Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Scripts: What Works?

Most work at one specific time. When?

Quick story:

Went to Lenscrafters in Burnsville Center near my home. Vision "white" and "foggy" in right eye. Told her that everything was cloudy. The "doctor" completed her exam on my eyes. Said "healthy eyes," gave me a prescription and off I went with glasses. The script was useless. Glasses did no good...at all. By Wednesday no change w/ or w/o the glasses on.

Went to my regular real eye doctor, Dr. Ottenstrauer in Eagan, for a real examination. Told him the same thing I told the "doc" at Lenscrafters. He looked concerned...focused. Immediately he found the cataract on my "lens" in my right eye. Surgery required in a few months. No glasses prescription necessary. "Use readers you can get from Target. Your script will likely be different after surgery..."

Lenscrafters only cared about making the sale. My real doc cared about my eyes. I returned my glasses to Lenscrafters and gently suggested the "doc" take the eye exam more seriously. Cataracts: Number one cause of blindness. I asked my real doc if cataracts were hard to see in the examination. "Not this one..."

Sure. I got ripped off in more than one way but what does that have to do with scripts?

Everything. You see, Lenscrafters has the same goal for every customer and it isn't to have me become a loyal customer. It is to sell me a pair or two of glasses when I walk in the door. If the goal was to manage the health of my eyes and sell me a pair of glasses IF I needed them and not a surgery that would save my right eye from going blind, a different experience would have happened. It's their script....

Unfortunately people can't use the same script over and over. Long term, they don't work.

Why don't sales scripts, therapy scripts or any other kind of scripts work after the first few weeks? ( With the notable exception of a script/screenplay...)

In the theater each person has a set of lines within a script for an entire play. The play has the same context and same tone every time it is performed. The same exact lines are said in every play. It is 100% scripted. Each scene is blocked out. All the characters do and say the same thing every night.

If you say the same words to everyone you talk to... you take that person out of the equation and they know it. They feel it. They respond precisely as they should.

Click.

Scripted words will get a response from a very small percentage of the people you come into contact with. To be sure, quite a number might say "yes" today but they will not fulfill their part of the deal as soon as they are out of your presence. This is true in all human interaction. Therapy, management, selling, dating.

Why?

You obligated them to act without taking into consideration WHO they are.

No empathy = no true commitment.

Say a bunch of words that someone else wrote and you treat each person like an irrelevant piece of baggage.

Managers, salespeople, maybe some therapists think that scripts are useful. They aren't. Yes, on day one, they provide a framework for learning. From day two forward they teach your people to treat other people like luggage. Any success with a script will be very short lived.

The person on the other end doesn't know the lines...well O.K., they know one line...

"No."

Even when they are twisted into a "yes." The answer will be "no" when they are off the phone, out of the house or have escaped from the office.

I have a confession.

A million years ago, I wrote scripts for salespeople.

I also wrote scripts for hypnotherapists.

Both ideas were big mistakes. Skeletons in my closet.

Oh, they were "awesome." They read well. They sounded great to others who weren't the customer or client. They had cool metaphors, great stories, perfect leverage points. They had everything except for someone who cared about the other person...which after a period of time... I finally realized was the first key to success.

I repented and saw the errors of my ways. The results were predictable. Like every other great script writer, they started out very good and soon deteriorated. They always do. Guilt replaced the boredom that replaced enthusiasm in the mouths of those uttering words...taking the only human element out... of the scripts.

So what DO you DO?

Think: Empathy. Feeling. What do THEY want. Why? What kinds of things are important to them or need to be important to them! What would be fun for them. What might they like?

Requirement: Discovery. Curiosity. Empathy. Sincere interest that will sell you forever. Because they are buying you first and your service much later.

Then you need a Play Book.

A play book is what the coach pulls out for each down of the game. Depending on the location on the football field, whether winning or losing, by how many points and how much time is left on the clock the choice of plays narrows to a few excellent options.

A play book is a set of templates of plans that you would like to execute. Depending on the other person's response the actual play will vary a great deal from usage to usage. Sometimes a long touchdown will be the result. Other times a 5 yard loss.

One thing is certain if the ball were handed off to the running back to the hit hole where the Guard was and Ray Lewis is the next human in sight, it would be wise to abandon any "script" and *think!*

Thus...a playbook. A set of templates, designs, actions and response and responses to actions.

The baseball manager knows whether the hitter hits right handed or left handed pitching better or worse and will bring in the best pitcher for the job. The results will vary but knowing the variables, knowing the quality of the players you face, their strengths and weaknesses, knowing what to do in each situation is what makes a great manager.

In business, a lot of managers run from a "script." That's why they stink.

Good managers have dozens of templates that adjust to each situation. Excellence. The same is true of all great salespeople, speakers, therapists.

You can't teach improvisation from a script. You teach it by teaching the person the various outcomes that will happen in different situations and settings. Improvisational ability is one of the qualities of charisma.

Sounds like a lot of work. A lot of time. At first it is...then you have so many successful clients and customers you don't have time to fail anymore. And that is one of the great differences between success and failure.

It will literally change your life.

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