Script Your Way to Being a Good Listener

By Paul Bunn

“I’m just preparing my impromptu remarks.” – Winston Churchill

One of the keys to effective listening, especially over the telephone, is to use a script.

Before you recite a myriad of reasons that disagree with that idea, momentarily suspend your disbelief and read on.

When prospecting, or selling, you either follow a well thought out process or you’re “winging it”. The chances are that if you’re winging it, you’re not thought of by your prospects as a good listener.

We train salespeople to design “offers” that quickly and accurately describe their product or service. Then we drill them on how to reply to eleven typical responses that they are likely to hear from prospects.

We also recommend that they create a “prospecting board” or visual display of these responses and standardized phrases to handle them. The most successful prospectors use them every time they prospect. Therefore they don’t have to memorize the replies, even if there are only 11 replies needed.

These successful prospectors also read their offer (script) every time they make a prospecting call. Do they sound like they are reading from a script? Yes, sometimes, in the beginning. Does it adversely affect their results? No, it actually has a positive effect.

In numerous surveys on the decision criteria people use in making important purchases, trust and respect are numbers one and two, respectively. Effective selling, whether you’re using High Probability or not, is about those two factors. Listening to prospects is one way to achieve mutual respect.

Even people who are great at multi-tasking find it very difficult to concentrate on two different speakers at the same time. If you are trying to listen to your prospects and at the same time, thinking about what you are going to say next, you’ll find that you don’t hear them or connect with them deeply enough.

Using a script is a reliable and measurable way to discover what works and what doesn’t work in your communication. It also is a way to be well prepared for making calls, and increase your listening and building a relationship of respect with your prospects. Scripts also keep you in control of the sales process.

If you are a salesperson who uses High Probability, perhaps this article is a reminder about one of the fundamentals of written offers and responses. For those of you who want a refresher or coaching on your prospecting system, stay tuned for the announcement of the High Probability Mastery Coaching Program. Or call us to find out more.

If you are a salesperson who is not using our system, to discover how using a script and a few short responses can help you sell more with less stress, and build relationships of respect with your prospects. Or, if you want to discover what HPS sounds like, give us a call at (610) 566-1535, or toll-free at (800) 394-7762.

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Script Your Way to Being a Good Listener

When Common Phrases Sabotage Sales

by Jacques Werth and Paul Bunn

We live in a cynical world.  Salespeople have helped create that world, by using words and phrases in ways that trigger suspicion, create mistrust and sabotage sales.

Many of these words and phrases are part of traditional and popular sales techniques that are intended to create trust and “build rapport” but actually do the opposite.

You may not even realize that you are using these words and phrases in a way that negatively affects your communication and your business.

Here are four of the most common ones:

“Interested”

Interested is the word that salespeople use when they don’t want to hear “No.”  Interested is the word that prospects use when they don’t want to say “Yes.” There is no commitment associated with interest.

Interested people are gathering information.  Interested people are not ready to buy.  Selling to them when they are merely interested is usually a frustrating waste of your time and energy.  Also, experience shows that it virtually guarantees that when they are ready to buy, they won’t buy from you.

Interested indicates an opportunity for marketing, not sales.

“Honestly” or “To Tell the Truth”

People pay more attention to what you do than what you say.  They have learned that when a salesperson says they are going to be honest, they are likely to do the opposite.

When it comes to honesty, don’t say it.  Be it.

“Just” or “Only”

“I just wanted to let you know…” or “Just fifteen minutes of your time.”  What does the word “just” imply in sales situations?  It communicates that you seem to be trivializing your communication in order to disarm the prospect. You’re minimizing the importance of your products and services, and your own time.  If someone is a real prospect for your product or service, it’s an important priority. 

“Thank You”

While gratitude in a business situation is often warranted, “Thank You” is one of the most over-used and abused phrases spoken by salespeople. 

There is no need to thank prospects for their time and attention.  Repeatedly thanking prospects and customers implies a subservient, begging, position, which will cause a loss of respect for you.

If you say thank you when no real value is received, then you will be seen as being insincere and phony.  That impression will sabotage your credibility, mutual respect and lose business.

In High Probability Selling, we have a list of more than 30 of these words and phrases. We train salespeople to become aware of, and then either eliminate them or radically change how they use them. 

People want to do business with people they can trust and respect.  They will try to avoid doing business with anyone who arouses suspicion.  The words you choose and the way you use them make all the difference.

To learn how to communicate with trust and respect, click here.

High Probability Selling
© 2008.  All rights reserved.

When Common Phrases Sabotage Sales

A Process for Sales Success

by Jacques Werth

Most salespeople, sales managers and sales trainers know that sales training seldom has a lasting beneficial effect.  The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), and other research organizations state that less than 25% of the people who take sales training courses obtain a sustained increase in their sales performance.   Why not?

The vast majority of organizations that conduct sales training teach the subject the same way they would teach a Philosophy or Literature class.  They outline their beliefs about the basic outline of their sales methods and invite the students to fill in the blanks.  However, for every product, service, industry, market and salesperson there are myriad ways to fill in the blanks.  Furthermore, the students are encouraged to “think creatively” in each situation; to “adapt their sales methods” to each individual prospect.  Almost all of them find that selling that way is too complex, and too difficult, to implement in the real world with real prospects.  

Creativity is extremely important to artists, researchers, consultants, parents, and in many other fields.  In sales, a consistent process that seldom varies is far more important.  Then, making changes to parts of the process should only be done when you discover something that consistently works better.

Top salespeople look at their selling skills as a craft.  Like carpenters, surgeons, accountants, and other skilled practitioners, they strive to do what works best the vast majority of the time.  That means they constantly hone their craft.  Working from a process outline, they fill in each section with what works best.  Most of the best salespeople seldom deviate from their complete sales process.  Rather, they work with written questionnaires and check lists during their conversations with prospects and customers. 

This is a typical sales process outline used by many top salespeople:

  1. Only meet with prospects that are ready, willing and able to specify or buy your type of product.  Confirm the facts before the first meeting.
  2. At the meeting, or telephone appointment, agree on the rules of engagement for the sales process.
  3. Determine whether you can have a relationship of mutual trust.
  4. Determine whether you have a mutually acceptable basis to do business.
  5. Agree on the prospect’s criteria for buying your product or service.
  6. Demonstrate how you will fulfill the prospect criteria and consummate the sale.  

For a lasting beneficial effect from sales training you must develop or find a consistent sales process, comprised of reality-based measurable steps and written questionnaires.  Then, you can develop the skill to utilize the process for consistent, long lasting sales improvement.

For more information about our proven sales process, click here.

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High Probability Selling Inc.
(C) 2007.  All Rights Reserved.

A Process for Sales Success