The basic cold call script structure
The main objective of the script is to help sales agent guide prospects through the sales funnel. But how do you structure your script for it to be maximally effective?
Here is an outline of a typical sales script:
This is the very beginning of the call. The goal of the introduction is to capture the attention of a prospect and get them to stay on the line with a sales rep.
2. Lead qualification
Once a prospect agreed to talk, it’s time to find out whether they suffer from the problems you’re trying to solve, and how likely are they to make a purchase. This part of the script should include relevant questions. There are lots of lead qualification techniques and cold calling sales tactics that can help you come up with the best approaches for different types of sales.
3. Delivering the pitch
By now, the sales should have a clear understanding of the needs and pain points of a prospect, and deliver a pitch based on that information. Remember that pitch is not always about selling a product or service, especially if this is the first call. A far more viable goal would be to schedule a follow-up call, a demo, or a meeting.
4. Managing objections
In most cases, prospects will be hesitant. They won’t buy into the pitch right away. The script should help sales persuade prospects and manage the most common objections.
5. Call to action
Every sales call should end with a clear call to action ‒ “let’s connect again in a week”, “let’s schedule a demo”, “when will you be available for an in-person meeting?”, etc. If a sales rep fails to end the call properly, they will probably go back to square one next time.
The most important element of any script
It’s not a killer pitch and it definitely is not your ability to refute objections. The most important part of any cold calling script is the opener. If you don’t spark the interest in your prospects in the first place, the conversation won’t happen. You have about 30 seconds to show them that this call is worth their time. How do you create the best opener?
Start the call by introducing who you are and asking the prospect if they have a minute to talk/ is it a good time for a conversation because you are calling to talk about something they would be interested in/ something that would bring them value. The goal is to trigger a person’s curiosity and show that you respect their time. If they say no, that’s fine. Hang up and move on. A cold call can only be effective if the prospect agrees to a conversation; otherwise, you’ll come across as a pushy salesman and both of you will end up being frustrated after this call.
Always keep in mind who you’re talking to. Your hook ‒ the first few words of the sales call ‒ must make your prospect listen. Prepare a question or two that are 100% relevant to this very prospect. Mentions something that is important to them at the moment. This will not only make them pay attention but show them that you really can add value.
You have three times more chances to sell your product or service if you pitch it at the right moment, i.e. when there’s actually the need for it. To secure a successful sale, be relevant to the prospect. Connect the opener to some trigger event which is important to their business at the moment (for example, an announcement of the product line or introduction of the new service). This lets the prospect know you’re not just calling them randomly; you might be able to actually help.
Most sales scripts are based on this structure. It rarely changes because that’s the way the sales work. So if you want to make your script more effective, you should change what you say and essentially, how you say it.
How to use the script?
Many people don’t like the idea of using a script during cold calls because it makes them sound unnatural and robotic. But it’s not a question of whether or not one should use the script. It’s whether one should read from it. Give a similar script to the team of sales agents; some will close several prospects per shift, others will close none.
"If the script doesn’t work for you, you’re probably using it wrong."
So how do you make it work? A prospect can easily tell when you read from the script. That’s why you are not supposed to repeat it verbatim. Instead, keep it in front of you during the conversation as a guide or a cheatsheet with most effective lines that click with prospects.
The script is only a guidance. If you are a sales newbie, practice the script for a few times, make it sound natural to you. Don’t use complicated phrases or terminology which is strange to you and your prospect. Develop the skill to explain professional terminology of your business sphere in simple words and still sound professional.
"Follow your script like an actor"
Every call is a whole new story. People are different, and you absolutely must adjust what you say to connect with every other person. Think of it as a performance and follow it like an actor, not like a Microsoft screen reader from 2002. Don’t just read the lines. Talk to the prospect as if you were talking to a coworker – with natural intonation and human emotions.
A script should empower you because it’s a great way to develop your communication skills, lead the conversation in the right direction, and overcome the objections. After enough practice, you’ll know what to say and how to react without any clues. You might even make some improvements to existing scripts with your special phrases and techniques once you gain more experience. As for now, here’s what you can do to get better in making cold calls.
Prepare for a call
If you don’t know what to say to your prospect without a script, this means you’re focusing on what you have to offer. Scripted or not, that’s a bad way of selling things. Research your prospect first, discover their pain points, and write down a few critical issues your product or service might solve for them.
Learn your introduction and value proposition by heart
No matter who you talk to, this is something you should be able to explain easily ‒ who you are, why are you calling, why someone should care. This is a solid base that will help you adapt your introduction to any conversation without having to read from the script.
Have the list of open-ended questions at hand
Write out a dozen open-ended questions and have them in front of you during the call. It will help you get the conversation going. And as you’ll be asking those questions, don’t just freak out and wait for your turn to talk. Listen, take notes if you have to; this information will be useful later during the pitch.
Prepare to answer to objections
Regardless of what you’ll say earlier during the call, it’s most likely that prospects will object. You should prepare for it. Come up with convincing answers to the most common objections (they are usually the same). You’ll get better and better at refuting objections with experience.
Practice, practice, practice
It’s going to be a lot of work, but you can totally develop this skill. Listen to the recordings of your conversations with prospects. It’s a great way to identify your weak points. Also, find someone who could help you learn, for example, don’t miss training sessions with your head of sales. Listen carefully to all comments of your head of sales, ask what can be done better. It is also great to train with more skilled colleagues. Ask them to pretend to be the buyer and practice handling objections with them.
Cold sales calls shouldn’t be cold
The most effective cold calls are not exactly cold. You’ll get much better results if you connect with a prospect before picking up the phone. When your brand will be familiar to them, they will be more likely to engage in a conversation with you.
There are lots of different channels that you could use to reach out to the prospects ‒ email, LinkedIn, Twitter, and a bunch of other variants. A well-crafted email marketing campaign can not only familiarize prospect with your company but even convince them to call you.
These days, people are exposed to a ton of different information every day so the trick is to get through this flow and grab their attention. Ideally, you should also let your prospects know somehow in your message that you will be calling soon.
For example, you could craft a message specifically asking prospects to spare you 10-15 minutes to talk about a great suggestion that you have for their business (like help them acquire more customers or triple the ROI). If possible, mention the name of an industry leader or a close competitor who has already taken advantage of this idea.
Finally, always remember that your goal is not to close the sale from the first call but to build a long-term relationship with your prospect. Personalize your message, show people that you care, and act like a potential partner, not a salesman.
So many sales loathe cold calling and avoid using scripts, but in reality, it’s not that bad. Modern-day cold calling is different. It’s more flexible, more customer-oriented, not pushy at all and not necessarily cold. All you need is practice and a smarter approach.