Should you use a Sales Script?

Today it is time for a little debate.

The question is for anyone who sells anything.
Should you use a sales script when selling your products?

I have heard both sides being argumented for successfully:

“Sales scripts are constricting, not letting you speak with your own words in the spur of the moment and keep you from identifying with the customer on a personal level.”

“Sales scripts help keep you on track; they give you a baseline and an order in which you are going to say things.”

What do you think?

Remember this is a discussion, there is no right answer.
Reply to each other’s comments, argue, have fun and lets all try to find the best possible solution to this question.

Photo Credit: xeophin


Related posts:

  1. An Idiots Guide To Sales
  2. How to Make a Killer Product Presentation That Will Earn You Sales
  3. Sales Process part 6 – Sales Arguments, Can you handle the heat?
  4. Sales Arguments, Thinking Outside Of The Box
  5. How Using the Sales Process Increased My Sales by 60%
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8 Responses to Should you use a Sales Script?

  1. Paul Castain says:

    I’ve been on both sides of the fence on this question during various stages of my career and respect both perspectives.

    A good middle of the road compromise is to use more of a bulleted format to cue ones memory of the important points that need to be conveyed.

    Marry this was some really good sharing of styles and approaches in the sales meetings and you give everyone options . . . options that they can tailor to their individual style.

    The important thing to remember about a format, is that its not a total “ad lib”. Everyone is conscious of the points that need to be conveyed they just adapt the format to their style.

    Paul Castain

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hey Paul,

      This was a great reply.
      I am very much for scripted presentations but after that you need to tailor your replies to the customers.

      But I have always used a tailored presentation. It makes it a lot easier.

  2. Doug Rice says:

    This is a tricky question, because a script can range from a word-for-word reading to an outline to simply a list of questions that need to be asked. It really depends on how narrowly you define a “script.” A general defintion that I think makes sense is “whatever you plan on saying to the client.” That, in a nutshell, is your script. Now, do you plan out the entire conversation word-for-word or do you pick out a few keywords or phrases you plan on integrating into the dialogue? How much, I think the question is, of your dialogue should be scripted?

    I will endeavor to answer this question the way I think any sales question should bs answered, by asking, “What does the customer think about it?” Does the customer want us using the script? Now, I think our gut response is, “Of course not!” They think it’s phony, right? Like they’re talking to robots. Or maybe they think we’re just trying to close them and go for the quick sale with carefully crafted language designed to trick them into buying. Often, this is undoubtedly true. But let me ask the same question a little bit differently: does the customer want us to be prepared? Oh, well that’s a different story. Of course the customer wants us to be prepared, right? Well, is that not the purpose of a script? We have a script so that we know what to say and we consequently don’t waste the customers time. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

    Okay, Daniel, here I am two philosophical paragraphs later and I still haven’t answered the question. I guess my answer would be a cop-out: it depends on the situation. A cold call should probably be more heavily scripted than a follow-up call. I don’t know. I’m just throwing this out there but maybe it’s the shorter the conversation, the more rigid the script. An appoint can be set with a rigid, word-for-word script but more flexibility should be allowed when calling a customer after fhe sale to ask questions about their experiences with your product. A presentation can be scripted but flexibility should be allowed for a discussion.

    I guess I agree with both camps. I want to be genuine with my customers. I want them to feel like they are talking to a real person. People value authenticity. At the same time, I understand the everyone uses scripts in communication. Emails are scripted. (Who doesn’t use the backspace button more than any other button on the keyboard?) Phonecalls, to an extent, are scripted by everyone. (“Hello, may I speak to so-and-so?”). My comment on this post is scripted. I really don’t want to say anything stupid or out of place when I’m communicating with anyone, even more so in communicating with customers. That’s where preparation, or a script, comes in handy. Sometimes, scripts make us helpful and sometimes they damage our credibility. The key is knowing when and to what extent to use them.

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Great answer Doug.
      I want to reply with an example that really sold me to scripts:
      If you go to a broadway play, you expect the actors to have a script, you don’t see the script, notice the script, but you know they have one because everyone knows exactly what to say.
      From that script they can be a little flexible, but mainly they follow it.

      I think sales people should do the same, know what to say, be prepared, but from that script you can be creative and flexible.

  3. Hi Daniel,

    I’m all pro scripts. Not the restricting ones that limit your flexibility and spontaneity, but the ones that provide an outline, something you can fall back on.

    The major reason why I like sales scripts is that they allow you to analyze what works and what doesn’t, especially when doing phone calls. If you use a script/approach for a week, then use another one for the next week, you can compare success rates and pick the most effective one.

    Great topic, would love to hear more opinions on this!

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hey Wim,

      That is a great point you added to the discussion;
      “The major reason why I like sales scripts is that they allow you to analyze what works and what doesn’t, especially when doing phone calls. If you use a script/approach for a week, then use another one for the next week, you can compare success rates and pick the most effective one.”

      You can make adjustments and improve in a great way and it makes the sales calls a lot easier when you have a script.

  4. Kenya says:

    I would choose to just be yourself and go with your intuitive flow and be yourself…because when it all comes down to it…it is YOU that client is typically sold on regardless of the product or service. However, many companies make it mandatory that you go with their script. In that situation…memorize the points they want you to know, and incorporate YOU fully in it.

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hey Kenya,

      Good point about getting YOU into a script, I actually recently published a podcast about that.

      I do like scripts though because they make selling so much easier. But you have to use your own style and skills when implementing it.

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