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sales scripts vs "winging it"

Do you think sales scripts have lost their effectiveness as far as getting the person on the end of the phone interested in your product or service, and in YOU? I've worked in a few different sales jobs and I've come across some awful scripts and it seems the best salespeople are the ones who are prepared to improvise with their words, think on their feet and get the prospect involved in conversation early on in the process. My thinking is that everyone is different and likes to be spoken to or "sold" to in a way that makes each person feel treated like an individual and valued and scripts are almost counterintuitive to that process. Do you agree or have I missed something in the logic?

Another thing is I've tried using scripts myself, however it seems once you repeat a script ad nauseum the words tend to lose their music and the result is a nice script spoken by a dull, boring voice - and studies prove people respond more to how something is said rather than what is said. How do you repeat something over and over and still manage to sound enthusiastic, genuine and interesting?

Also do you think it's a good idea to go into a call with a plan in mind yet leave it open enough to adapt the language, content, voice inflection etc to suit the personality of the prospect, hence heighten receptivity and build rapport? Or do scripts still rule? - by sales_ace
Do you think sales scripts have lost their effectiveness as far as getting the person on the end of the phone interested in your product or service, and in YOU? I've worked in a few different sales jobs and I've come across some awful scripts and it seems the best salespeople are the ones who are prepared to improvise with their words, think on their feet and get the prospect involved in conversation early on in the process. My thinking is that everyone is different and likes to be spoken to or "sold" to in a way that makes each person feel treated like an individual and valued and scripts are almost counterintuitive to that process. Do you agree or have I missed something in the logic?

Another thing is I've tried using scripts myself, however it seems once you repeat a script ad nauseum the words tend to lose their music and the result is a nice script spoken by a dull, boring voice - and studies prove people respond more to how something is said rather than what is said. How do you repeat something over and over and still manage to sound enthusiastic, genuine and interesting?

Also do you think it's a good idea to go into a call with a plan in mind yet leave it open enough to adapt the language, content, voice inflection etc to suit the personality of the prospect, hence heighten receptivity and build rapport? Or do scripts still rule?

This is a very common debate but it's discussed as an either/or that is the problem.

I was in door-to-door cold-call sales for 30 years and can reveal what worked for me.

Sit down and write your own opening. Memorize it and never change. Why never? What if you said something different every time you met the next prospect and your ratio was 2 sales out of 20 calls. Do you know why your ratio is low? Is it the product? Is it your personality? Maybe the prospect simply didn't need anything. How do you know? Or, maybe its your opening.

By eliminating the opening as an unknown variable you can then focus on the real reason why you are not selling and improve the flow of your own words. Also, you can focus on them.

When you have your opening memorized your mind can focus elsewhere. In fact, each morning I would practice saying my opening and reading the material on a wall behind the prospect at the same time. Eventually, I could conduct a conversation with the prospect and still read bill of ladings, fliers, notices, regulations, safety rules, birthday cards, time cards, etc.

This shifted focus from what I am doing to who that person is in the moment, made all the difference in how and what I said next.

So, write out 1-5 scripts and try them with someone you know. And, get opinions from those who match the profile of your ideal client. That script must be very short. In fact, I never mentioned my name only my company name which was placed in a question.

Hi, I'm with ABC corporation have you even seen ....?
Hi, I'm with ABC corporation have you thought of...?

This changes their focus from wondering who you are and what you are selling to the question. That is, I tried to be the non-sales rep. I avoided all sales lingo and spoke like we have known each other for years.

This script should take you from the opening to the beginning of your demonstration or middle of the sale. Once there, follow an outline of the points you want to make and talk again, in your own voice. The corporate suggested scripts sound fake when spoken by the wrong personality.

With this plan my cold-call ratio was 14 out of 20. That is, 20 calls made absolutely cold with referrals being very rare. - by John Voris
An improv comedian once told me to think of your sales script for cold calling like a tree trunk. Get good at it, memorize it, and as you become more comfortable with it, branch off from it. But always return to the trunk, or foundation of it. The longer you do it, the bigger your tree becomes and the more answers you'll have (and subsequently the better your open-ended questions will be!). - by TSizzle
An improv comedian once told me to think of your sales script for cold calling like a tree trunk. Get good at it, memorize it, and as you become more comfortable with it, branch off from it. But always return to the trunk, or foundation of it. The longer you do it, the bigger your tree becomes and the more answers you'll have (and subsequently the better your open-ended questions will be!).
I'm impressed with that perspective. Good forum contribution. - by Gary A Boye
My take on this:

Identify the 20% vital few problems prospects would face on 80% occasions, for which your product/ service is a solution, and create a sales script (initial benefit centered) for each of these problem situations.

Try to find out before hand the most likely problem of the prospect (or make an educated guess based on the known factors, as a last resort) and use that sales script. On at least 50% occasions, you're likely to strike the right chord. If not, you're anyway going to probe, and take it from there.

Ganesan. - by ezynes
80% of communication or less is non-verbal. Tone of voice, sn; attitude will help. But don't underestimate script. - by FrankB
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