Today’s world cannot tolerate the old script selling methods of yesterday. It is understandable if you have a mob phone bank of undereducated or untrained workers, a script may be necessary as the lowest form of consistent messaging.
However, when an individual business representative is dealing directly with another individual, as opposed to the masses, my guess is the success rate of sticking to a set script diminishes greatly. It is a time waster and disrespectful of the potential customer. It very likely does not meet their needs for learning what they need to know to make a buying decision. Here is a personal example:
I recently went to a local business on nutrition to find out (a) what was required to use their experts, and (2) how much was the investment on various offers. I told the “salesperson” or “advisor” that was the information I wanted as I had limited time. Their sales rep was determined to go through her PowerPoint on information most of us already know about food. She wanted me to know that they focused on good foods, fruits, vegetables, etc. Yawn, okay, how does this work? Nope. More lecturing on common healthy eating knowledge, followed by questions about my eating habits, which are irrelevant until such time as I decide to work with them. Once again, I beseeched her to give me the information I needed. No, she was resolved she had to finish her PowerPoint and drag me through it.
I asked her three times to move on and tell me what I came in for, and my request was ignored 3 times.
This says to me she doesn’t care about my needs, so how good can she/they be at caring for my nutrition needs going forward? If the sales pitch is boiler plate, is the nutrition program boiler plate too? I won’t be going back.
We have seen this issue with many B2B clients who have sales teams locked into a proscribed script or one they created years ago and has become habit in delivery. Getting some of them to change the message in any way is like getting a duck to stay out of the water. It has become their domain. In sales today the past techniques can be risky domains. Are you wasting valuable time the prospect does not want to expend? When did you last audit your sales process? You sales team? You may be leaving market share behind for a simple review process and some outdated sales scripts, written or internalized, that may not be as successful as they might be.
Not only do you need to know what a customers’ top buying criteria are, you also must know what they want most in their sales encounter. Be it product / service detail, process steps, personnel assigned, cost, time, etc. Most don’t want all of it. Find out what they want and start where the customer is waiting.
It will pay dividends when you train your customer-facing staff to be communicators of your true value proposition. In addition, they need to follow the lead of prospects to provide what they want, not what salespeople want to tell them.
Granted that sometimes a script can be useful as a cheat sheet to recall key points. However, in order to gain trust and be real with someone you have to go off script or else few will actually buy from you.