Breaking News: Sales Scripts Still Work!

Breaking News: Sales Scripts Still Work!

By Dr. Gary S. Goodman
I felt like a spy, going on interviews for jobs that might have been fitting long before I had become an acknowledged and widely published expert at selling.

I had to mask my sophistication, while swallowing my pride.

To even qualify for an interview, I dumbed-down my resume, leaving off earned graduate degrees. I positioned myself as what I had become, in part, as a consultant: a top seller and sales trainer.

Harnessing my ego, I hired onto a job that had a makeshift training program. Part of it consisted of watching a videoed suit tell me about the math of success in selling.

Make a lot of calls, enumerate your results, and fix what is broken, but nothing more. Advice and even specific examples I had given in some of my best-selling books that he apparently private-labeled, and sold as original.

But that was okay, I told myself. I was going to be a dutiful seller only; not a sage, and certainly not a critic. I was going to learn about the systems and the techniques that were currently in place, and see what had changed since I had shifted my focus to negotiation and customer service platforms.

I was given two scripts, which were hard to read, let alone recite. Noticing the best reps were using a different spiel, I asked them for THEIR scripts, which conveniently, they had reduced to writing and generously shared with me.

(Had they known I was a certified scripting genius, their missives might have remained in drawers while I stumbled over my self-importance.)

My computer hadn’t been set-up, so I was “desk-driving,” listening to others pitch. Fidgeting and chomping at the bit, I was asked if I wanted to get started without a computer.

Call reluctance increases with inactivity, so I jumped at the chance. And wouldn’t you know it, after a fifteen minute talk, I sold the first person with whom I spoke.

In grad school, the same thing happened on a shorter call, when I was selling office supplies.

“He’s a MEISTER!” the managers proclaimed back then, noting that I seemed to perform the script flawlessly, and of course with the right result.

Here, the hiring manager simply said, “I knew you could do it!”

Which brings me to my point: Scripts work, whether you believe in them, or not.

I’ve always known and preached this truth, but now I was reaffirming it in the present day, in an era of Twitter, Facebook, multi-tasking, resistant and reluctant buyers, and notoriously short attention spans.

I was reasserting the value of using word-for-word, verbatim scripts, on actual calls as a seller, not as an expert that was pitching people on using one of the scripts I had written for-hire.

At this new place of business, I didn’t write the words I uttered, and it’s a good thing. I didn’t have enough product knowledge to fashion a coherent presentation.

After my initial order, for the next two days, I continued to make sales. But on the fourth and fifth days, I blanked. Nobody bought, though I thought my presentations were improving.

I realized I had fallen a typical and predictable trap.

I had meandered away from the call path, reinventing it, trying to make it shorter, more logical, and in my opinion, more coherent. I went from being a novice to a know-it-all to a slumping salesperson, in slightly more than a week.

On the sixth day, I reverted to the text that I had used on my very first call. And I started selling, again.

On one level, it irks me to think that their script was superior to my attempted refinements of it. After all, I’ve had a career, and a successful one, improving presentations, much like this one.

Plus, their script seemed way too long, and too gimmicky, with excessive tie-downs, such as “Sounds good, doesn’t it?” appearing in far too many places.

But these thoughts, I realized after my two-day slump, violated a foundation of successful selling, known as the KISS Method.


I was competing against the script, which is folly, a secondary-gain, a potential win for my ego, only. Cooperating with it, reciting it jot-for-jot, produced a primary gain, sales and commissions.

In the past, after new hires would complain to me, their sales manager, that they were suddenly slumping, I’d ask a simple question, “Are you on the script or off it?”

“Oh, I’m using it!” they’d claim, in all sincerity. But when I monitored their conversations, I heard how far into the doldrums they had drifted.

One of my clients, a former Marine, said: “Selling is so easy, it’s hard!”

By this, he meant if you follow the recipe, you’ll eat. Leave out certain ingredients, or add too many of your own, and you’ll starve.

You won’t become a great cook by following the recipes others have concocted, but you will become competent.

In selling, that will probably catapult you to the top 25% of all producers.

One of the dumbest things you can do is to outsmart a successful script. This fact is as true today, as it has ever been.

From a management perspective, the secret isn’t to seek out the perfect script, it is to get reps to use the script they have been given.

There is a script for accomplishing this vital task, and I’ll be delighted to share it with you. But first, you’ll need to hire me as your expert!

Dr. Gary S. Goodman is a top speaker, sales, service, and negotiation consultant, TV and radio commentator and the best-selling author of more than 12 books, including REACH OUT & SELL SOMEONE and YOU CAN SELL ANYTHING BY TELEPHONE! Gary conducts seminars and speaks at convention programs around the world. His audio programs with Nightingale-Conant include: “Crystal Clear Communication: How to Explain Anything Clearly in Speech & Writing;” and “The Law of Large Numbers: How To Make Success Inevitable.” He can be contacted about keynote speeches, seminars and consulting at [email protected]
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