It’s tempting to think that some people are just naturally good at making cold calls, but even the best sales reps will tell you that they don’t just wing it. Whether you make 10 calls in a day, or 100, the secret to making great cold calls comes down to doing your research, having a great sales script, and being able to improvise from there.
But what makes a sales script successful in the first place? And how do you come up with a template that isn’t forced and sounds like a natural conversation?
Let’s take a look at some great cold calling scripts that can help you stay focused, cut down on rejections, and be prepared for any curveballs that come your way.
There are several keys to a great cold calling script.
Some people will tell you that the secret to cold calling is all about numbers: that it’s just a matter of making enough calls in a day to break through to enough customers. But not only is that a waste of time and money for your business, it’s also grueling for your sales reps and a surefire way to burn them out.
Besides, you may only get one shot: a bad sales call will make your prospect less open to hearing from you or your company in the future.
Before dialing, take a moment to master these keys to a great cold calling script so that your customer interactions are more natural, less stressful, and lead to more sales.
Set the tone with a clear introduction
It should go without saying, but your first order of business on any sales call is to make sure that you introduce yourself clearly.
You’d be surprised how many sales reps skip this step, either by jumping right into their sales pitch, or hurrying through their introduction as soon as their prospect answers the phone and before they’ve had a chance to properly give the call their attention.
Another mistake is to start off with, “Hi, is this [prospect’s name]?” and wait for them to answer before introducing yourself. This is the quickest way to a hangup, since many prospects will be reluctant to reveal their name until they know who you are first.
Next, get permission to continue. While it may seem counterintuitive to ask them if you can continue, this is key to being an empathetic and responsive sales rep.
We’ve all received calls that went something like this:
[Caller]: Hi, is this [prospect’s name]?
[Prospect]: Yes, but we’re in the middle of dinner -
[Caller]: I’m calling from [company name] to offer you a -
[Prospect]: hangs up
If instead you asked, “Is this a good time?” it may seem like you’re giving them an out to end the conversation -- and you are -- but that sense of control over the conversation can make them more likely to give it a shot and see what you have to say.
A prospect who willingly takes five minutes away from what they’re doing will be more receptive than one who only half pays attention while waiting for the call to be over.
Now, once they’ve agreed to continue, take a moment to warm them up with a friendly remark or a positioning statement to differentiate yourself from other callers.
For example, you can refer to yourself as representing the largest provider of goods and services to [x industry] in the region.
If they’re a B2B prospect whom you’ve researched on LinkedIn, you can reference their company or alma mater, or an interest that you both share.
Cold Calling Script Example
So to recap, your introduction can be as simple as:
[Caller]: Hi, I’m [your name] from [company name].
Am I speaking to [prospect’s name]?
[Prospect]: Yes, that’s me.
[Caller]: I’m the [job title] at [your company], and I work with small businesses like yours to increase your social media rankings with [x product]. Have I caught you at a good time?
[Prospect]: Well, I’m on my lunch break, but go ahead.
[Caller]: Ok, then, I’ll keep it short….
Qualify your prospect with one or two options
Now that you have their attention and permission to continue, it’s time to launch into the heart of your sales script. Here’s where it’s important to keep it simple.
Offer too many options, and your prospect will be overwhelmed with choices. Offer too few, and you risk trying to sell them on a service that isn’t relevant to their needs.
Take the opportunity to qualify your prospect and make sure that the person on the line is actually in your target market for your product or service.
When you give them the option to choose what they want to hear about, and even to say that they aren’t interested, you show that you aren’t desperate for a sale.
Not only that, but by providing more than one option, you’ll be subtly encouraging your prospect to compare the two and envision what’s best for their business.
As you learn more about your prospect, you can always change course and suggest a different option later, as you learn more about their budget and needs.
Cold Calling Script Example
In this example, the caller gives the prospect a choice between two options:
[Caller]: I don’t want to waste your time, so let me briefly tell you about two of our products and see if they might be of interest to you.
First, we offer an Enterprise account for small to mid-sized businesses that has been shown to [insert statistics on sales figures or other metrics].
We also have a pay-as-you-go plan that doesn’t require a contract and is best for businesses that want a little more flexibility.
Would either of these options appeal to you?
[Prospect]: Well, we’ve only just launched [x product], so I don’t think we’re ready for an Enterprise account. But a pay-as-you-go plan sounds interesting.
[Caller]: Great, let me just ask you a little bit more about your business to find out which of our PAYG plans is right for you….
Ask Leading Questions And Be Responsive
Now that you’ve established their interest, and hopefully some rapport, you don’t have to worry so much about your prospect hanging up on you.
Take some time to ask them questions and have a back-and-forth discussion. After all, you don’t really know what they want until you know more about their situation.
Here’s your chance to be responsive and adapt your pitch to each individual prospect, based on what you discover during the course of your phone call.
Ideally, you want to guide prospects to reach their own conclusions by asking the right questions and actively listening to their responses.
For example, cold calls in the solar panel industry often include lots of “did you know” questions, such as, “Did you know about [x government incentive] that can [lower your bill/cover the cost] of your solar installation?”
Your prospect may have questions too, which you can prepare for by anticipating some common objections and showing them that you take their concerns seriously.
Cold Calling Script Example
Here’s an example of a script for solar panels that can be adapted to your industry:
[Caller]: Our research shows that consumers in your neighborhood are paying an average of around [$] per month on electricity. Does that sound about right?
[Prospect]: Yeah, something like that.
[Caller]: Well, with our installation, you’d be looking at an average savings of [$] per month. Are you planning to sell your house in the near future?
[Prospect]: Um, not any time soon. But maybe when we retire? I guess I’d be worried about our property value going down if we had solar panels.
[Caller]: Actually, I get asked that all the time, and you’ll be happy to know that, according to Zillow, solar panels increase a home’s value by 4.1 percent….
Speak to the decision maker
Depending on what product or service you’re pitching, you may not get in touch with the decision maker on your first try. But just because your prospect isn’t empowered to write you a check doesn’t mean that your cold call has been a waste of time.
In many cases, you won’t get to speak to the decision maker until you’ve made contact with their assistant or a lower-level executive at their company.
Getting them on your side first can be key to closing the deal with the CEO or whoever makes the call on major accounts or purchases.
If your prospect shows interest, ask them whether or not they can move forward on the deal on their own. If not, schedule a time to speak with the decision-maker directly.
If you speak to an assistant and they’re reluctant to connect you with their boss, don’t just treat them as a means to an end. Assume that they’re informed about the industry, and are empowered to make decisions on who gets through to their boss.
If you can, reference a mutual contact or industry connection to assure them that their boss will appreciate your call and won’t be angry at them for putting you through.
Cold Calling Script Example
Here’s an example of how to get in touch with the decision maker, while still keeping your point of contact involved in the process:
[Caller]: I’m glad it sounds like this might be a good fit for your business. Let’s say we move ahead with the deal we’ve talked about. Are you in a position to make that call? Or is there anyone else you need to check in with first?
[Prospect]: Well, if it were up to me, I’d be all for it. But our CEO calls the shots, so I’ll have to run it by him first.
[Caller]: Would you mind if I spoke with him directly? Even better, let’s set up a time for a product demo for you both.
Or, if you reach an assistant:
[Assistant]: May I ask what you’d like to speak to [CEO’s name] about?
[Caller]: Our mutual contact [X] recommended I call. [CEO’s name] will remember me from [X Conference]. I’m sure she told you about the presentation by [your company]? I wanted to follow up on scheduling a demo.
[Assistant]: Oh, yes, she’ll be happy to hear from you. Let me put you through.
Work Toward Your Close
No matter what stage of the sale you’re in, have a goal in mind in every sales call. This could be anything from scheduling a discovery call or a product demo, to arranging an in-person meeting with your prospect.
Try to get something on the calendar as soon as possible. The more time that passes between your first call and your follow-up, the more likely your prospect is to forget all about it or lose interest in what you have to say.
If your prospect wants to end the call early (“This isn’t a good time, try me later”), ask for a specific time to follow-up, rather than making a generic promise to call back later.
Finally, not every call will lead to a sale, and that’s OK. There are plenty of other ways to make the most of your call, so have at least one other goal in mind then selling.
At the very worst, you’ll find out that your product isn’t a good fit for them right now, but you’ll have networked with someone inside the company and gained insights into what products might be appropriate to pitch them later.
If you have a good rapport with your contact, you may even be able to ask them for a referral to another business that could use your services.
Cold Calling Script Example
Here’s an example of how to nail down a time for a follow-up call or demo:
[Prospect]: I’m about to head into a meeting, can I call you back later?
[Caller]: Do you mind if we schedule in a time for a longer chat? I know you’re busy and I want to make sure we don't miss each other.
[Prospect]: Yeah, sure. Let’s aim for February.
[Caller]: I’d love to get it on the books sooner. Let’s see…. I have some time tomorrow afternoon. Would that work?
[Prospect]: All right, I’ll put you through to my assistant to confirm it.
Or, for calls that lead to clear but amiable rejection:
[Prospect]: Sorry, that sounds great, but we just aren’t looking for that right now.
[Caller]: Do you know anyone in your industry who would be?
[Prospect]: My colleague over at [x company] was just talking about this the other day. Feel free to drop my name if you give them a call.
But cold calling scripts are nothing without strong sales software.
These techniques will help even your newest sales reps appear more confident and be better prepared for cold calls. But call scripts alone will only take you partway there.
For the most effective sales team possible, you need strong sales software.
With an all-in-one CRM like OnCourse, you’ll have everything you need to support your sales team, from complete customer profiles to an in-app dialer. Use predictive dialing to increase your talk time and cut down on gaps between calls, or preview dialing to view your prospect’s records and customize your sale script before you call.
You can also schedule follow-up calls and get reminders directly through the platform. And of course, you’ll be able to keep records of every call, including call logs and call recordings, to make sure your prospects’ profiles are always up-to-date.
To learn more about how OnCourse works, reach out now to schedule a demo and one of our team members will get back to you to see if it’s a fit for your business!