We all have attended plays, concerts and movies—whether it was a sell-out show on Broadway or your third grader’s stage debut in the school musical. Regardless of the setting, in your child’s school or on Broadway, the same principle applies: the performers follow a script, and that script is rehearsed repeatedly before the performers go before an audience.
A similar pattern occurs in football and other sports. Many professional football teams have the first 25 to 30 plays of the game scripted before the game begins. Ask any professional football coach, and he will tell you that he knows exactly which plays he will run. He will evaluate how each play worked, and continue to use the most productive ones.
In the courtroom, defense attorneys will use the same argument that worked to get their clients acquitted in previous, similar cases. Surgeons will follow the same procedure for any given medical operation, and a pilot has a flight plan all mapped out from take-off to landing. You would not want to be in the courtroom, on the operating table or in the plane if the person in charge was not, in way, well scripted.
The same is true for sales professionals. Many people will argue that having a script is an effort to manipulate the prospect or client into doing something he would not normally do. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Most sales professionals are familiar with scripts. Using a script, whether it is provided for you by your company, or one you write, is not about being manipulative or superficial. It is about being prepared. Scripts get a bad rap sometimes simply because they are not used properly. We have all had times when a sales person is talking with us, and we really feel as though he is talking at us. We can spot an amateur—because they sound scripted.
Most people associate scripts with memorization. In many cases, they must be, especially for Broadway plays. However, actors do much more than recite the words—they perform. To this end, they are not only focused on the words, but on the message the words (and actions) are delivering. They have to internalize it—so that the message comes not from the mouth, but from the heart.
When this is achieved, the delivery is flawless. The words and the message come out naturally—to the point that the prospect is completely unaware that what he hears is scripted! In the case of a well rehearsed and performed play, the audience forgets the fact that what they are seeing is scripted, and instead becomes captivated by the story.
To successfully prospect, you must learn to develop and deliver scripts with effectiveness. If you do, there will be no limit to how far you can go. It is a tremendous and valuable investment of your time and energy, because once you know the script, very little will change. Even further, neither will the basic questions, problems, objections, and solutions. Once you learn to effectively cover these areas (and have heard and addressed the same questions over and over), you will be unstoppable!
As you refine and deliver your script, you may modify it. This is appropriate, because in the process, you are internalizing—you are focused more on the message and spirit of what you are saying, rather than being hung up on the precise words. The difference between the amateur and the professional in all things in life is the skill and delivery. Anyone can hit a golf ball, but few people can hit it like Tiger Woods. It takes dedication, talent and practice. Woods has perfected his skill with long hard practice. You can do the same with your prospecting.
This week….take one script of which you need to improve your delivery. Practice it. Go along with an experienced colleague and watch them in action. Let us know your results and questions on scripting your best sales presentation.
Keith F. Luscher (Google Search) is the author of five books, including Prospect & Flourish and Don’t Wait Until You Graduate. He is also a recruiting director for The Money Foundation /H. Beck, Inc. Prior to this work, he served professionals in the insurance and financial services industries as a management consultant. In that role, he advised producers on issues related to marketing and prospecting, and developed groundbreaking educational curriculum. Luscher previously worked in capital fund raising for eleven years, serving nonprofit organizations around the country. In addition, he is also a nationally known author, speaker, and expert in media, interpersonal communication and marketing.