By Mike Crandall
August 29, 2023

Why your sales scripts don’t work

Rigid scripts could be sabotaging your sales success. Authentic interactions get better results.

The young sales rep was excited about his new role. He had been hired by the company straight out of school to sell to the business world. After all of the training, he finally had his first solo sales call. He enthusiastically went through everything he had been trained to do. Afterward, he raced back to the office to debrief his call with the sales manager.

The sales manager asked the basic question we all know – “How did it go?”

The young sales rep then paused as he felt uncomfortable answering. He answered, “I thought it went well, however he did not seem to know his part.”

The sales manager gave the rep a curious and confused look. As the conversation went deeper, they quickly uncovered that the young sales rep had followed the script from his role-play training so closely that the prospect did not know what to do. To the new rep, it appeared that the prospect did not know his part.

You may think this is an isolated problem. It is not!

I hear from CEOs and Presidents that they feel bad watching and listening to sales reps call on them as they try to follow scripts. This is funny because so many of them then turn around and ask their sales reps to do the same thing with scripts!

In our firm, one of the top requests we get is to help write or re-write scripts for companies. Each time we get this request, I smile because we know scripts do not work. 

There are four key reasons why scripts do not work.

1 – They seldom sound like the person reading or following them. Scripts do not allow you to create an environment where the salesperson and the prospect are both comfortable with the interaction.

2 – Scripts often come with training on using them. This training is always based on the technique. It seldom, if ever, addresses the behavior, attitude, or guts needed to ensure that people can become comfortable using them.

3 – They put way too much pressure on both the salesperson and the prospect. When you follow a script, it is impossible to be in the moment and read and understand the other person. The misplaced pressure is on the script, not the interaction.

4 – Scripts greatly limit the ability of the listener. Far too frequently, when you watch someone following a script, they subconsciously are so worried about getting the script correct they cannot focus on or listen to the other person.

All four of these are tremendous issues for anyone in sales, whether brand new, like that sales rep at the beginning of this story, or a well-seasoned individual who has been selling for years.

So let me ask – how many opportunities have your team and you blown because you were trying to follow a script? Can you see the pressure it was putting on both parties? Can you see how it prevented listening?

If you do not know or do not like your answers, you should find a business growth consultant who can support you in elevating your performance.

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About Mike Crandall

Mike Crandall lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. He is a Consultant, Coach, Trainer, Speaker, and Author focused on the Subconscious Psychology of Human Interaction and Motivation. His firm specializes in Elevating Leadership, Management, & Sales Performance for Proactive Business Growth. Mike is based in Oklahoma and serves Visionary Clients across the United States. He can be reached at (405) 844-1700.