15 Essential Tips For Avoiding Poorly-Crafted Sales Scripts

15 Essential Tips For Avoiding Poorly-Crafted Sales Scripts


When it comes to delivering pitches, sales professionals will often work from a script to help keep the intention of their interaction with a prospect at the forefront. However, some scripts feel inauthentic and rehearsed, especially if salespeople adhere too closely to them on calls or during meetings.

To help ensure your sales pitch is supported by a useful script that keeps the discussion focused on the task at hand while also flowing naturally—as a conversation should—15 members of Forbes Communications Council share their top tips for writing effective sales scripts.

1. Focus On Building Relationships Instead

Avoid a sales script altogether; instead, use bulleted questions and key points. Being human and building relationships will work better than a script. Define needs and value, and deliver something your buyer wants versus sticking with a canned script and forcing your product. Never be disingenuous by name-dropping people you don’t know or using the “re:” subject line. – Amanda Ponzar, CHC: Creating Healthier Communities

2. Don’t Overwhelm Your Audience

Most sales pitches start with offering features and benefits without due focus on the problem statement. Keep in mind that while it’s easy for you to remember all the features of your offering, a laundry list of functions is bound to overwhelm and confuse prospects. Whatever the subject matter, it should be quick, to the point and attention-grabbing. – Sowmya Moni, Incture

3. Include A Tangible ‘Ask’

Sales scripts should avoid canned conversation. Instead, provide sales reps with key messages and points to get across, as well as a tangible “ask” before the call ends. This way, all calls can flow naturally while aiming to hit all key talking points and end the call with a specific request of the potential client. – Jen Farmer, Neat Capital

4. Don’t Ask, ‘Does That Make Sense?’

“Does that make sense?” is a phrase that, while often just filler or used to solicit affirmation, can imply your audience is ignorant or unintelligent. If you want feedback, ask for it directly or provide a pause to take questions. You could also be admitting that you were not clear by using this phrase. Either way, it can be demeaning and disingenuous. – Clay Tuten, KeyMark Inc

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

5. Don’t Sacrifice Creativity

Sales scripts should be delivered in their own unique way. Factoring in aspects such as brand perception, the product/service and current times should allow more creativity when developing a sales script. Not putting any common phrases in a sales script will make it appear more authentic and make it more interesting for people to look into. – Patrick Ward, Rootstrap

6. Include Meaningful Questions

If almost every discussion leads to “that’s why you need X tool,” that can lead to a lot of frustrated prospects (and sales reps). A healthy conversation shouldn’t result in every prospect needing your product or service. Scripts should include meaningful questions that lead to an honest discussion when the needs and product/service don’t line up. – Tom Treanor, Treasure Data

7. Cut Jargon From Your Script

Sales reps who work directly off scripts tend to sound robotic. It’s best to ditch the script entirely and partner with your brand team to craft a jargon-free, benefit-focused playbook that your sales reps can reference. Be sure to include strong value propositions, customer success stories, any data you have related to ROI, and potential rebuttals to concerns voiced by the prospect. – Melissa Zehner, Foundr

8. Don’t Make ‘Guarantees’

The term “guaranteed” can feel unattainable and make it feel as if the campaign is promising something too good to be true. Authentic campaigns should also have a dialogue that feels organic without being too forceful, and any testimonials or success stories should be about personal experiences that are relatable. – Victoria Zelefsky, The Menkiti Group

9. Avoid Impersonal And Self-Serving Phrases

Avoid any and all phrases that are impersonal and self-serving. You don’t need to say a certain list of features or talk through detailed talking points. Stop it. Conversations are personal and dynamic. You can always go back and get more technical information later. In fact, if you don’t get to share something or don’t know the answer, that’s a good thing. That means the person was interested. – Corey Morris, Voltage

10. Use A Bullet-Point Outline Instead

The best sales “script” isn’t a script at all. Every salesperson needs to be able to articulate your company’s value proposition and pitch in their own words. It’s the only way for it to come across as authentic. It’s better to arm your sales team with a bullet-point outline of key features and benefits and then work with each of them on their own personal delivery and messaging style. – Tom Wozniak, OPTIZMO Technologies, LLC

11. Demonstrate Real Knowledge About Your Audience

“We’ve helped a lot of companies like yours” is often followed by information showing that the salesperson knows very little about my company or the related industry. To be authentic, the salesperson should be able to demonstrate real knowledge about the target audience. – Kate Warrington, Academic Partnerships

12. Don’t Say ‘Let Us Help You’

When it comes to the goal of your sales pitch, of course you want to help the customer alleviate a pain point or provide a unique benefit they couldn’t enjoy without your product or service. However, when you say, “Let us help you,” the phrase always rings inauthentic. A better persuasive technique is to explain exactly what your product or service can do to help. – Melissa Kandel, little word studio

13. ‘In These Unprecedented Times’

In my opinion, anything that includes the phrase “in these unprecedented times” should be cut from your marketing material. It’s something we’ve heard a thousand times before from countless companies, and it’s about time we cut it out. It doesn’t come across as genuine or authentic, and at this point, we don’t want to be reminded of the ongoing public health situation more than we have to be. – Amine Rahal, Regal Assets

14. Don’t Use Clunky Language

Nothing is more awkward than when it is obvious that a salesperson is reading from a script. If you must write a script versus allowing your sales team to speak more naturally, read it and re-read it to find any awkward turns of phrase. It’s a good idea to ask others to give feedback on it, too. Clunky language just doesn’t land. – Jaime Hunt, Miami University

15. Enable Your Team To Deliver The Sales Message In Their Own Way

A script doesn’t encourage learning or the retention of information. So unless you write the script you deliver, it’s unlikely to be delivered with authenticity! Training and sales certification programs enable the sales team to understand the message but deliver it in their own way—which will, in turn, be better received by your prospects. – Rosie Guest, Apex Group Ltd.


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