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how do I turn a script into a conversation?

I would like a few pointers on how to be more personable with potential clients I pitch to. Specifically good examples of, and the best way to use, open ended and leading questions. your help will be very usefull to me. thank you - by tc100
I would like a few pointers on how to be more personable with potential clients I pitch to. Specifically good examples of, and the best way to use, open ended and leading questions. your help will be very usefull to me. thank you
I see you profiled yourself as intermediate. What training have you taken, whether on your own or company provided? It would help some of the people here to assess your current level before attempting to help you. What form of sales are you in? - by Ace Coldiron
Easy ... throw away the script ! As long as you have a script you are not present. You cannot be sensitive to the prospect's needs.

Question should be appropriate to the situation, not "canned". - by TonyB
I would like a few pointers on how to be more personable with potential clients I pitch to. Specifically good examples of, and the best way to use, open ended and leading questions. your help will be very usefull to me. thank you
It's a great question, tc. 2 questions:

1. What kind of script do you use?

2. what do you sell?

3. When do you use your script (prospect? cold calling in person? first meeting? presentation? etc.). - by Skip Anderson
I create scripts and then use them to GUIDE my conversations rather than CONTROL my conversations. By writing down the the things that are important to cover and keeping the script in front of me, it helps me have better conversations.

Further, as I have conversations, I update the script to the actual words I use. That means that over time the script becomes quite conversational.

By the way, it is important to find a way to record your conversations so you can play them back to 1. write out what you said and how you said it, and 2. get better at what you do.


Jerry - by jdedwa11
It's a great question, tc. 2 questions:

1. What kind of script do you use?

2. what do you sell?

3. When do you use your script (prospect? cold calling in person? first meeting? presentation? etc.).

Skip, basically i cold call, with leads given to me by my company, accredited investors to introduce my company's current venture, which is a domestic oil and gas drilling operation. then i pass along the information on the "willing and able" to my senior associate, who gives my a commission on my prospects she closes. i use a pretty generic script mainly just as a guide.

i hope that helps skip. thanks - by tc100
tc,

I agree with Jerry. A script better serves as a guide rather than an absolute. Do dry runs - leave vmails for yourself and your colleagues - how does it sound? What feedback do they have for you? It's important to use a script so you stay on point, but it's also important that it doesn't sound like a script. That takes practice.

There's also a difference between a live contact and leaving a voicemail. I tend to use a script when leaving voicemails and a list of questions when having a live conversation (with a brief script at the front end). Both ensure you stay on your talking points, convey the messages you need to and, in the case of a live conversation, gather the information necessaray to move the call forward.

I hope this helps.
Stephen

ps. If you'd like to improve your skills with asking open ended questions, consider enrolling in some professional development courses. Take a look at MWI's Negotiation Training programs - these are the types of skills we teach: www.mwi.org/negotiation. - by sfrenkel
I just posted a fairly lengthy explanation of when to use OPEN and CLOSED probes in another thread, perhaps you should read that post instead of me repeating it here. The thread is about CONTROLLING THE CONVERSATION, most post begins with;

You are getting the right idea Rich.
The thread link is;

http://www.salespractice.com/forums/t-5092.html - by Gold Calling
Thanks for all the feedback guys it really helps. I'm opening a new thread about opening for cold calls, I hope you all can give me more advise. thank you - by tc100
I value scripts a great deal, because I value word choice so much. My entire career has been spent tweaking and perfecting words to get the desired result, so you won't find me in the "scripts are too limiting camp."

Having said that, scripts have a purpose: to tell you what to say. By definition, a conversation is NOT following a script, but there may be elements of scripted information within the dialog.

Now, if your question is more about "how do I investigate customer needs on the phone" or "how do I do open up conversation on the phone, that's another matter.

I have to say I admire Gold calling's explanation of open and closed probes that he refers to in the other thread. It's a must-read for all! - by Skip Anderson
The key to turning a script into a conversation is training yourself to not rely on the script. Instead, become very comfortable with the concepts behind the script by asking yourself the following questions:
  • What is each question in the script intended to uncover?
  • What business problems am I looking for when I talk to a prospect?
  • What questions can I ask that will help me determine whether a prospect has a specific business problem?
  • If I find a prospect has one of the business problems I am looking for (because my product or service can solve that business problem), what questions can I ask to quantify the impact (associate a dollar amount or percentage) of the business problem?
  • If the prospect expresses interest in engaging in a sales cycle, what questions can I ask to determine whether the prospect is worthy of the time and resource investments required to manage the sales cycle?
If you make a master list of business problems and qualifying questions, it is easy to jump around in that list while following the flow of the conversation. If you are reliant on a script, it is far too easy for the conversation to stall when a prospect says something that does not follow the script.

The bottom line is, if you know what you are looking for, it is easy to look for it in a conversational manner. Do some advance preparation and it will enable you to "cut the ties" to your script. - by Alan Rigg
It's a great question, tc. 2 questions:

1. What kind of script do you use?

2. what do you sell?

3. When do you use your script (prospect? cold calling in person? first meeting? presentation? etc.).

Nice questions Skip.

Ramon - by salesconsciousness
I would like a few pointers on how to be more personable with potential clients I pitch to. Specifically good examples of, and the best way to use, open ended and leading questions. your help will be very usefull to me. thank you
Besides answering Skip questions I will suggest only one thing:

-practice

Then, the script will start revealing by itself and then will flow with it.

Ramon - by salesconsciousness
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