Cold call scripts: 7 steps to create a script that sells

Cold call scripts: 7 steps to create a script that sells

How many of these calls have you received lately?

Hi, this is frhshm from mnexmfhrsh we offer a highly effective snmedrm for businesses like yours and today we’re running a special and I’d like to offer you our trial program for just $2,500 a month which is half the normal price of $5,000 and we’d like to start by the end of the week can I get you on a call…

Who is this? What are they offering? Huh??

At this point, if you haven’t hung up yet, you’re just waiting for the rep to run out of air so you can tell them you’re not interested (even though you never quite heard what they were selling in the first place).

Sound familiar?

We all know that cold calling is difficult, and our nerves can easily get the better of us when we’re the ones calling.

But as much as some "sales experts" and growth hackers like to proclaim that cold calling is dead, I’ve got news for you: it’s not.

In fact, according to studies by RAIN Group, 69% of buyers accept cold calls from new providers, and 82% of buyers said they accept meetings with sellers who reach out to them.

Cold calling is very much alive, and if you want to succeed at it, you should be using a sales script.

Wondering how to get started? Let’s discuss seven steps to build a cold call script that sells, plus some best practices on how to use it.

7 steps to create a cold call script that actually sells

1. Don’t sell the product, sell the meeting

When building your script, it’s essential to keep this in mind: you’re not actually calling to sell your product.

Unless you’ve got a fairy godmother working her magic for you, there’s no way this cold call is going to end in a sale. So stop trying to sell your product.

Instead, sell the next step: the meeting, demo, discovery call, etc.

By focusing on the meeting, you’re more likely to get a “Yes” from your prospect. That’s because:

Using this method sets the tone for your sales script, allowing you to put the focus where it belongs.

2. Use your introduction to describe a situation they relate to

The beginning of your sales script should be a clear introduction of yourself and your company. Now, in one sentence, it’s time to explain what you do.

Hi, my name is John Smith with Imaginary Company. What we do in a sentence is…

Here’s your chance to stand out from the crowd (don’t blow it).

This one-sentence description isn’t a sales pitch of your product or company: it’s a 100% benefits-focused sentence that describes what you help your customers do or achieve.

To maximize this sentence, use research into your customer base or industry. Take a situation they can relate to and spin it to focus on the benefits of working with your company.

For example:

What we do in one sentence is help small hospitality businesses to grow their online presence and 10x their social selling powers.

3. Give them a chance to say no read that correctly.

By giving your prospect a chance to say no right from the beginning, you give them the illusion of control over the conversation.

Just make sure you avoid the dreaded, “Is this a good time to talk?”.

Instead, after describing in one sentence what you do for your customers, use this simple question:

Does this sound interesting to you in general?

By giving prospects the chance to say no, they won’t be scrabbling for a way to escape the conversation, and may actually pay attention to the next part of the call.

4. Ask your key qualifying question, and repeat the answer back to them

Whether they answer yes, no, or maybe to the question above, your response will be the same: ask them your key qualifying question.

For example:

Tell me more about your current sales process.

As the prospect responds to your qualifying question, practice active listening. Take some quick notes, if possible. Focus on what they’re telling you, and then continue with this powerful statement:

Ok, so what I’m hearing is…

Using this transition, repeat back what the prospect said. This does two important things:

Remember, this only works if you actually listen to what the prospect says!

5. Get the prospect to agree to a meeting tomorrow

The faster you can get to your next step, the better. Don’t give them time to rethink it or lose interest.

Here’s how to get them to agree to a meeting tomorrow:

First, offer your next step. Make sure to focus on the value to the prospect if they agree to this meeting/demo/call.

Next, ask them when is a good time. They’ll probably give you a time in a few weeks (or maybe even months).

Then, counter with this:

How about tomorrow?

In most cases, the prospect will be open to a meeting the next day. Set up the particulars, and you’re golden!

6. Include proven responses to common objections in your cold call script

Using a tool like Close, you can record and listen to your sales calls over again. Especially for sales managers, this helps you to see how your team responds to sales objections, and which responses really work for your team.

When you’ve analyzed the responses, pick a few that seem to always work. Then, add those to your sales script.

7. Add a voicemail script that leaves them begging for more

Of course, not every call ends in a response. In fact, an average of 80% of calls go to voicemail according to data from RingLead.

In this case, it’s essential to create a voicemail that is short and enticing, making your prospects want to call you back for more information.

For a memorable voicemail script, make an extravagant claim and back it up with real data. For example, you could say something like this:

Hi, this is John Smith with Imaginary Company. I’m calling because last year our customers earned an extra $2.6 billion in revenue by using our product, and I’d like to offer the same kind of results to you. If this sounds interesting to you, call me back at…

Pro tip: Want to save time on voicemails? Use a tool like Close to leave pre-recorded voicemails when no one answers and save your team oodles of time

Using these seven steps, you’ll build a cold call script that’s truly powerful. But, how can use that script effectively?

How to use a cold call script effectively

Check out these best practices for using a cold call script:

Segment your prospects (and your cold call scripts)

If your customers are segmented into different lists or profiles, then your prospects should be as well.

And if you have clearly segmented prospects, you should create segmented cold call scripts that adapt to each profile.

For example, if some of your prospects are small businesses and others are enterprise companies, you need to adapt your sales pitch to fit each business. Pay special attention to how you word your one-sentence description, and focus on specific benefits for that sector of your audience.

Know who you’re talking to before they pick up the phone

Prequalifying may take some time, but it will do two important things for you:

  • Help you make sure you’re using the right sales script
  • Give you valuable insights to build rapport with your prospect.

One of the best places to discover insights into your prospects is LinkedIn. Here, you can find out where your prospects are from, previous companies they’ve worked at, and what exactly they do at the company where they work. You can also see company information such as how many employees they have, recent updates, and more.

When you use LinkedIn to prequalify your prospects, you’ll be able to adapt your sales pitch to their specific interests and needs.

Speak slowly and clearly

Remember that 100 mph pitch we talked about in the introduction? I’m begging you: don’t be that guy.

In order for your prospects to listen to the rest of the call, they need to hear and clearly understand who you are and where you’re calling from. Otherwise, they’ll spend the rest of your pitch wondering, “Who the heck is this?

In this case, the power of an appropriate pause can never be underestimated.

When you say your name, pause. Let them hear it and spend a second wondering if they know you. Then, say the name of your company, and pause again. Let those two points sink in before you continue.

Very few people understand how powerful it can be to simply stay silent—and this is especially true in a negotiation. I discovered this myself when I saved our company $225,000 simply by keeping my mouth shut.

By speaking slowly and pausing effectively, it also shows you’re not nervous (even though you might be a little bit). You’ll also have more control over the conversation and make your prospects feel more relaxed.

Collaborate to constantly improve your cold call scripts

Your cold call scripts should never feel stagnant. As a team, work together to improve those scripts.

Sales leaders can set up regular meetings every quarter to discuss the current cold call scripts and brainstorm on improvements.

This gets the whole team involved in making sales scripts even better and more effective.

Know when to throw your scripts out the window

A good sales rep knows that sometimes the script just isn’t cutting it. (But that doesn't mean you shouldn't have one—you absolutely should, I talked about this here.)

A good sales manager knows that when his team is creative and brings their own ideas to the table, amazing things can happen.

Just because you spend time developing an excellent sales script, doesn’t mean every rep needs to follow that script to the letter on every call.

Ultimately, every rep has a different personality and brings a different energy to each call. The way one rep starts their sales call may work for them, but not for the rest of the team.

So, sales leaders should make sure their team knows that, even though they can always use the cold call script, they’re not meant to sound like robots on the phone. Invite each rep to bring their own personality and style to their sales calls, and you’ll develop a team that works creatively and effectively as individuals.

A cold call script template you can adapt to your calls

By following the seven steps outlined above, you’ll build a cold call script that works for your business and captivates the attention of your prospects.

And remember: by working collaboratively to build segmented sales scripts and knowing when to throw them out the window, your team can truly excel at cold calls.

Want to get a head start on creating an effective cold call script?

Download our proven script template, adapt it to your own market, and start closing more deals!