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Sales - 8 min READ

Sales scripts vs. no sales scripts: the ultimate showdown

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Copper Staff

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Sales scripts (a.k.a. “call scripts” or “cold-calling scripts”) are precisely what they sound like: scripts that salespeople use in order to make sales. But do they really need them?

Sales scripts (a.k.a. “call scripts” or “cold calling scripts”) are precisely what they sound like: scripts that salespeople use in order to make sales. But do they really need them for the sales process?

Sales scripts root back to the OG telemarketers of generations of sales teams and salespeople before us. They relied on these pre-written scripts when mass calling leads hoping to catch a few hot ones before the workday came to an end. And then rinsed and repeated it all the next day.

The difference now is that modern sales reps aren’t (or at least, shouldn’t be) simply reading off a sheet of paper when making calls, but rather using scripts more as reference material to provide the framework for their sales calls. (#TeamSalesScripts)

But is that even necessary? Or is it time to say goodbye to sales scripts for cold calling once and for all? (#TeamNoSalesScripts)

Well, let’s see what each of these contenders’ got, shall we.

This is the ultimate showdown: pro sales scripts vs. no sales scripts.

Let the sales games begin.

The benefits of sales scripts

First up, let’s see what #TeamSalesScripts has to offer for prospects and potential customers.

1. Sales scripts keep the message focused + concise.

Have you ever talked to someone that just sucks at telling stories?

For example, they’ll start talking about one thing then jump from one topic to another making the story hard to follow. Or, they’ll include too many irrelevant details making the story drag on way longer than it needs to.

Without a sales script for a cold call, your sales calls could end up sounding like a poorly-told story.

You want to be able to get to the point quickly and do it in a way that engages the listener, not bores them to death. A script helps keep your sales call, and sales conversation, on track.

2. Sales scripts give sales reps a confidence boost.

Wavering confidence can sink your cold call sales pitch. With a script in front of you, however, you don’t need to doubt whether what you’re saying is accurate or scramble to think of what to say next in a sales conversation.

You’ll also ideally have a list of well thought out rebuttals to common objections on hand, allowing you to address them smoothly using a cold calling script, without missing a beat.

When a sales rep is reading from a cold calling script, people can tell when a rep knows what they’re talking about and when they’re just making things up as they go. You want to position your company as an industry leader and yourself as an expert in your field—so don’t just wing it.

3. Sales scripts result in better voicemails.

Imagine calling a lead and going to voicemail (which happens… a lot). If you don’t have anything planned, then you’re more likely to leave something generic that isn’t likely to reap as many results for a sales team:

“Uh hey *pauses to check name in CRM* Bob, I’m calling from [Company Name]. Call me back when you get a chance.”

If you have a sales script ready, on the other hand, you’ll be able to leave them a nicely-tailored voicemail that’s bound to get you a call back:

“Hey Bob, this is [Your Name] from [Company Name].

I’m calling because [reason for calling]. I’d love to chat with you about [thing that benefits them].

My number is [phone number]. I’ll shoot you an email as well. Look forward to hearing your thoughts. Bye for now.”

(Check out these tips on leaving the perfect sales voicemail.)

4. Sales scripts make training easier.

Where sales scripts make the biggest difference has got to be for newbies, like an up-and-coming sales rep.

Having pre-approved dialogue written down in an effective sales script gives new hires material to practice repeatedly. This repetition builds muscle memory and allows them to get comfortable in their delivery.

It also helps make sales conversations more predictable even though they’re working for a brand new company with totally different products.

This all ultimately minimizes sales onboarding time for new hires.

5. Sales scripts let you run A/B tests.

Why have one sales script when you can have two? You can A/B test two variations of sales scripts among your team at the same time and see which one results in more closed deals.

Then, scrap the underperforming script.

You can introduce new variations of sales call scripts as you like for continuous improvement.

6. Sales scripts make scaling simple.

Because sales scripts are written down, they’re quantifiable. This means the length of time a sales call takes can be roughly attributed to the length of the script.

Which is very useful if, say, you need to cut down sales call time in order to be able to make more calls. Just take a look at the script and trim verbiage as needed. Scripts also make it easier if you ever want to add something to your pitch like mentioning a new feature or special. Just pull up the text and see where it fits.

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The downside of sales scripts

Now, let’s see what #TeamNoSalesScripts’ got.

1. Sales scripts cause reps to over-rely on them.

Why study for an open-book test?

When sales reps are given scripts to use rather than have to come up with their own dialogue, they may use them to replace product knowledge. In other words, scripts act as a crutch; if you were to take that crutch away, they’d be helpless.

The argument here is that scrips disable sales reps from the beginning and don’t set them up for success.

2. Sales scripts make delivery sound fake and robotic.

If you have a script in front of you, you might be tempted to read it straight off the page, making your sales calls sound inauthentic and impersonal.

And no one, including sales reps, wants to talk to a robot.

Number three… *cricket noises* oh, is that all the cons there are for sales call scripts? Sweet, let’s wrap this up then.

And the winner is…

Sales scripts—by a landslide!

Buuut with a few conditions.

We did some “consumer research” on this whole sales scripts vs. no sales scripts debacle (a.k.a. we creeped LinkedIn) to find out why some sales professionals are anti-script. Here’s what we found:

It seems like the real concern isn’t whether or not scripts should exist, but that they’re not being used effectively (resulting in those cons we mentioned above).

Think of when someone is giving a speech. A well-delivered speech is made by a speaker who is clear, makes eye contact with the crowd, etc.

But almost everyone delivering speeches has cue cards in front of them, which they glance at from time to time during their performance. Is this wrong? No, it’s merely to ensure they don’t miss anything.

Sales scripts should be treated like cue cards for sales reps. Pretend you’re delivering a speech—your cards are there to help you when you need them, not for you to read off the entire call.

Can the cons of sales scripts be avoided?

Sure they can.

Let’s look at the concerns we went over above about using sales scripts:

  • Sales scripts cause reps to over-rely on them.
  • Sales scripts make delivery sound fake and robotic.

Both of these things have the same underlying issue for sales scripts: you don’t know your business well enough to confidently speak about it in your own words. As a result, you’re scared to go off script, and that's why you “over-rely” on it and are “robotic” when speaking with customers.

This can be fixed. Here’s how:

Don’t treat sales scripts like gospel.

Be sure to make it clear to your team that sales scripts are meant to guide reps, not to restrain them.

So, if they find a way to rephrase something from a good sales script that sounds more natural to them, do it. If they want to add their own touch here and there, more power to them. As long as the framework is there, if reps want to personalize the experience, encourage it.

Practice the scripts with each other before trying them on a customer.

If your reps sound like robots on the phone, it’s probably because they don’t know the script well enough. Implement role-playing sessions when rolling out new verbiage, giving reps (especially new hires) time to practice it with each other before getting them on the phone with real customers.

This will help them get used to the flow of the script and give them a chance to ask any questions without the pressure of having a prospect on the line.

Don’t call them “scripts.”

To completely diminish the mentality that scripts are things to be followed to a T, you could refrain from calling them scripts at all. Instead, you can call them “talking points,” your “call framework,” or even “call hacks.”

This will help cement the fact that sales reps have the freedom to add their own flavor to their calls and experiment to find their own unique style that works best for them.

Plus, if a rep discovered a “secret sauce” for an existing script, they can share it with the rest of the team, resulting in continuous improvement over time.

To recap…

The key takeaways here are:

  • Don’t wing it.
  • Use a sales script.
  • Know how to use a sales script properly.

We also uncovered that the real question isn’t whether or not you should use a sales script during cold calls, but rather how to use sales scripts effectively. Luckily, we’ve got a blog post for that.

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