To make a great film you need three things – the script, the script and the script. – Alfred Hitchcock
The media is everything these days, isn’t it?
Everyone’s a rock star on YouTube, minting it with podcasts and making loads of money just talking into a microphone or to a camera.
Or are they?
Harvard Business School has a page called Working Knowledge aimed at Business Leaders where you will find a short article about John H. Patterson and the National Cash Register company.
Cash registers changed modern retail and the N.C.R led that change and its salespeople were guided by a little booklet called the N.C.R primer.
This document grew as the 1800s waned, reaching 200 pages and then shrinking to a quarter of that again and it created the foundation for a selling approach based on scripts.
The point of the script was to make it easier for salespeople to carry a conversation from an approach to a close.
A hundred or so years later the script is the hidden structure behind much of what we see.
Every radio program, every TV show, every professionally produced piece of entertainment has a script behind it.
And if you’re trying to work out how to talk to someone about what you have to offer a script is something that will probably help you too.
Jay Abraman, a well known direct response marketer, has some interesting views about the kind of attitude you need to have.
First, you need to value what you have to offer.
That’s sort of the starting point – you have something of value and you need to know that, and believe in that before you try and approach anyone.
Then, when you do approach someone, you need to assume that they will respond to you. Eventually, you will talk to everyone you need to talk to.
When that happens what will you do?
Will you simply “wing it”?
When that conversation starts and the prospect approaches you are you just going to say the first thing that comes to mind?
Well, at first probably yes.
But then you’ll learn.
And what I’ve learned is that having some points that you plan to talk around helps.
If you’re going to have talking points, you could do worse, than writing out a script.
We remember speeches from great leaders but we rarely remember that those leaders rarely wrote their own speeches. The words that came out were drafted by others and they helped change futures.
If you’ve watched The Wolf of Wall Street you’ll remember Jordan Belfort and his scripts.
In his book, he’s quite blunt about it:
“…young men and women who possess the collective social graces of a herd of sex-crazed water buffalo and have an intelligence quotient in the range of Forrest Gump on three hits of acid, can be taught to sound like Wall Street wizards, as long as you write every last word down for them and then keep drilling it into their heads again and again—every day, twice a day—for a year straight.”
And if they can do it, we all can.
Movie makers and actors get it.
A good script is essential if you want to make a good movie.
Perhaps that insight is the same for sales.
Or for life.