A sales call script can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
Used well, it’s your guiding light to navigate a conversation and ultimately selling a product. Abuse it and you become a telemarketing robot.
Look at it this way — a cold call script is a shoulder to lean on, not a crutch to carry you. You need to personalise it to you, the role, and the prospect. Tweak it according to what works for you.
What is the science behind sales call script success?
First: Write an outline of what you want to say. It’s the best way to make sure you hit the right points during your call. Remember, your goal isn’t to pitch someone on the spot; it’s to get them to commit to a meeting.
Next: Choose the right time.
If you’re not sure where to start, try test a couple of days in the week, for example a Tuesday or Thursday afternoon. Whatever time you choose, make sure to block it off on your calendar.
Ready, set: Time to call.
When it’s go-time, remove any visual distractions so you’re fully present to lead the conversation.
Here’s what you’ll need: your prospect list (ideally with research about the person you are calling before the call), your sales script, and a place to jot down call notes.
The bad sales script: How to get yourself hung up on
There are plenty of do-not’s when it comes to making a cold call.
- Don’t be sketchy about who you are or why you’re calling. Prospects want to know the purpose for the call within the first 10 seconds.
- Don’t talk at your prospect. Use questions to connect early on. If you’ve watched The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio who plays Jordan Belfort, the former stockbroker, cold calls a potential buyer, and says “Hello John, how ya doing today?”. He immediately uses the prospects first name, using language that is very casual. It is the kind of language that you would use when calling a friend to see what they are up to on the weekend. This conveys a sense of familiarity and friendship with the prospect, improving the salesperson’s chances of keeping them on the line.
- Don’t give up if you don’t reach them the first time.
- Don’t just use the phone. Follow up calls with emails as this can increase your chances.
- Don’t paraphrase what your prospect does. They already their job. Instead, impress them with how well you know their pains.
- Don’t waste time. Quickly explain what the offer is or why you are calling. This is particularly important when cold calling. Again, in The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo does this extremely well by saying “The reason for the call today, John, is, something just came across my desk, John. It is perhaps the best thing I’ve seen in the last six months. If you have 60 seconds, I’d like to share the idea with you. You got a minute?” He also uses the prospect’s name multiple times. This technique is useful for grabbing the prospect’s attention and ensuring they are listening to each word.
Completely cold: How to master your first attempt
If you’re calling someone who’s never talked to you before, they will likely be on the defense from the outset. When they pick up the phone, they’ll be wondering these questions that you need to address:
- Who are you?
- Why are you calling me?
- How do I actually benefit?
- What are you asking for?
Your sales call script needs to answer these questions truthfully while keeping the biggest cold call haters on the line.
Here’s a secret:
You both share a similarity. You and this person have something in common—a background, a hobby, or a piece of knowledge. Maybe you went to rival colleges, or are big fans of tattoos, or have worked with the same person in the past.
Finding your commonality (and bringing it up in a natural way) makes you more attractive to your prospect.
How to get there:
First, take a couple minutes to research the person and the company you are going to call. Find a compliment or a specific pain point; your acknowledgement of this intimate fact can serve you well.
By continually using the prospect’s name and speaking in a vernacular that suits the prospect can increase familiarity and trust. It also increases the chances of a conversational sales call working.
Then, come up with a connecting statement for your sales call. Something like this:
- “Hey, I happened to notice that you’re connected to [name of connection]. I actually worked with him/her up until last year at [name of company]. Great to work with!”
- “I’ve had my eye on [prospects company] for a while as a great company, and I noticed that your team is hiring for a Sales Operations role. Congratulations on how fast you are growing!
- “Before I dive into why I’m calling, I just wanted to say, congrats on the recent [Award]!”
Next, organize your script:
- Introduction (your name + company)
- Connecting statement / Reason for calling
Prior history: What to say when you’ve called or emailed before
When you’ve already tried and failed, all the more reason to show them personal value. As simple as it sounds, the sweeping majority of sales call scripts lack the “what is in it for you.”
The prospect you’re calling is a person with a real job, with real needs and frustrations. Connect with that reality. Prove you aren’t just cycling through selling activities with your own agenda.
Here’s how to organize this type of call:
- Context (When you last reached out and why you’re calling)
- Possible Value Prop (PVP)
- Value Prop
Before your call, eliminate any fear, failure, or rejection; outline each of the key personas that you will be talking to. Then ask yourself:
- What does their daily world look like?
- How are they measured? How can you impact that? How can you demonstrate value?
As it relates to what you offer, what do buyers want?
- What do they want to avoid?
Don’t just talk at them—engage with the person you’re talking to by asking questions.
Hurdling roadblocks: How to overcome objections with ease by using the Best Friend Formula
Show your prospect that you’re on their side, just like their best friend would be.
This formula comes down to four parts:
- Relate— Show that you understand.
- Bridge the gap— Offer new information that makes it easy to move forward.
- Ask again— Get their commitment
- Be transparent – confirm how long the call will last and how much of an investment is required. The prospect knows what is expected and the “next steps” are made clear at the end of the call.
Using the above formula can help with any of these objections:
- We already work with a competitor
- This isn’t a priority right now
- Email me your information
- Not interested.
When your prospect doesn’t pick up, you have two choices. Hang-up or leave a carefully crafted voicemail. Think of it as an audio email, and keep it to 15-20 seconds. Don’t worry about a reply; just focus on continuing to nurture your prospect’s trust in you.
Want to guarantee that your voicemail is heard beyond the first five seconds? Then insert your connecting statement at the beginning, right after you say who it is calling, and end off with a note that triggers curiosity.
Using scripts is a great way to get started, but adapt it to something more casual and free flowing rather sounding like a robot.
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