Selling Skills

It’s Time to Embrace Scripts to Sell

By Troy Korsgaden  •  May 13, 2019

What’s the key to providing unrivaled service without spending any money? Scripts.

Scripts elevate the reputation of every single sales rep and your collective brand. They prevent the awful outcomes that result when customers feel like they are getting the runaround, not getting straight answers, or getting inconsistent treatment.

By creating a script for every type of conversation your office has with prospects and customers, you ensure everyone in your organization is communicating your unique value proposition in a consistent way.

Ad-libs Are for Amateurs
We all have witnessed sales reps in many different industries ad-libbing their way through calls with customers. The more complex or tense the scenario, the more awkward the conversation can become.

When that happens – when your reps stutter and stammer as they try to explain the reason for a cost adjustment or discontinuation of a favorite product or service – it reflects poorly on your entire brand. And, if a customer complains to three different reps and gets three different responses, that also puts your company in a negative light.

Scripts can also help you avoid inconsistency in responding to complaints. You don’t want a sales rep to give away the store to placate an irate customer, but not make the same offer to another customer who experienced the same inconvenience. You can’t assume that customers won’t find out. (Customers today are quick to describe their customer-service experiences on social media.)

Create a Positive, Emotional Experience for Your Customers
According to NewVoiceMedia’s 2018 “Serial Switchers” report, CEOs of companies large and small are recognizing the importance of delivering a better customer-service experience. When the service experience is high, the issue of price is less relevant.

The report says, “Brands are failing to create the positive, emotional experiences that drive customer loyalty.” As a result:

  • 67 percent of customers have become “serial switchers” – customers who are willing to switch brands because of a poor customer experience. That’s an increase of 37 percent since NVM’s last report.
  • 39 percent of customers who were dissatisfied with service said they would never use the offending company again, and 36 percent would write a complaint letter or send an email.
  • 86 percent of customers surveyed said that, if there was an emotional connection with a customer service agent, they would be willing to continue to do business. But only 30 percent felt the companies they had interacted with during the past year had made that connection.

Consider scripting as a huge opportunity to connect with your clients. Build into your scripts the types of messaging that will truly set you apart from your competitors.

Consistency Is the Key
Some of the country’s top service providers follow scripts. When customers call in with a question, complaint or frustration, the service rep says much the same thing while expressing regret that customers have been inconvenienced. For example: “Mr. Johnson, I’m sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you. I am going to work with you to resolve the situation.”

This is a powerful but simple strategy. Write down the questions, concerns, and objections your team members hear often, and then write scripts that specify how you want those conversations to be handled. Here are some examples of the types of conversations you can script to achieve more professional and consistent delivery of your message to customers:

  • Greeting customers on the phone or in person
  • Calling prospects or customers
  • Responding to complaints
  • Asking for feedback
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Explaining the benefits of each product or service you offer
  • Thanking customers for their business
  • Apologizing for problems that have occurred with an account or service
  • Reminding customers of the value you provide them (don’t assume they know)

Also, specify any discounts or freebies (compliant with all state laws and governing bodies, of course) your sales reps can offer to disgruntled customers in specific situations. Make sure you handle similar complaints with similar concessions.

Practice Is Essential
For scripts to be effective, practice them with your team. If a sales rep speaks to customers in a way that sounds stiff, unnatural, and canned, that can have a worse impact than communicating inconsistently.

Practice your scripts with your team members until they sound natural, friendly, and genuine. Make sure people’s first impression – and every impression they get of your company after that – is stellar.

Consider your team members’ suggestions if they want to revise the scripts. After all, they are the ones on the front lines of customer service. Encourage them to list every possible conversation that could come up with customers. Practice the scripts with them often. Let your team members know you will offer suggestions as needed, especially when they first begin following scripts. Write your scripts in a way that ensures every concern is handled in a caring, professional manner. Build your brand’s key message into the scripts, where possible. Reiterate your tagline or mantra in appropriate ways.

The words we say are important, but the way we say them can be even more important. Don’t start using the scripts until every team member has mastered the art of delivering the right message in a genuinely empathetic manner and in a relaxed, conversational tone.

Not only will scripting enhance your company’s professionalism; it’s also likely to increase your sales reps’ confidence level because they won’t have to wonder what to say.

Troy Korsgaden is president of Korsgaden International in Visalia, CA. He is an international insurance carrier consultant, industry main-platform speaker, representative trainer, and agency consultant, as well as the author of six books.