I’m not sure why anyone does sales without sales scripts.
Writing and having a sales script next to your phone or on your computer screen is like a warm blanket in a drafty cabin.
You’re naturally going to run into a lot of cold shoulders, but it’s amazing how often having just the right words can turn a conversation.
This is the goal of your writing and using sales scripts. And, it’s essential to sales success.
Before we jump into a practical approach to writing sales scripts, let start with the basics.
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What is a sales script?
A sales script is a conversation framework. A good script should help a salesperson to discover and actively listen to prospects’ needs, position them to concisely articulate features and benefits, and skillfully respond to questions and objections.
Your sales script should not be a word-for-word crutch, but rather a flexible and evolving tool. It also should not be an aggressive, combative battle plan. Instead, a good salesperson uses a sales script much like an actor uses their script – adaptable to you and your prospect’s personality and mood.
Breaking this robotic, and frankly over combative sales script fallacies is critical to writing a highly effective sales script.
Start with personas and scenarios
Sales training for most of the sales jobs you’ll have will begin and end with a “proven” sales deck (if you’re lucky) or a few pieces of sales collateral (PDFs) emailed to you. Typically, that material will contain decent product descriptions and a few benefits, but that’s about it.
My recommendation is to immediately figure out who buys this product and under what circumstances.
These detailed personas and scenarios are the raw materials of a great sales script.
Start with personas. These are detailed user stories about who buys your product. These personas should be as detailed as something like this:
Dan is a 37-year-old husband and father of two boys. He’s a middle manager at XYZ corporation. He owns a home with a 30-year mortgage and two cars, both of which are leases. He lives for the weekends to coach his boys’ little league teams or occasionally gets out on the lake to tool around on the boat.
Then add to that a couple of possible scenarios, like:
- Dan is thinking about life insurance in the normal course of financial planning
- Dan is thinking about life insurance because his buddy just had a heart attack
- Dan’s wife is pushing him to get life insurance
Each of these scenarios would have a slightly different script, but thinking about how you would walk a client, like Dan through each will make your conversations much more productive and likely to end in a new policy.
Make a page for each of these personas and scenarios you can think of or have come across. Thinking in detail about real-life scenarios will help you to write incredibly effective sales scripts, and you’ll start to see patterns in the people and scenarios. These patterns and your responses will become the raw material for your sales scripts.
Play devil’s advocate
Another smart way to build out your sales scripts is to play the devil’s advocate.
- Why wouldn’t you want to talk to you?
- Why wouldn’t you want to buy your product?
- Why would you hesitate to make a decision to buy?
- Why would they consider a different product from the one you’re suggesting?
- Why would they consider a different company instead of yours?
Thinking through all the objections a prospect could throw at you is a smart way to prepare your sales scripts.
Literally go through each benefit and feature in your pitch and take the counterpoint. What might they say? What competitors might they throw up against you?
Develop a chose your own adventure script
With all your personas, scenarios, and objections/responses you’ve got lots of potential angles to ensure a rich conversation with any prospect. Now the challenge is organizing them into usable sales scripts.
Start by creating a list of potential scenarios. Situations and conversations you have probably have many times, even if you’ve done only a few hundred calls, as a new salesperson.
(By the way, if you’ve done less than 100 live calls, use someone else’s sales scripts first)
Once you have a quick list of scenarios, start playing out these conversations in your head, or even talk them out loud. Roleplay both sides of the conversation. Even better, get another salesperson to role play with you.
Every time you get stuck, write down that tough question or objection.
Then go back and carefully craft and practice a response to each of those scenarios and polish off any potential rough patches.
- What if they say, “I already have term insurance”
- What if they say, “What’s whole life insurance? Or, why would I do that?”
- What if they say, “I use Farmer’s”
- What if they say, “I think my company covers that”
From this exercise, you’ll have an incredible playbook. Over time (this should definitely be a routine exercise and a living document) you will have a very organized “chose your own adventure” script.
Use this script to practice, reset from time to time by going back to the basics, and to give to the new folks on the team to make everyone stronger.
Hone your openings and closings
One last area that you should devote a lot of effort to, are your openings and closings.
All the conversations between these two moments will be pretty fluid and necessarily responsive to your prospect. However, these are two moments – the opening and closing – are necessary to close any deal.
So, take the opportunity to really hone these. Craft them, test them, and then practice them over and over. These are two moments when your confidence level has to be super high.
One last thought on this, in an increasingly digital world, make sure you create, test, and practice these openings and closings via video, text message, and email. Believe it or not, more and more deals are started and closed via text and email these days.
- Get out that legal pad or sit down in front of your laptop
- Let your mind drift into that imaginary conversation with a client and start outlining those scenarios and responses
- Take that early script and begin testing it on calls and in roleplaying sales training sessions
- Refine and perfect
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