One Writer’s Sales Script

by Anne Wayman

writing revenue is upBy Helen Kaiao Chang

A while back Helen wrote The Writer as Sales Person. Among other things she mentions creating a sales script. Now she shares her sales script with us.  - aw

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:

  • Stop
  • Look
  • Listen
  • Use your head
  • Heart
  • 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.

Helen Kaiao Chang is a ghostwriter, editor and journalist, specializing in business and motivational topics. She may be reached at www.ghostwriter-needed.com.

 

Two newsletters:
Abundant Freelance Writing – a resource for freelance writers including 3x a week job postings.
Writing With Vision – for those who want to get a book written.

Image from http://www.sxc.hu


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Helen Chang June 3, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Amy and Ron –

Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Ron, thank you also for your additional tips.

This certainly enriches the conversation and I hope at least a few writers may benefit from it!

Warm wishes,
Helen : )
.-= Helen Chang´s last blog ..Jan 14, Freelance Ghostwriters at Your Service =-.

Reply

ron lewis June 3, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Hi Helen,

Thank you for the follow-up blog. While you are in a different market than I am (I mostly write B2B marketing communications), most of the strategies are the same with one notable exception – your prospects are making an emotional decision. Most wannabe authors have a deep emotional attachment to their book.

In that regard, you are on the right track. I would definitely focus on getting them to start talking – which shouldn’t be too hard as long as you present yourself as an eager listener. I would think that expressing empathy very quickly in the conversation will help. Because most wannabe authors share some common frustrations, you should be able to formulate a handful of short empathetic statements covering those common topics. At the first sign from the prospect that that have one of those frustrations, throw your statement in, and then shut up. That should get them to start talking, and that should get you halfway there.

Some miscellaneous tips:

The easiest way to sell someone is if they think it was their idea to buy from you. Be empathetic and throw out some brief examples of how you’ve helped other authors. Don’t make it obviously about them, just about other authors who had similar problems, and try to end with an easy question that moves the subject slightly – enough to make it seem like you weren’t trying to pitch them with those services, but not so much that they have to think about it so much that they forget about your story. The net effect should be that, in the back of their mind, they’re thinking about how you might be able to help them that same way. In a few minutes, they should ask – “hey, do you think you could do that for me?” You act surprised, think about it for a few seconds, and respond positively.

Also, when selling on the phone, it is very important to synch your voice to that of the prospect – very quickly. You have to recognize their tone within their first few words. Are they talking fast, slow, loud, soft? Do they seem in a hurry or distracted? By matching their tone, you don’t irritate their thinking process.

Gotta run, but you’re doing great!

Reply

Amy June 3, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Thank you, Helen, for taking the time to followup on our request for more guidelines to the Writer’s Sales Script.
I find most helpful the mindshift that it is about “them” not us, and that actually takes some pressure off. It is much easier and more effective to find out what someone needs, and just talk to them about their project and how you can solve their problems, then to begin by “pitching” yourself as a writer, promoting your general abilities.
I was curious about the “guiding questions” to find out their motivation…
I realize it’s a long list, but just a couple examples, as I was not sure where to begin with that.
Tks again for the followup on this topic.
Amy

Reply

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