Cold calling is challenging enough, but finding a cold calling script that’s not only effective but also specific to your business can be downright impossible.
Rather than combing through endless Google searches or dozing off skimming a cold calling guidebook, you should simply create your own.
Think about it. Who better to create a cold calling sales script specific to your business and industry than you? Sure, it will take some time and effort. But the ROI on a rock-solid sales script that actually works is worth every second. The right sales script can not only boost your personal sales numbers, but can transform your entire business.
Here are some best practices to follow when creating your own cold calling scripts:
Getting permission is the name of the game, according to Seth Godin. “Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them,” he says.
He’s absolutely right, too. Nobody owes us their time, their attention, or their business. This applies to marketing, sales, and every facet of your business. The best way to get permission and earn prospects’ attention is to treat them with respect. As Seth says, “Permission is like dating. You don’t start by asking for the sale at first impression. You earn the right, over time, bit by bit.”
Don’t reinvent the wheel
Instead,research sales call scripts, and steal like an artist. Find what might be useful and relevant to your business, make it your own, and ditch the rest. Rinse, repeat, and through trial and error, you’ll build a truly unique sales script over time.
Include time for relationship-building extras
Make time to find common ground to bond over, because people prefer to say yes and buy from those they like. Ask about prospects’ kids, their alma mater, favorite sports teams, where they’re from, etc. A little small talk or a personalized gesture can go a long way towards gaining a customer.
Permit yourself to deviate from your script
It keeps you from sounding like a robot. Try using bullet points throughout your script so it doesn’t sound like you’re reading from a script. Really listen to the customer and have a genuine conversation instead of plowing through each point.
You probably don’t pick a new restaurant without doing some research first, right? So why would you do one of your most important business-building tasks without doing some prep work first? The answer is, you shouldn’t.
Make time for discovery
Doing a little research (AKA discovery) before your call can help personalize the conversation, build rapport, and convey that you know something about your prospect’s business. Beyond just looking at the company website, you should check out Glassdoor, LinkedIn, social media sites, and press releases, too.
Know your desired outcome
You’re obviously not expecting to get the sale on the first call, but what exactly are you hoping to accomplish?
Are you trying to schedule a demo or face-to-face meeting, or sign the prospect up for a webinar or seminar? Or is your call all about discovery and qualifying the lead?
No matter the reason, it’s always helpful to know exactly what you want so you can steer the call in that direction.
Setting Your Structure
The next step in creating your own cold calling script is to lay out a roadmap and make sure you’re covering all the bases: who you’re going to talk to, how you’re going to approach them, how you’re going to pique their curiosity, and how you’ll overcome objections.
Prepare for the gatekeeper
Odds are, you won’t reach your target directly. If you reach a gatekeeper, remember to be polite. Getting on a first-name basis and building a little rapport with them can make them your ally or even advocate. If that isn’t working, try calling during off-hours like lunch or early in the morning to get through to someone else.
You should call the prospect by name
If you find out nothing else from your research, make sure you find their name and use it at the beginning and end of the call. It will make them feel more important and less like a checkbox on your call list for the day.
Identify yourself and tell them why you’re calling
This one should be a given on all your calls. If you don’t identify yourself right away, then they’ll likely hang up on you. And since it’s a cold call, they won’t know why you’re calling, so have a short pitch ready, specific to their business and your overall goal for the call.
- Touch on their pain points
“Now that we’re in Q1 and your busy season is behind you, I wanted to reach out and talk to you about our software. Switching could save your company thousands of dollars each year by automating your processes into our all-in-one solution, giving your clients a way to pay online, and cutting your staff’s workload in half by going paperless and streamlining your marketing process.”
- Sell your value early
“The reason I’m calling is that we just saved Acme Supply Co an additional $450,000 a year in warehousing and shipping costs. I thought that was significant enough to warrant a phone call between us to see if we can replicate that same success for your company.”
Sell through curiosity
Don’t give them the opportunity to say yes or no. Instead, ask open-ended questions to get them talking and keep them talking. People love to talk about themselves, and the more you learn about them and their business, the more likely you are to get the sale.
A study by Gong found that asking 15-18 questions over the course of your discovery call is only marginally more effective than asking 7-10. Try having a list of around 11-14 questions prepared for your call.
Be sure to highlight questions relating to their pain points and goals, such as:
- What are your goals for this quarter?
- What problem are you attempting to solve?
- What would a successful outcome look like?
Plan for pushback and objections
You want to set the call up for success by planning for as many scenarios as possible. The key is to acknowledge their objection, then redirect with a qualifying question or a value statement. A question will help dig up challenges and find an issue or pain point you can match with your product or service. A value statement doesn’t list your product’s features. Instead, it demonstrates how one of your product’s benefits solves a challenge or pain point the prospect faces.
Some common objections you’ll hear are: “Are you a telemarketer?” or “Is this a sales call?” In response, you can either:
Redirect with a question: “I’m not looking to sell anything today. I’m calling because I’m curious as to what [service or product] you use currently to [complete a task relevant to their job]?
Redirect with a value statement: “I’m not selling anything today. All I want to do is send you some information on how [value statement related to solving a pain point they have].”
As you get more calls under your belt, you’ll get better and better at fielding these common objections. As you hear new objections, you should write them down so you’re better prepared for your next call.
Wrapping Up The Call
Once you’ve made it through the call, now’s the time to set the stage for future steps and actions.
Ask for the sale or a future meeting
Going for the sale is an art form that has countless variations, such as “Is there any reason, if we gave you the product at this price, that you wouldn’t do business with our company?” Find a style that works best for you, and be prepared to discuss pricing and next steps. Nearly 6 out of 10 buyers want to discuss pricing on the first call.
Asking for a future meeting is common in the initial stages of the buyer’s journey, especially if you feel they aren’t quite ready to pull the trigger. Have your calendar in front of you so you’re ready to respond if they suggest a time for a follow-up call or meeting.
Prepare for rejection
As a last-ditch effort, show them your integrity and say something like “You’re right, maybe my product isn’t a good fit for you.” Sometimes if the call isn’t going well, this sort of statement can be disarming and be what finally gets them to lower their guard and truly consider your offering.
Finally, what separates the truly successful salespeople from the rest is that they don’t leave the call with nothing. Even if the product isn’t a good fit or the prospect is too busy, they find something to take away from the call.
Here are a few examples of common takeaways:
- Ask if you can follow up another time in the future. If so, when?
- Ask why they aren’t interested so you can be better prepared for the next call or so you can better sell to them in the future.
- Ask if there’s anyone else at their company or in their industry that might be interested in what you’re offering.
Creating a cold calling script isn’t rocket science, but it does take some finesse and determination. Your work is never really done, either, so keep testing different variations and adding common objections until you have a battle-tested script that works more often than not.
Finally, don’t forget to follow up repeatedly. Persistence is vital with cold calling – remember, 80% of sales require five follow-ups after the initial contact.
What other elements would you add to your cold calling sales script? Tell us in the comments below: