Scripting: The Secret Weapon of Successful Client ConversationsJuly 13, 2017 | By Wayne O'Neill
Scripting is a technique we teach all of our clients — from CEOs to technicians. It’s deeply interwoven into The Connection Process … and it can mean the difference between success and failure in that first call with a new client.
In a nutshell, scripting is proactively planning to hook the client in the first conversation.
You see, we humans have this tendency to talk about ourselves. Incessantly. When we get on the phone with a prospect, we start telling them about our firm and how many years of experience we have. We want to talk about what we bring to the relationship, and we want to go right to asking them for a meeting with their leadership or other decision-makers.
It’s all “me, me, me.”
Here at RESET, we teach you to shift your focus to “you, you, you,” and scripting is one of the most powerful ways to do this.
Plan to Get Punched in the Mouth
“Everyone has a plan ‘til they get punched in the mouth.”
That’s a quote from Mike Tyson, and it perfectly illustrates the importance of scripting.
Most of us approach an initial client conversation with a plan to tell them all about us. We memorize the sales pitch.
That won’t get you anywhere today.
Not only does no one have the time or patience for a pitch anymore, but this pitch leaves you zero room to respond when a client throws you a curveball. As soon as the client brings up an issue that your pitch doesn’t address, you’re stuck. The only response you have besides admitting your ignorance is telling the client you’ll get back to them on the issue. Neither of those scenarios is going to help you win the account.
It’s a virtual “punch in the mouth,” and you’re left scrambling to get your bearings again.
Instead, don’t even get on that first call until you’ve taken the time to understand your firm’s impact on the client’s business and political issues. When you deeply understand the client’s day-to-day situation and how you can help them solve their problems, you can respond to any curveball. You can take any “punch.”
Most importantly, though, you can approach the conversation from a standpoint of “we understand you, we can help you, and we want to see if we’re a good fit to help you tackle your unique challenges.” You’re not boxed into a pitch — you’re sharing your impact on their specific problems.
An Example of Scripting
Here’s an example from our own business.
The old “sales pitch” way of conversing with a client would be something along the lines of:
“We’ve been in business for 14 years, and we’ve helped a lot of clients, large and small. Let’s get together and talk about it.”
It’s not that that can’t work, but it likely won’t work. Your clients just don’t have time to spend in a meeting that’s all about you.
This is the way we might script a conversation, however:
“Mr. Severson, I’m calling you because we are intrigued with your firm. Here are some things we have learned:
We think you are focused on these vertical markets, which we have a lot of information about.
We believe you are trying to grow more effectively — not just from a revenue standpoint, but you are trying to grow profit.
We see you are trying to not only reduce expenses, but also connect more effectively with your clients.
I’m not sure if we could help you, but I think it may be worth it to sit down together with you and a couple of people on your leadership team to discuss this.
We’d like to share some of the research we’ve already done that may be applicable to solving these issues we think you may be challenged with.”
This shifts the conversation to the client. It’s also considerably more intriguing and it gives the client a real reason to meet with you.
Start With The Connection Process
To get to the right script, we teach our clients to follow The Connection Process.
In The Connection Process, you learn to identify Smart Clients, align their capture plans with the client’s business and political issues, and develop multiple paths to connection.
What you learn through The Connection Process will help you develop a script that intrigues the client, informs them that their time will be well-spent with you in a conversation, and establishes a stronger partnership from the get-go.
The Connection Process is not linear, however. It’s ongoing throughout your entire relationship with the client. So as your relationship develops and you learn more about your client’s situation, your script will improve and become even more effective with each new connection you make within the client’s business.
The Bottom Line
Coming to the table armed only with a memorized sales script is like playing football without a helmet or protective pads. The first time someone makes an unexpected move, you’re going to get knocked on your rear — and you probably won’t be in any shape to continue playing the game.
Scripting, on the other hand, requires that you come to the table fully informed. It establishes you as a valuable partner before the project is even introduced. It also gives you the flexibility to intelligently address any issues or concerns the client brings up during the initial conversation.
Before you have the first conversation with that prospective client, take the time script it out. A successful first conversation will set a positive tone for the entire ongoing relationship.