Do you trust canned responses?

We’ve all had it happen. We call a customer service number, or we’re dealing with a vendor, and our question is met with a response that sounds like it came out of a can. For most of us, this doesn’t inspire much confidence, and a lot of times, it can even seem as though the individual isn’t giving us a straight answer. Why then, do so many of us use scripted responses in our own business?

Now, if you’re in a sort of business in which you believe evasiveness is necessary, stop reading now. I can’t help you. Some of you will say that to some questions, there are set answers, and while this might be true, all too often we’re giving generic-sounding answers because, while we’re interested in closing a deal, we haven’t allowed ourselves to be engaged by the client.

Yes, it’s useful to have a sort of ‘script’ as a guideline for the message you need to convey, but to best serve the needs of your clients, and build genuine credibility and trust, you’re far better off simply having a high level of expertise and actually having a conversation rather than a presentation. A lot of business owners and sales professionals struggle with this, but the truth is that it’s pretty easy to do. Just relax, and let the prospect or client lead the way.

I know, that seems counterintuitive, but remember that they’re exposed to countless salespeople who try to manipulate them through conversational contrivances and mind games. It’s usually a relief when someone is just real with them. The key to this is to allow yourself to be engaged by their business, and to let them talk, not just so that you can sit or stand there thinking of questions to ask that will lead to a sale, but so that you can really try to understand them. Business owners and other decision makers are usually pretty interesting people, so ease up on the sales throttle, and hear them out. They’ll usually appreciate this, and you’ll be in a better position to serve their business needs once you understand them a little. When you become genuinely interested in what they do and who they are, it’s much easier to get a clear picture of what the needs are, and often needs will be revealed that weren’t apparent before.

As a result,  your responses will be genuine, more specific, and ultimately more useful, elevating you above your competition.