Alright. I just had a call with a sales guy trying to sell me on HIS services. He worked for a printing company and asked if we would want his company’s services for printing a FileMaker training manual. I told him thanks, but no thanks. We are a virtual company. We don’t use paper. (You’re welcome, Hippies!) We do our training online and create electronic documents.
Being a sales guy myself, I tried to turn the call around on him and sell him on our services to no avail. Oh well. But as I was being talked to by this guy I realized something… hold on a second. Did you hear what I just said? I was being talked to by this guy! The guy knew his script very well. But he just stuck to it. There was no friendly banter or trying to talk to me like I was a regular person. Just him spieling his spiel.
The Boiler Room
It reminded me of the scene from the movie Boiler Room. A sales guy calls Seth Davis (Giovanni Ribisi), who has recently evolved into a slick salesman. When this sales guy tries to sell Seth a newspaper subscription over the phone, Seth ends up giving the guy a lesson in sales. (Warning, some profanity in the clip.)
Now I did not have this type of conversation with my sales guy call, but it illustrates my point. So here’s a post that taps back into some of my acting training. Learn the script. Learn it inside and out. Then… let it go.
Learn The Script and Let It Go
We get phone calls from all sorts of people with various positions at companies in various industries. The difference with our products and services is that it fits a very specific need for very specific people. When somebody calls me to talk about his need, it can be completely different from the person that called me 30 minutes prior. So how do you handle so many variables? You learn your script and then get off of it. What does that mean exactly? How do you do that?
Well, one of my passions happens to be acting. When doing a scripted play you need to learn the script. The play follows that script so precisely that there are sound and lighting cues that happen because of a particular line that someone says. But, if that person forgets those lines, and it does not cue your line or the lights, there is a little improvisation that needs to happen based on your intimate knowledge of the play, scene, and character. This allows you to cover and get the play back on track should the dreaded brain freeze or technology failure happen.
This works in sales as well. Because of the randomness of situations that can come up during a call, you need to be prepared to go with the flow. Get the script on the track that you want, but staying in line with the overall theme of the call.
While I lived in L.A. I became friends with an actor that has done some pretty amazing things on film. One time I asked him, “What is the most important thing you can do when going to set to shoot for the day?” He said, “Learn the script, and let it go. It is the only way to be free as an actor.” That really was an important acting lesson. It is true too in sales.
If you know your role, your company’s role to a “t”, you can sell to anyone who is willing to buy. Your improvisation skills take the conversation in many different directions… directions that other salespeople may not go. And this is what will set you apart from your competitors. Your ability to connect with the customer is what really makes your customer buy from you. This is what the customer will remember.