overcome Objections
- Anticipate objections based on customer comments, then refute them
- Make informative assumptions about their thought process, identify with their concern, then refute it using your own experiences
- Repeat concerns back to the customer to let them know you have heard them
- Ask about any remaining objections before you close
- Assume that you have overcome all objections, and have the sale
- Ask the customer transactional questions, like delivery timing and payment method
- Be as confident and natural as possible
Step Five: Train Your Staff
Once you have written your company’s scripts, you will need to ensure your staff understand and are comfortable using them.
Consider having a team meeting, and use role play to review each of the scripts. This will encourage your salespeople to practice amongst each other, and strengthen their sales skills. Ask them for feedback on the scripts, and make any necessary changes.
You will also need to decide how comfortable you are having your salespeople personalizing the scripts to suit their own styles. Be clear what elements of the script are “company standards” and essential techniques, but also be flexible with your team.
Step Six: Continually Revise
After you have carefully crafted your script, put it to the test. Practice on your colleagues, friends, and family. Get their feedback, and make changes.
Remember that scripts will need to change and evolve as your business changes and evolves, and new products or services are introduced. Keep your script binder on your desk at all times, and continually make changes and improvements to it.
You may also wish to record and evaluate your performance on a regular basis. This is an exercise you could incorporate into regular employee reviews, to use as a constructive tool for staff development.
- Practice anticipating and eliciting real objections – including the ones your customer doesn’t want to raise.
- Make the script yours – it should look, feel, and sound like you naturally do, not like you’re reading off the page.
- Spend time with the masters. If there is a salesperson you admire in your community, ask to observe them in action. Take notes on their performance, and the techniques they use for success.
- If your script is not successful, ask the customer why not? Even if you don’t get the sale, you’ll get a new objection you can craft responses to and never get stumped by it again.
- Don’t fear objections. Just spend time identifying as many as possible, then practice overcoming them.
- Never stop thinking of responses to customer objections. Each objection could potentially have 30 responses, geared toward specific customer types.
- Anecdotes are persuasive writing tools – use them in your scripts. People enjoy hearing stories, especially stories that relate to them and their experiences, frustrations, and troubles. Let the story sell your product or service for you.
- Include body language in your scripts – it’s just as important as your words. Try mimicking your subject’s posture, arm position, and seating position. This is proven to create ease and build trust.
- If you only have your voice, use it. Pay attention to tone, language choice, speed, and background noise. You only have sound to establish a trusting relationships, so do it carefully.
- Be confident, and focus on a positive stream of self-talk to prepare for the call or presentation. Confidence sells.
- Spend time on your closing scripts, as they are a critical component of your presentation or phone call. This can be a challenging part of the sales process, so practice, practice, practice.