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How to Develop a Sales Script

Yara Simón, Contributing Writer

A sales script is a set of guidelines that can help you keep your message consistent across your company and improve your sales techniques.

  • A sales script is an effective way to engage potential customers in a consistent manner across your company.
  • To write a sales script, you need to understand your business and your customer, and how your service or product can help them.
  • You can tweak and optimize your sales script to boost conversions and drive recurring business.
  • This article is for small business owners who want to engage their potential customers, whether by phone, email, voicemail or in person.

Sales scripts get a bad rap, but they provide a clear road map that can help you position your business in the best way possible. There are many possible approaches to a sales script, influenced by your services or products, how you communicate with prospective customers, and your message. For any approach, the end goal remains the same: to engage customers.

With a few tips, you can ensure that your sales script doesn't sound impersonal or stilted. Below, learn all about sales scripts and how to develop one for your business.

What is a sales script?

When pitching a product or service to a potential customer, many sales representatives use sales scripts, whether they are communicating via telephone, email, voicemail or in person.

Though the word "script" is in the phrase, you should think of it less as a traditional script than as a set of guidelines. The most effective sales scripts are succinct, attempt to solve problems, use personal opinions and anecdotes, and tell your brand's story.

Salespeople should avoid reading a sales script as they talk to a prospect; instead, they should use it to guide them as they address a potential customer's questions or concerns. [Read related article: 14 Traits Successful Salespeople Share]

Key takeaway: A sales script shouldn't be a sheet of paper that a salesperson reads from, but a set of guidelines to engage potential customers.

Why do you need a sales script?

Sales scripts are divisive among salespeople. Some find them unnecessary or inauthentic, but there are also many reasons to use them. With a sales script, you can:  

  • Keep your message consistent. Whether you're a team of one or 21, you want to keep your message consistent across your company. It not only makes your brand stronger, but also helps potential customers remember you. A sales script encourages your sales team to deliver the same key points so that no one is overpromising or going off track. While a script might seemingly lead to bland conversations, it's not about asking your salespeople to recite a canned message. They can add in some personality or pizzazz, so long as they communicate the same message.
  • Prepare. A good sales script anticipates the objections or questions a prospective customer may have. It recognizes the pain points your service or product intends to solve – and it should help salespeople prepare for how their pitch may be picked apart. This puts salespeople in a better position to succeed. With a script, they'll know how to address concerns and how to pivot if they feel they are losing the person on the other end of the conversation.
  • Stay on track. Without a sales pitch, a salesperson might go off on a tangent or feel tempted to fill in awkward silence. But with specific talking points, they'll have a clear beginning, middle and end to follow.
  • Listen closely. Instead of a salesperson trying to remember what questions to ask or what benefits to bring up, they can listen to the prospect and actively participate in the conversation. If they get stuck, they can refer to the sales script, but they should still focus on what the potential customer is saying.
  • Improve as a sales team. Across several conversations with prospective customers, patterns will emerge. Your sales team will be able to pinpoint what works and what doesn't. From there, you can improve on the parts that fell flat to strengthen the impact of your sales script.

Key takeaway: There are many reasons that a sales script is beneficial, and many of them can help make a salesperson more engaging to customers.

How to develop a sales script

To develop a sales script, you should ask yourself questions about your product or service, your audience and more. Follow these steps to get started:

1. Pinpoint your service or product.

A sales script revolves around a specific service or product, so this is the logical first step. Whether you want to sell something that helps businesses grow, improves the hiring process, or whatever else, you need to be clear on it. If you don't understand exactly what you want to offer, it will be difficult to be clear in your message.

2. Identify your target audience.

What people do you envision getting the most out of your products or services? If you want to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses by improving their content strategies, for example, you might target new founders who need more guidance and don't have the right tools on their side. Creating a buyer persona will help you craft a stronger message because you can tailor it to them, addressing their pain points, how you can help them, and why your product is the right choice for them.

Some use market research and data to create a fictional buyer – e.g., a woman in her mid-20s named Sasha who started her business six months ago and has yet to optimize the content on her website. You can also look at your best clients to determine what they have in common.

Ask yourself questions like these:

  • Are your most reliable customers male, female or nonbinary?
  • Where do they live?
  • How old are they?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • What can you offer them?
  • How will you solve their problems?

3. Zero in on your benefits.

With your target audience in mind, identify how your product or service will be beneficial to them. Come up with a list of three to five main benefits (your list may be longer, depending on your service).

For example, if you offer accounting services to small business owners, some of your benefits may be that you:

  • Ensure they have accurate accounting records.
  • Make accounting a hands-off process for them.
  • Offer support come tax season.
  • Ensure their financial data is properly stored and managed.
  • Create financial reports to help them make informed business decisions.
  • Handle regulatory compliance requirements.

4. Focus on their pain points.

This part is twofold: You want to not only show that your benefits can ease the prospects' pain points, but also ask smart questions about the issues they face.

Let's use the accounting service example again. These might be the pain points for small businesses that don't use an accounting service:

  • They are overwhelmed by their business finances.
  • They stopped tracking their expenses and profits because they were using a spreadsheet.
  • They lack financial literacy.
  • They can't afford an accountant.
  • They spend too much time and effort on their business finances.

Once you have identified their problems, ask them questions directly related to those pain points. For example:

  • What part of tracking your business's finances is the hardest for you?
  • What methods have you tried to track your business's finances?
  • By doing your own accounting, what are you letting fall by the wayside?

Because this is all about what you can do for your prospective client, try to spend extra time on this step.

5. Prepare a closing.

Just like the essays you wrote in high school, your sales pitch needs a conclusion. This will depend on how the conversation goes, but your closing could be asking them for more time or whether they want to hire you.

Keep in mind that this conversation is about the customer. While you are selling your product or service, you want to give them an incentive to either enlist your services or continue talking to you.

Key takeaway: Developing a sales script requires a deep understanding of your service or product, as well as the audience you are trying to serve.

Sales script examples

When you're crafting a sales script, it's important to be clear and concise, to not dominate the conversation, and to avoid jargon. Check out some examples of sales scripts for different communication methods below.

Phone

Introduction: Hello, [potential customer's name], this is [your name] from [company name]. I help [target audience] [value point]. Is this something you would like to learn more about?

Hello, Sasha, this is Mark Michaels from Michaels Marketing. I help small business owners hire marketing professionals who can hit the ground running. Is this something you would like to learn more about?

Pre-qualifying questions: I have a few questions: [list questions].

I have a few questions:


What are your biggest challenges when hiring new marketing professionals?

Have you worked with marketing professionals in the past?

What budget have you set for marketing?

Pain points: When speaking with other small business owners, we've heard them say [pain points]. Is this a concern to you?

When speaking with other small business owners, we've heard them say that they're unsure how to gauge if a potential hire has the right skills to elevate their marketing. Is this a concern to you?

The product or service: Based on our conversation, you might find it useful to talk at length about what [company name] can do for you. [Company name] [details about product or service].

Based on our conversation, you might find it useful to talk at length about what Michaels Marketing can do for you. Michaels Marketing helps companies find professionals who can handle all things marketing, whether that's rolling out a campaign from scratch or improving on existing strategies.

Close: I know you weren't expecting my call, and I want to be respectful of your time. Are you available for a 15- to 20-minute meeting where we can further chat about [pain points]?

I know you weren't expecting my call, and I want to be respectful of your time. Are you available for a 15- to 20-minute meeting where we can further chat about your marketing goals and how we have helped other companies transform their businesses with the right talent?

Email

Subject line: The right marketing professional for your business

Hello, Sasha,

At Michaels Marketing, small business owners regularly tell us:

  • They don't know how to find the right marketing talent.
  • They don't know how to gauge if a potential hire has the right skills.
  • They don't know how much budget to allot to a marketing professional.

Do you have time to chat for 15 to 20 minutes about the marketing challenges your business faces? I can share how we have helped other small businesses find marketing professionals who are ready to hit the ground running.

You can book time on my calendar here: [link to tool]

Best,
Mark Michaels

Voicemail

Hello, Sasha, this is Mark Michaels from Michaels Marketing. When speaking with small business owners, we typically hear that:

  • They don't know how to find the right marketing talent.
  • They don't know how to gauge if a potential hire has the right skills.
  • They don't know how much budget to allot to a marketing professional.

We can help in all these areas, which is why I have reached out to you today. I will give you a call again next week, but if you want to catch up before then, you can reach me at [phone number].

Again, this is Mark Michaels from Michaels Marketing, and you can reach me at [phone number]. I hope to speak to you soon.

In person

Hi, Sasha. It's so nice to meet you. I'm Mark Michaels, and through Michaels Marketing, I help small business owners hire marketing professionals who can hit the ground running.
I'd love to learn more about you and your own challenges hiring marketing professionals. I have a few questions:
What are your biggest challenges when hiring new marketing professionals?
Have you worked with marketing professionals in the past?
What budget have you set for marketing?
It's interesting that you say you aren't sure how to gauge if a potential hire has the right skills to elevate your marketing. This is something I've heard in the past from many other small business owners. To help with that, we set up time with small business owners to learn more about their goals. From there, we can pinpoint what skills you most need in a marketing hire. Is this something you would be interested in?
I don't want to take up too much of your time. Are you available for a 15- to 20-minute chat so that I can help you find the right marketing professional for your business?

Key takeaway: Tailor your script to the communication channel. Make it concise, relatable and actionable for your customers.

Yara Simón is a Nicaraguan-Cuban-American author, journalist, and small business owner passionate about entrepreneurship and Miyazaki movies.

Image Credit: fizkes / Getty Images