For individuals not familiar with a rigid sales environment, the following information may seem bizarre, draconian, and even unbelievable.
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It was to me when I first entered into the financial services arena.
The process to which I am referring is the utilization of a script – word for word – to assist new employees in successfully offering products and services to customers.
My foray into the financial services arena held many surprises, the first of which was the requirement to memorize word for word a seven-page document that was to be used during any face to face meetings with clients.
The script was so carefully crafted in fact that it contained numerous common client "objections" to the sales process and scripted responses to those objections.
Not only did the script cover the basics of the services we were to offer, but it was so thoroughly researched and practiced that it dealt with the most common client questions BEFORE they were even asked. Impressive.
At the time, I was extremely unhappy with the requirement to learn this information for a number of reasons. Some of my initial complaints were: I don't talk this way, this is worded funny, I can come up with something better than this, no one is going to buy this etc…
However, despite my early observations, I propose to anyone not familiar with this process and who might be required to train new employees in a highly technical sales field – USE A SCRIPT!
Here are a few good reasons to use a script with new employees.
Scripts prevent big mistakes.
Financial services can be a dangerous place for people with a little knowledge, but not a lot of knowledge. Clients rely on the information given them by their advisor, and that information better be accurate. Until you are certain a new employee possesses the knowledge they need to give good information. Forcing them to follow a script will keep clients happy and your firm out of legal trouble.
Scripts prevent "collapse" in a meeting.
As a district manager I saw some shocking things in actual appointments with new advisors. I saw advisors completely freeze in terror. I saw advisors look pale and sick with anxiety. I saw clients staring blankly at the wall because they had no idea what was just said to them. While a script won't solve all these problems – it will greatly reduce them. New employees who are confident in their script are better presenters, they have more confidence, and the information they give is of overall higher quality. (Primarily because if the script is well written – it should have a track record of proven success.)
Scripts keep your brand image consistent.
The last thing I would like to mention about scripts is this: since it is not possible to be in every meeting and hear every conversation – using a script will increase the likelihood that the image and message you want portrayed will be more uniform across the board. If all your employees are using an approved script – clients will have a repeatable experience, and won't receive conflicting brand messages from different people. While you may not feel this is important in the short run – as your business grows it will become increasingly important to have a repeatable system. Scripting will help facilitate that.