- Tape-record yourself talking with someone you know. Then record yourself reading your script.
Have you ever heard yourself calling a prospect and reading your script? Probably not. That’s why most people who use scripts think they sound natural. They’ve never heard themselves. But if you do this simple exercise, you’ll hear the same kinds of differences I hear when people role-play with me.
In our day-to-day personal relationships, we simply want to get to know and communicate with others. But when we go into sales situations using scripts, we have an agenda -- to make the sale. And because scripts trigger the perception that that’s all we want, the people you talk with sense this immediately and put up their guard. Between our hidden agenda and their reaction, there’s no chance to build trust through communication. Also, because we've been taught for so long that we have to control the process, we never stop to think that scripts make it impossible for us to be flexible in how we communicate and build trust.
- Set a new goal for your calls. Focus on simply opening the conversation rather than trying to control it, so prospects will feel comfortable telling you the truth about their situation.
Does surrendering your use of a script seem scary? Try this alternative and see how it feels. Begin the conversation with “Hi, maybe you can help me out for a moment…” Most people will respond with something like, “Sure, how can I help?” You can say, “I’m just calling to see if (problem statement)…,” which makes it easy for the prospect to reply, “What do you mean?” or “Tell me more.” And after that, the possibilities of your conversation are endless.
What do I mean by this? If you target their issues, create a conversation around the problems or issues you know they’re facing, and explain how your solution solves those problems -- in a conversation that is completely void of sales pressure -- prospects will share their truth with you. They’ll tell you whether solving the issue is a priority, whether they have the resources to commit to it, and everything else you need to know.
When you let go of a linear script, you’ll find that you’ll no longer fumble for words if prospects get “off track” by taking the conversation away from your sales process and into their buying process. In fact, that’s exactly what you hope they’ll do, because that means they’re telling you the truth.
Now that you understand why linear step-by-step scripts create the negative “salesperson” stereotype by making it impossible for you to be your natural self, you can begin learning how to engage total strangers on the phone in ways that feel as comfortable as calling a friend.
Yes, it’s possible, and don’t let anyone tell you it’s not.