How to Improve a Bad Script

If you missed my workshop on writing a killer prospecting script last week, then you missed a golden opportunity to take an ineffective script and turn it into a script that engages your prospects and helps you build the rapport you need to determine whether or not you’re dealing with a true buyer for your product or service. (The good news is that you can purchase a replay of the workshop by clicking here).

One of the things we did in the workshop is we began with a typically bad scripted opening, and we changed it into an opening that creates interest and allows you to interact with your prospect. Here is the example we used for a bad opening (by the way, this is a real example of how bad some company’s scripts actually are – I hope yours isn’t like this!):

“Hi my name is _______ _______ with ABC Merchant Solutions and we work with local business owners such as yourself and we help you process your credit cards more efficiently while also offering a host of value added services such as gift cards, reward cards and other services that can help you operate more profitably.

The reason for the call is that I would like to schedule an appointment to find out who you are using now and to show you the kinds of services that we can help you with. Would you have time later in the week or is there a day next week that may work better for you?”

Whew! This script is terrible because (among others things) it doesn’t make any connection with the decision maker – in fact it alienates them; it pitches at the prospect giving them no opportunity to respond or engage; and you can just feel the prospect waiting for the sales rep to take a break so they can blow them off.

Again, this is how many prospecting scripts are structured. In the workshop, we changed this opening to this:

“Hi __________ this is ________ ________ with ABC Merchant Solutions, how is your Thursday morning going so far?

[Listen and respond appropriately!]

Briefly __________, we specialize in working with local businesses like yours helping them process credit cards more cost effectively. Let me ask you a quick question…”

This new opening is much improved for many reasons. To start with, the sales rep is engaging in a conversation and is actually speaking with someone instead of ‘at’ someone. They are also allowing time for the prospect to interact which allows them to gage the level of interest of the prospect. The value statement is short – just one sentence – and it ends with a qualifying question which once again allows the prospect a chance to speak and the rep a chance to listen to what and how the prospect responds.

We followed this up with a list of four sample questions (of course there are many others and many different kinds of questions depending on how receptive the prospect is and what your product or service is). Here is a list of sample questions:

“Besides accepting credit cards at your business, do you offer any kind of a rewards cards or gift cards to your customers?”


“You do accept credit cards there at your business, don’t you?”


“If I could show you a way to increase your revenue right now and offer you better service and support, would you be willing to invest 5 minutes to find out how?”


“How do you currently process the majority of your credit cards – there in the store or do you also do business online?”

By asking questions like this early in the process, the sales rep can develop a consultative sales approach, build rapport with the prospect, determine their level of interest, get valuable information on what direction to go in next and a lot of other information that most reps never get. This approach also sets up the next part of the script which involves handling any initial resistance or objections that may come up.

In addition to this first part of the script, we then moved on to other qualifying, exploratory questions, additional objection handling, and then we moved into the importance of qualifying for the “big four” areas of identifying a qualified lead. We then completed the call defining a commitment and recap and then proceeded to get buy in on the next steps.

These (and other areas) make up the definition of a qualified lead. It’s still amazing to me that many sales reps use ineffective scripts that are almost devoid of any true qualifying questions, but they do. In fact, we also had a discussion on how most sales companies have the philosophy of stuffing as many leads into their pipeline as possible and seeing how many come out the other end. This is why the national closing percentage is roughly 2 out of 10 leads (and that’s of leads that have supposedly been qualified and sent information!).

I know this is all sounding like a shameless endorsement of you purchasing the replay of this invaluable webinar, and, well, OK, it is! The bottom line is this: If you’re not using proven and effective methods and processes to earn the right to speak with decision makers and you don’t know how to build rapport and qualify them when you do, then you’re simply not going to make many sales in your business. In fact, you’ll struggle and end up hating your job (or wonder why your company isn’t succeeding). And that can easily be changed by investing a little bit of money and time in learning better techniques.
Eighty percent of sales reps will never do this, but 20% will. And it’s that 20% that end up making all the money and living the life that others only dream about. I’m here to tell you that you can get better and move into that elite group, too, if you really want it.

If you do, you can start here.