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One Writer’s Sales Script

19 May 2010 No Comment

By Helen Kaiao Chang

See original story on AboutFreelanceWriting.com

Don’t start with “Hi.” Don’t say my name.

Just go straight into asking “Is this the Jane Doe who has a great story and might like some help writing a book?”

This is how my sales script begins. It’s all about the potential client – in this case Jane – and what she would like. It’s not about me.

My sales script has brought many clients for me as a book ghostwriter. It’s an important part of my business toolkit, created for potential book clients. I do not use it with journalism editors or other types of clients who need different services, though I could tweak the formula to create new scripts.

I am sharing my formula here at the request of readers on this site. But you would have to customize it to fit your writing business. I also highly recommend taking sales classes to learn for yourself. SCORE www.score.org – a national training group for small businesses – is excellent; their classes are very reasonably-priced and the coaches are free. (No, I do not earn any commission from them!)

After getting over the idea of myself as a salesperson, I took classes and developed my script with a coach at SCORE San Diego www.score-sandiego.org. My script is now about seven pages, highlighted in yellow and green, with various questions and answers, depending on the potential client’s situation.

Here’s the general sales format:

Use your head
Make the sale
Stop means to get the potential client’s attention. This is the beginning of the conversation. If the prospect has already seen my website or come through a referral, this step may not be necessary, because he or she has already “stopped,” before talking to me. The key is to focus on their needs, not mine.

Look is about showing the client how I can help them. Here’s a sample sentence: “If I can help you complete your book professionally, quickly and easily, would you like to know more about it?” Again, if the client has already seen my website, this step is not always necessary.

Listen is just that. Let the client tell me about the project and what he or she needs and wants. This includes the project scope, audience, length, deadline, etc. More importantly, the key is to find out what the real problem is in the project and how I can solve it. This section alone can take 20 to 30 minutes.

Once I understand the problem – then, and only then – I ask their motivation. For example, some clients’ primary motivation is to generate a new income stream. For others, the main desire is to leave a legacy. Still others are driven to change thinking in the world.
I guide the client with a series of questions to uncover the answer. When I understand a person’s true motivation, I can comfortably align with the project and provide the solution. To me, this is the heart of the sales conversation.

Use your head is about sharing my professional experience and how it benefits the client and their project. I am confirming that I can do the project – if that is indeed the case. If it is not a fit, I suggest alternative solutions.

Heart means to connect with the client emotionally. One thing I learned is to paint a picture of the published book, so we both feel the satisfaction of completing the project.

If I have followed each step thoroughly, Make the sale comes naturally. This is when we discuss the price and terms of the project. It is as much about what the client wants, as what I need. But because we have forged a strong connection, we can talk with a great sense of trust.

More than anything, I have learned that sales is about connecting with a person and finding out what he or she really wants and needs. A script gives me the words and phrases to ask those questions and find out answers, so I can truly serve the client.

Follow Helen on Twitter @helenchang.

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