Ditching Sales Scripts: It’s Long Past Time, And Here’s Why
Sales scripts were at one time a go-to sales tool for any profession charged with pushing a product on an unsuspecting public. While the sales script served its purpose for a time — and can still be effective in a pre-field training sort of way — it should never be part of an actual sales call. Here’s why.
- It hinders one’s natural delivery.
When one is worried about the words on a page, they tend to think more about saying each and every syllable instead of pushing what matters — features and benefits. This results in an unnatural-sounding delivery that reveals itself pretty easily. If you want your agents to feel comfortable and project that comfort level to the prospect, then you need to make sure they’re communicating, not reading.
- It makes it more difficult to think on one’s feet.
Inevitably a sales script is always derailed when an insurance lead chimes in with one of their pesky questions. (They’re funny like that.) When you put so much emphasis on the sales script, you make it difficult for agents to respond to questions and recover the presentation. Only agents with a thorough product knowledge are able to do well in these situations, but that being the case, you have to ask yourself why the script is necessary if the agent is doing just fine on his own.
- Customers can totally see through it.
Sales scripts are no longer fooling anyone. Why do you think so many people hang up the phone as soon as they realize they’re on with a telemarketer? (Answer: scripts.) Mass media has consumed our society, and in the process, a savvier, just-the-facts-ma’am customer has emerged. They want to be informed and educated, not sold to. If they’re a qualified lead, they already know the purpose of the communication, so don’t try to “outsmart” them with a heavy reliance on scripts.
- It makes delegating that much more difficult.
If you run an agency and you expect your agents and staff to feel empowered in making decisions, then you’re doing yourself a disservice through the use of scripts. Why? Because the very message that using a script sends tells the agent or employee that you don’t trust them enough to think for themselves. And the chances are pretty good that if you believe in scripts that much, you’re not the kind of leader, who can let go of control long enough to trust your staff with any other responsibilities.
- It deemphasizes the things that matter.
What matters is knowing the prospect’s needs and being able to deliver value every time, even when you can’t win on price. And once you turn that prospect into a customer, their insurance needs take precedent. That means your business should be focusing more on giving customers customization, accessibility, and peace of mind. That takes some degree of skill in relationship building, and you’re not going to do that sounding scripted.
No one is saying that you should remove scripts from the training process, but don’t send an agent into the field until they’ve moved beyond that script and are able to handle things naturally. If customers wanted their agents to sound like robots, they wouldn’t stop at price-checking their insurance policies online. They’d be buying online, too. To date, the agent is still in control when it comes to closing a deal. That should tell you something.