Friday, July 05, 2013

SOP Friday: Sales Scripts

There are many, many ways to approach sales. Different approaches work with different prospects, different products, and at different times. It's hard to say which approach is the best for a given circumstance. But it's easy so say which is the worst: A totally random, off the top of your head, impromptu rambling.

Some time ago I wrote a blog post on "The Worst Sales Call Ever." One of the messages in that post is that any sales call is better than no sales call. Having said that, the more systemic your approach, the more successful you will be.

If you have a process, you can measure the results and fine-tune the process. If everything is random then improvement is also random. It will come and it will go, but you will have no effect on it one way or the other.

Note: Sales is different from Marketing. They are obviously related. Marketing pushes prospects closer and closer to the sale. Sales take place place when you ask people to give you their money. So the sales script is not part of marketing. It is a standardized process for asking people to give you their money.

As a Standard Operating Procedure, it's a good idea to create a sample sales script that you can tweak and tune for each new campaign. Use it for servers this quarter and BDRs next quarter.


Writing A Sales Script


The first step in writing a sales script is to figure out the classic Five W's: Who, What, Why, When, and Where. Start by creating a form with five questions and write a bit about each.

Who are you selling to? Existing clients, new prospects, big companies, small companies, lawyers, accountants, etc.

What are you selling? Is this campaign for hosted services, BDRs, managed service contracts, or something else?

Why should the prospect buy? Remember: Focus on solving a problem, not listing features. Clients don't care about megahertz and gigabits.

When do you need the sale? Is this offer good til the end of the month? 90 days? This adds an element of scarcity, which is an important piece of the sales process.

Where - in this context - is about the context of the sales script. Will it be by phone, in a formal presentation, or in a face to face meeting?

Once you know the Five W's, you can start to write the script. Now that you have put down in words what you're selling, who you're selling it to, etc. it will be a lot easier.


Keep It Simple

Take a look at the flow chart. Most calls go more or less like this. Of course you need to fill in the details. But just look at the flow and write down what you'll say at each point. Essentially, you'll need three mini-scripts, only one of which is the sales pitch.

First, you need a script for when you hit voicemail, which you use most. :-)

Second, you need a script for when a human answers. Your goal is to get them to not hang up - and then pass you to someone who can give you money. Or maybe you get passed to the decision maker's voicemail.

Third, you need a script for the decision maker. This, at last, is your pitch!

The simpler you make the script, the easier it is to deliver without being nervous. Plus, the simpler it is, the more likely you are to get through it without being interrupted with a "No Thanks."


Practice Makes Perfect

Now, you make your first call. As you find yourself leaving one voicemail after another, be sure to take notes and update your script as needed. When you hear yourself speaking the words, you might want to tweak and fine-tune.

And when you finally get to talk to the gatekeeper, you'll fine-tune that script.

And the same goes for the decision maker. This is the most important script. So you'll want to fine tune it a lot. Take particular note of things you say that lead to a "yes" - whether it's yes to a sale or yes to an appointment.


A Simple Script to Get You Started

Script One: Voice Mail

“Hi. This is Karl from America’s Tech Support. Phone number 916-928-0888. I’m calling today to see if you would like to have a conversation about your technology and how we can improve your business with Cloud Services. Please give me a call at 916-928-0888. Thank you for your time.”

or

"Hi! This is Karl Palachuk from America’s Tech Support. I’m hoping you can return my call at 916-928-0888. We’re offering a free 30-minute educational program called “5 Ways Cloud Computing Can Help Your Business Spend Less Every Month”. It’s about how cloud computing is helping companies like yours improve office efficiency and cut technology costs by as much as 30%. I’d love to give you some more information, so please give me a call when you can. Again, this is Karl from America’s Tech Support and you can reach me at 916-928-0888."

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Script Two: Gatekeeper

“Hi. This is Karl with America’s Tech Support. I’m trying to reach Mr./Ms. __________ to offer a free educational presentation about how cloud computing is saving companies like yours as much as 30% on their annual technology budget. The presentation takes about 30 minutes, and I’ve got some openings next week. Do you think that’s something he/she would like to hear about?"

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Script Three: The Decision Maker

"Hi! This is Karl with America’s Tech Support.

I’m calling today because we’ve put together an educational program for local businesses called “5 Ways Cloud Computing Can Help Your Business Spend Less Every Month”; it’s all about how the latest cloud computing technologies are helping companies cut their technology budgets by up to 30%. Are you familiar with cloud technology? Great! They’ve given me the job of getting these presentations scheduled for local businesses, and I’m calling to see when we might be able to come out and show you the program. It takes about 30 minutes. Of course we're selling something, but the program is full of great information for your business. Do you have 30 minutes available next week?"

IF No:
"OK. At the very least, can I send you some information about this by email? Would that be alright with you? Great! What’s your email address?"

If Yes:
"Great! Would you be available for an appointment next Tuesday at 10:00?"

If decision maker says they have an in-house IT person:
"Yes, of course, and I think it would be a great idea for your internal IT staff to be included in the presentation. I’ve got some openings next week; would you both be available Tuesday at 10:00?"

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Comments welcome.

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About this Series

SOP Friday - or Standard Operating System Friday - is a series dedicated to helping small computer consulting firms develop the right processes and procedures to create a successful and profitable consulting business.

Find out more about the series, and view the complete "table of contents" for SOP Friday at SmallBizThoughts.com.

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Next week's topic: Mobile Device Management

:-)

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