Build on a series of posts about why scripts are useful and what kind of scripts to use, I thought it made sense to further build the case for scripts as a training tool. To understand this post, it’ll help to have read a previous post on how sales people interalize a pitch. As they master each skill, they’ve got more of their brain power free to internalize new material. In the diagram below, you’ll see how a script can be broken up into pieces to help with each stage of the process.
A) The Script
If we’re talking about scripts for new team members, this would be an onboarding straight line script. It’s a straight line script because it’s meant to be used in ideal circumstances, when there are no interruptions from the prospect. Yes, I realize that this is completely unrealistic. In and ideal world, where the sales person drives the conversation all the way through, this script should be an example of how to communicate your product in the most valuable way possible.
They key here, is that the script shows what a high value description of your product or company looks like. It defines success for a new sales person, and gives them the opportunity to internalize a wonderful first pitch without interruptions. I’d recommend you have the teams role play these scripts with no interruptions at least 3+ times all the way through.
B) Objections Triangle
Now that the team can get through the basic straight line script, it’s time to introduce detours from that script. At this point introduce 3 of your most common questions or objections, and your teams preferred response to those objections. Have the new sales people run through the straight line script above, encounter the objection, deviate and handle the objection, and then come back to the straight line script.
As they internalize the most common objections, you can start adding more to the repetoir. In the end, the goal is to have someone thats comfortable getting deviated from the straight line script, answering questions, and then getting back on the path. Teaching someone to handle these bumps in the road will build confidence, allowing them to take on additional skills.
I’ve found that a sales person only gets comfortable asking open ended questions AFTER they’ve mastered the basics of a pitch. If they’re not comfortable describing the product / company and handling basic objections, they usually won’t have the confidence to start exploring questions.
Once they’ve got skills A & B, it’s time to encourage their curiosity. Have them ask questions to learn more about your prospects. You can script out good starter questions, your you can have them come up with their own. Step one is asking the questions, step two is listening enough to remember the answers to those questions.
Step three is using the information you learned about your prospect to help tie their needs back to your product. This is called “identifying pain points”.
This is the final step, and usually comes after a fairly long period of time where the sales person is getting to know the different types of prospects. Once they’ve asked enough questions, and learned enough information about the prospects and their industry, then they can start applying those learnings.
All this is to say that scripts, when used correctly, support the learning process. They help a sales person get “off script” in a shorter amount of time. When used incorrectly, yes, they can still be a crutch that could slow down the learning process. Take a moment to consider how your organization could be using these tools to ramp team members up more quickly!