Today’s consumers (and yesterday’s, for that matter) are too savvy to be taken in by sales scripts. If you aren’t listening to the customer and adapting your process to what you hear, you will quickly lose the customer’s respect and trust.
Many years ago when my kids were 4 and 3 years old, we took them to a famous theme restaurant. When we were greeted, the host asked us if we had ever dined there before. We said no, so the host launched into her script. She said she would be our “safari guide,” and she told us about all of the parts of the dining area, explained about the thunderstorm that would occur every 20 minutes, told us where the restrooms were, etc. We continued going to this restaurant for the 10 years. Before long, even the kids were tired of hearing the script, so it became a family joke to see if we could get the hosts off of script. We started with, “Yes, we have been here many times.” The hosts stuck to script. We progressed to, “We have been here many times; you don’t need to tell us everything.” The hosts stuck to script. We tried harder with, “We have been here so many times that we can recite the tour in our sleep.” The hosts stuck to script. The last time we went, we said, “We know this place like the back of our hands. We know you are our safari guide, we know a rainstorm happens every 20 minutes, we know the restrooms are over there, and we know the names of every animal here.” The host stuck to script.
In this example, there’s not really any harm. Obviously – we have kept going back for 10 years. But it says something that even children see through the script and have turned it into a joke. The best sales success comes when customers believe a salesperson is genuine; scripts are not genuine.
But “no script” does NOT mean “no process.” A needs-based sales process which responds to the information which customers provide is the best way to be genuine and to gain customers’ trust. Effective execution of a good needs-based sales process depends on smart salespeople who have great listening skills and can think well on their feet. Listening and thinking are the keys, not scripting. Consider that as you hire your next salesperson!