After working with business clients in numerous industries, I've learned that being a salesperson comes with a certain stigma. Many business owners believe that to be a good salesperson, they must become manipulative and pressure others into doing something they don’t want to do. That's not the case.
A salesperson’s job is to build rapport, identify a need, turn product features into benefits for a customer and then simply ask that indivdual to take the next step. I never hard sell or push. If the sales process goes smoothly, I go through the steps and the next thing I know, I’m filling out paperwork.
Sales scripting is a wonderful tool. It's the process of transcribing an entire sales call -- including questions, stories, jokes and a closing -- to ensure that the same presentation is delivered every time. A sales script or, what I call a “sales system,” can transform a business.
1. Understand how sales work. Ninety percent of all sales interactions are the same and can be scripted. Some salespeople argue that their business is different, but this perception arises from their having a different delivery each time, which makes the flow of the sale, questions asked and the outcome vary.
2. Scripting a sale does not mean being fake. Many salespeople are concerned about coming across as disingenuous. Scripting a sale is just like telling a story well. Once salespeople find a story that customers like, they start to tell it more and more. This doesn’t make them any less genuine. In fact, telling a story well makes them more confident and engaging.
3. Break down the sales process and the story into chapters. It's possible to identify as many as 14 critical stages in the sales process after the original inquiry or self-generation call. Start off by focusing on the key seven: establishing trust and rapport, the introduction and the agenda, probing questions, a presentation, stories of success, a trial close and the close.
4. Make a recording to hear what works. Take along a recording device on the next few sales appointments and record the session with prospective customers with their permission. Then transcribe the recording of the best appointment. Listen to recordings of other appointments and add in the parts that achieved the best results.
5. Create a list of benefits -- and elephants. Craft a list of intangible and tangible benefits of the product or service, as well as a list of common objections. Write down potential “elephants in the room,” such as a past product defect or service issue. Record and transcribe the stories of how past clients have benefited, bring these advantages to life and establish credibility. Incorporate the best stories into the main sales script.
6. Build a presentation folder. This makes the progression easier for the salesperson. It should include client-probing questions, brochures, quotation sheets, testimonials that link to the salesperson's stories, paperwork and after-the-sale leave behinds.
7. Seek advice about how to improve each component of the sales script. Start with research via the most useful tool of all: YouTube. See what the sales gurus recommend and focus on one area at a time, adding knowledge and skills. After improving all the steps to a sale, perhaps seek the help of a master sales coach.
Take control of the sales process through scripting for a different view of customer interactions. With a few months of dedicated effort, the sales process won't seem like an uncomfortable and disjointed or result in unpredictable endings. From this process a sales master will gradually emerge -- someone who finds “getting to a yes” both enjoyable and easy.