Selling a new product is hard – a lot of times, you’ll do anything in your power to close the deal. This is great at a small, scrappy startup where there is maybe one salesperson selling along with the CEO. As your company prepares to scale, it is very important to lock down your sales script. Every sentence and word should be carefully chosen with a specific reaction in mind. Your future sales team needs something proven, something repeatable, and something that works if they are going to be successful joining your company and selling your product. I was in the studio this week with Ryan Denehy of Groupon discussing how to get the most out of your sales script and how to continue to improve it each and every week. The first step is coming up with the initial script and writing it down. Here are five things you can do to increase the effectiveness of your sales script and how your team uses it.
1) Talk to Your Existing Customers – Assuming that you have at least a few beta customers, you must realize that your relationship with them doesn’t end once they’ve signed your contract. Your initial customers are going to be the most valuable when it comes to understanding why people are buying your product. They will help determine what key points in your script stood out and which ones failed to add any value. After a customer comes on board, ask them if they are willing to take a short survey to help you hone your script. Once you have gathered enough data, aggregate it, and take a second pass at your script adding meat to the good parts and removing the trash.
2) Use Google Docs – Your sales script is a living breathing thing. You’re going to want to invite a few trusted collaborators (but not too many) to help you as you hone your script. You don’t want to be saving down hundreds of copies and emailing them back and forth to each other, or working on the script at the same time without knowing. Google Docs is your friend. Use it – store the working version of your script. Once you have a version you’re ready to share with the rest of the sales team, save down a PDF copy and share it through whatever method you use at your company.
3) Don’t Have Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen – Whether you’re creating the first version of your sales script or editing an existing one, make sure that you’re only including people on a need to know basis. Your head of sales probably has a good idea what is working and what isn’t and should be invited to collaborate. However, don’t open up the discussion to the rest of your sales team unless you want to be pulled in a million different directions. Similarly, your heads of product and marketing probably don’t need to be involved in the early stages of script creation, but make sure they get a final check to verify that everything you say about the product is truthful and paints it in the best possible light.
4) Know Your Audience – If your company is selling to a wide range of businesses then it is possible that you will need to create multiple versions of your sales script. The reason for this, of course, is because different businesses have different priorities. SMBs probably don’t care that you’ve raised a bunch of money from qualified investors. Enterprise companies, on the other hand, carebecause it shows them that your company has stability and your product will be around for a while. If you are selling to multiple types of businesses, it is likely you will need to create multiple versions. Modularize your script so that it is easy to swap out the custom parts that are specific for each customer segment.
5) Test, Test, Test – As we mentioned in the beginning of this post, your script is a living breathing entity. Once you’re happy with the initial version of your script, immediately begin to test small changes to see what effect they have on the outcome. This will be easier if your selling to SMBs than to Enterprises. If you’re selling to Enterprises, go back to lost deals, and ask them about why you lost the deal. If you lost the deal because of something you did or didn’t communicate, ask them about a different phrasing, and if it would have had any effect on the outcome.