If you work in sales, you’re probably all too familiar with the ins and outs of making a cold call. No matter how many times you do them, there’s still a small part of you that gets nervous as the phone rings in anticipation for your prospect to pick up.

While a sales script is supposed to ease some of that anxiety, you probably find that most people can easily tell when you’re using one. They’ve been exposed to them so many times, after all, that they’re simply just familiar with how they sound.

When your prospect picks up their phone and gets a narration rather than a conversation, they’ll just feel like a name on your list to check off and immediately lose interest. They may simply hang up, or if you’re lucky, they may ask you to email them the information. Either way, not a great outcome to the call.

But if a sales script sounds obviously inauthentic, does that mean you shouldn’t use one? Definitely not. According to the experts at VanillaSoft, a sales script is an essential part of a sales rep’s toolkit. But instead of relying on it word-for-word, reps should instead use scripts to help them organize their thoughts and guide the conversation along.

The Problem

While you could have yourself a poorly written sales script, the problem is more likely that you’re not taking the right approach when reading it. Are you engaged when using your script? Do you show emotion in the way you say the words? If you’re not emoting or engaging with what you’re saying, then you end up just sounding like a robot, and no one likes that.

The act of selling is both an emotional as well as an intellectual endeavor, and if your script reading is lacking this, then you’re not connecting with your prospects. You simply come off as disengaged, disinterested, and even like you don’t know what you’re talking about since you’re relying too heavily on the script.
The Solution

Though it may sound difficult to do, the trick is to say the script in a way so that the prospect doesn’t suspect that somebody else wrote down what you’re saying. But how is that done? Here are six tips to help you achieve a seamless sales script reading.

1Treat Your Script as a Performance

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Your voice is an important tool that you are going to use to sell. And in order to use that tool, you need to be able to perform your script in a way that is convincing to your prospect.

This is because buying is an emotional decision, and the way the script is delivered has a lot to do with what kind of positive or negative emotions the prospect will feel. With the right tone and pacing, you can turn a robotic script to an authentic-sounding conversation that resonates with the prospect.

To help you master your performance, record your script reading, and then play it back to yourself. Keep practicing until you feel like you are comfortable with your words.

2Nail the Opening

The first few minutes of a sales call are the most important, as you only have that time to catch the interest of the prospect. However, openings are always the hardest as many reps struggle to find the words to say.

A successful opening should start with a quick introduction and then immediately follow up with the purpose of your call. It ensures that you’re both on the same page and that the prospect doesn’t feel like their time is wasted.

Bonus Tip: Use their name a few times so that it feels like you’re talking to them, not at them.

3Take a Back Seat and Listen

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When following a script, it’s easy to get carried away and forget to listen. While many salespeople will pause while the prospect is talking, they are so eager to return to their spiel that they tend to listen passively and continue with the script as if the interruption or objection didn’t happen. This is a huge mistake.

How are you supposed to convince the prospect that you understand their issues if you’re not willing to actively listen to them? Show them you care and understand by directly addressing or referring back to something they said during the call – it’ll let them know that you’re really paying attention.

4Going Off-Script is OK

When your conversation with a prospect goes off-script, you might find yourself getting anxious. The thing is, you cannot always control the conversation, and trying to constantly steer the conversation back on-script will sound forced and unnatural. Doing this also gives off the impression that you don’t really care about what the prospect has to say and that you only care about telling your story.

In these situations, it’s better to improvise and attempt to address the prospects’ concerns. Return to the script when it makes sense, or use it as a reference to cover key qualifying points when necessary.

5Get Comfortable with Silence

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You can always tell when someone is nervous when they start to speak fast and ramble. When on a sales call, it’s important to speak slowly and pace yourself to avoid rambling. Otherwise, you’ll give the prospect the impression that you are uncertain and take away any credibility of what you’re saying.

What’s more is that it’s important not to be tempted to fill in spaces of silence, especially when the prospect is thinking. It’s natural that when you ask a question that the person will take a few seconds to think and answer.

Instead of panicking and trying to fill in the gaps, just relax and take a breath. If your prospect is thinking, that’s good news – it means that they are actually engaging with you.

6Close the Call with a Recap

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Before ending your call, make sure you briefly go over your next steps, whether that means confirming that you will be sending over more information via email or that you will be calling again at a later date and time (be specific with the details).
By now, you should be comfortable with using the prospect’s name. Make sure to use it when signing off.

Ready to Make a Call?

Remember that it’s all about sounding natural, but that you also need your sales script as a guide to keep you on track. Focus on working on these tips, and you’ll be a pro at script reading in no time.