We are now at the portion of Script Week where I talk about the reasons why salespeople do not like sales scripts.
Of course, not all salespeople are anti-script.
But there are definitely a bunch of them that don’t feel like they should have to use a script. This may or may not be you…but no matter what, this episode is valuable for understanding why there is resistance to scripts in the sales community.
Episode 28 – Transcript
On this episode I talk about the elephant in the room – why sales people don’t like scripts.
Welcome to another episode of The Sales Experience Podcast. My name is Jason Cutter and this is Episode 28. We are three fifths of the way through Script Week and it is finally time to talk about why salespeople don’t’ like scripts. If you are in sales, you already know why you don’t like it. If you are a manager or sales leader you know the value of the script but still end up watching your teams resist it, maybe even fighting against you. If you aren’t in sales then maybe you have no idea what the big deal is.
Now, the main complaint is that sales scripts stifle sales people from being themselves, bringing their personality, and having a conversation. They feel it turns them into robots that no one wants to buy from. I am sure that’s not how you feel, if you are listening to this. I am sure you love scripts, right? I bet all the Sales Experience Podcast listeners are also script lovers.
Okay…maybe not…but you should be!
Having a script doesn’t mean you have to sound like a robot. Don’t believe me? Fine. But have you ever watched a movie? Or TV show? Or gone to see a play or a broadway show? They don’t sound like robots. They are entertaining, dramatic, funny, sad. Luckily none of them have scripts or it would be terrible.
Oh wait…they do have scripts. We all know there is a script for a movie, TV show, even Saturday Night Live is scripted, with a little wiggle room for ad libbing, but not much. So if they have scripts, why does it not seem like it? Because they are professionals. You can be scripted, planning, calculating, and natural. A professional actor takes the script, memorizes it, does it word for word over and over again and makes it feel natural and unscripted. Voice over actors, like for Pixar movies, are literally reading the script into a microphone and acting it out. Yet…it sounds so…natural!
That is how you could approach your sales script. Treat it like you are doing a voice over and take your prospect on the path towards a solution that fits their situation.
Now when sales people think about scripts it is being forced to read it word for word. We have all sat through a speech where someone reads their notes, word for word, and it feels like it goes on forever. To me, those can be very painful to sit through. No matter what, it is not the same as a well rehearsed presentation that is not read from a piece of paper.
That is what salespeople think about when they are handed a script they have to read. And, depending on the delivery and the combination of the sales process and the product or service, they are right – that would be terrible.
Why else do salespeople dislike the idea of scripts? In my experience, there is a certain type of person and personality that goes after a sales role. It’s someone who has found that they can persuade others through their words. Maybe they know how to read people’s body language or vocal tones. Maybe they have found that they are more comfortable talking with people than they are doing other types of jobs. There is something about most traditional salespeople that are in it for the long haul – they aren’t really a big fan of rules or structure. They like selling because it allows them to use their skills and abilities to make money, without a lot of requirements.
So when you hand that person a sales script and tell them they must use it – you will be met with a lot of resistance. I once had a newly hired sales rep, on his third day, walk up to me and tell me that he liked my script, and could see how it would help other new reps who didn’t know what they were doing. He also told me that he might use it for a few weeks but then he would probably make changes to it to make it work better.
You see, despite the fact that we had a script to help guide new people to make sales. Despite the fact that this script was proven to achieve a certain level of results for a new rep or an average skilled salesperson. Despite the fact that we were giving him a tool to help him succeed, he still thought he knew better on his third day.
He didn’t last two weeks.
I talked about it in week 1. There is a good ego and a limiting ego. The good ego is the one where you know you are good at what you do and you have the skills. There is a good ego where you know you can win. Then there is a limiting ego where you think you are better than everyone else by just being present and are not open to anything new that might help you succeed. You think elite athletes think they know everything and can’t learn from others? Wrong. What do you think they do in their off season? They practice. They have special coaches who help them on certain parts of their game. They do what they can to improve the margins by small percentages, which could pay off big when the game is on the line.
Yet, traditionally minded salespeople think that they have ‘arrived’ and do not need a script or other tools. And I am not just saying this based on a few experiences. I am saying this based on over 16 years of experiences leading, talking to, or observing sales people.
Now please know that I am not saying all of this to make people mad. I am not picking on salespeople. But I am hoping to open the eyes of veteran reps who feel like they know it all, or know enough. Of course, the true professional sales people never stop learning or growing. That is not who this is directed at. It’s the marginally successful salesperson who has probably bounced around to many sales roles and doesn’t see the common factor is them.
I am also having this scripting conversation for the new reps who have a script and are hearing from other reps on the floor that the script sucks. I want you to use your judgment to decide on your own after using the script long enough to get familiar and comfortable with it.
That’s it for this episode. Make sure to subscribe wherever you are downloaded this from. If you want to read the transcript for this or any episode, check out the cutterconsultinggroup.com website and click on the podcast link. If you listen to these on iTunes, I would really appreciate it if you could give the show a 5 star rating and leave a comment.
If there is some reason you cant give it 5 stars, email or message me to let me know your feedback. And until next time, always remember that everything in life is sales and people will remember the experience you gave them.