Why Top Sales Reps Don’t Use Scripts

Why Top Sales Reps Don’t Use calling Scripts


“Here, practice these bullet points before you start knocking”.

Literally, these were the first words I heard in my backyard sales career.  I had accepted a 1099 position to do summer sales at 17 years old and was going to move to a new city immediately upon high school graduation.  To earn my living, I had to learn quickly.  Unlike many kids my age, I was already paying rent and living (basically) on my own from the time I was a little older than 16. 

The stakes were very high because I had no soft landing should I fail.  Higher than just a cold call script to get a meeting, because I had to do this live and in-person.  I remember looking at the bullet points and practicing in my room.  A few days later they sent me a DVD that had some examples of exactly how to approach a door.  The need for practice was critical because I essentially had to memorize my pitch.  Lucky for me, I was well prepared and did very well for my age and experience.  This literally launched my career in sales.

What’s the difference between a script and bullet points?

Everyone has heard the bad phone call that normally is a robotic-sounding human asking “Is this Mr. (Name)?”.  “My name is (Agent Name) and I am calling on behalf of —“.  You get the idea, it is bad and even painfully awkward to listen to.  For better or worse, we are all human and have different ways of speaking, voice inflections, likes, interests, and families.  In short, scripts must be followed word for word and do not allow for humans to add in their personal, arguably human, words.  

What was “Is this Mr. (Name)?” Might instead be a bullet that says “is this ___”. Now the agent might be able to say “Hi this is Bob, umm, I had this number for (Name), us this he/she?”. The only piece the trip really must say is “is this” – everything else is simply adding to the flavor of the person speaking.  

Where do scripts work?

How many robotic telephone calls do you stay on?  Have you ever clinched the phone when trying to get the automated machine to connect you to a real person at a contact center?  Exactly, robots suck at conversations.  They are frustrating and unappealing.  

When it comes to sales, scripts work in very few places – the reason is that scripts tend to be forced and dehumanizing mechanisms for low/entry-level positions.  They could work for things like surveys, where exactly what needs to be said is precise and standard. 

How do frameworks (bullet points/talk tracks) work?

Everyone understands bullet points, but when we are talking about calls, we like to say “Call Frameworks” instead of “Bullet Points” or “Cold Call Scripts” etc.  In other arena’s we have also called these “Talk Tracks”.  

Nearly every sales methodology uses frameworks points to structure how a call should go.  These methodologies are made up of tips and tools of snippets called Frameworks (bullet points).  One of my favorite examples of this is Skip Miller’s “Summarize, Bridge, Pull” – this blog is not about this tool, but if you have never heard of it, you should look it up.  The short of it is that you need to summarize the call – “I learned a lot about A, B, and C” – Bridge “Do you agree?” – Pull “great, so next steps are…”.  Just like this, frameworks allow for a high level of flexibility to the sales representative or agent to adlib to the conversation as needed and give the structure/talk-tracks appropriate context.  In short, your team can say the right things, without sounding robotic. 

Practice makes perfect

When I’m asked, what are the best cold calling scripts, I say the best cold calling scripts are not scripts.  Nothing replaces human-to-human interaction, especially when that interaction is well-practiced.  Think of bullet points like a PowerPoint or slide deck – they keep you on track but don’t tell you exactly what to say – they may only “force” a small piece of a sentence and leave it to the rep or agent to handle the rest.  That all said, not every part of the conversation needs to be written down.  Saying “Hi this is ____” should come naturally to any of your salespeople.  Try practicing the agenda for the call and letting them do more with their personality than just a cold call script. 

Where do I start?

If you are looking for some great examples of Cold Calling Scripts, Mock Sales Call Scripts, or basically How to Run a Sales Call – just know, I will send you to our Frameworks.  

Check out our SDR Frameworks – our Inbound Framework, and our Outbound Framework below.  They are free and should put you on the right track to having your team level up in no time!

Inbound Framework

Prospects are drawn to your organization (likely already have done their research). How you engage with them needs to reflect this.

Using our Inbound Framework, you can manage a sales calls that acknowledges where your buyer is at in their process. 

Outbound Framework

Your SDR team struggled to book the meeting, now they are on the sales call. Acknowledging they might not even know they have a problem is key.

Using our Outbound Framework, you can guide your prospect through a journey that acknowledges where they are at in their journey.