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Learn Your Lines

It takes practice to sell successfully over the phone--and you need a stellar sales pitch to capture customers. We've got 8 steps to help you create one.

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This story appears in the August 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Have you or your sales reps ever experienced phone choke? It's a pernicious malady that strikes most sales reps at one time or another. You know the symptoms: a quivering voice, a dry mouth, shaky hands, and a brain that goes utterly blank while you're on the phone with a prospect. To inoculate your sales force against phone choke, crafting a sales script may be the prescription. Scripts can put reps at ease and help them make it through a full menu of your service's features and benefits with a willing prospect. Here are eight methods to help you create a killer sales script for your company:

1. Don't be too rigid. A natural script may sound like an oxymoron, but a well-sculpted script can flow organically. The reason a canned script sounds so stiff is because the salesperson delivering it didn't write it. One way to beat wooden script delivery is to let your reps customize their own scripts so they come across in their unique voices. Provide a template, and plan to review and approve each rep's version before it goes into circulation.

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