Okay, de-zombify is not a word. But it should be! A lot of sales scripts make reps sound like zombies, which is the last thing you want for your team: when prospects sense a zombie, they’ll get off the phone as quickly as possible.

Whether or not to script calls is a topic of constant sales management debate. Do scripts dehumanize your reps, or do they help new hires learn how to structure their calls? Do they feed a dependency, or do they support consistency that ensures high call quality? Both sides have some compelling arguments. But what if I were to tell you that there’s a best of both worlds – that you can build a sales script that doesn’t make your reps sound like zombies?

To start, there is a big difference between reciting a script and being prepared. You should provide a script to your reps, but they shouldn’t just read it off a piece of paper – they should use it as a guideline to prepare for calls. Reps in training might use the script a lot during their first few weeks on the job as a learning tool, but you should formalize the process of gradually weaning them off.

Set expectations up front to new hires: they can use the sales script for the first week or two, but by week three, they should tweak it for every call to sound more natural. Offer these guidelines:


  • Change specific wording to fit your personality. “Hello, how are you doing today?” just doesn’t sound natural for most people.

  • Adjust the opening after you pick up on what the prospect is like as a person. Pay attention to their mood, how busy they are, whether they’re talkative – and mirror their personality and demeanor as much as possible. One of the first indicators will be their response to the question “How are you?” If it’s a curt “Fine,” then stick to the point, push them a little more than usual, and don’t use fluffy language. If the response is “I’m great, thank you! How are you?” then match their cheerfulness. Empathize with them.

  • End the conversation when the prospect is ready for it to be over. Prospects often lose interest in the conversation before you’ve covered the entire contents of the script. When you sense they’ve had enough, wrap it up.


  • Change the company’s message. This one should be a no-brainer. The original script should include value propositions for your product or service – you can alter the wording, but don’t alter the message itself.

  • Deviate from the general outline of the original sales script. Calls need to follow some sort of logical path. When writing the script, identify the key elements of a call you deem necessary for it to be successful. Pro tip: identifying yourself and your company should not be the first thing your reps do on a call. As soon as a prospect doesn’t recognize your name or company, they will either stop listening or hang up. Avoid this by beginning the call with the reason you’re calling instead. If you sell software for advertising, for example, you could say, “I saw you just raised a round of funding. That’s great! Which area of your business are you trying to grow?” If they say marketing, then use this as a jumping off point.

The point of the sales script is to teach reps your company’s value propositions so they get comfortable talking about them and learn to integrate them into natural conversations. Speaking naturally about the value of your company will make them more likeable.

Which elements of a sales script do you think are important?

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