Cold calling scripts: Can they work? That’s the question I’m posing to you today, and for good reason: Even though I’m the “Never Cold Call Again” guy, a disproportionate number of visitors come to my site by searching for “cold calling scripts” online.
There’s no doubt anymore that cold calling has ceased to be the most effective lead-generation method; in fact, it’s hands-down the worst way to prospect for sales, short of throwing your business cards into a stadium full of people. There are even university studies that conclude beyond any reasonable doubt that cold calling isn’t the way to go.
So then, why the question on cold calling scripts?
It’s because I’m asked about it all the time. Sales managers tell their reps to use sales scripts to make calls, and rookie salespeople are afraid to contact prospective customers without one – they simply don’t know what to say.
Having trashed cold calling in the previous paragraphs, there is one new tool in selling where using a script may make sense: Social media.
As Jeffrey Gitomer and other respected sales authorities have correctly stated, “Social media is the new cold call.” And why is it the new cold call? Very simply, if you don’t have an established referral base or book of business, or haven’t yet established yourself online or on your local speaking circuit (think chambers and Rotary clubs), social media gives you an easy way to find prospects, target them, learn a scary amount of information about them, and, finally, connect with them directly, without the annoying cold call.
Having said all that, cold calling scripts should not be used forever. They are merely a crutch – a guide – for new salespeople to use until they become knowledgeable and comfortable enough to make calls without one.
Here are some guidelines on combining social media and cold calling scripts to get maximum results:
1. Know your target prospects. This should be a no-brainer, but far too many salespeople literally call strangers at random, with no target list. You absolutely must first build a list of prospects you want to target, before beginning your sales activities.
2. Research those prospects. Find out who the decision makers are, research them on Facebook and LinkedIn, and learn as much as you can about them. Find out where they went to school, where else they’ve worked, what their hobbies are, if they have kids or pets, and so on. Find ways to make a personal connection.
3. Create a script – but only as an outline. A cold calling script should never be a full-on script that is read verbatim. Rather, it should simply be an outline, much like the outlines you created in school, before writing term papers around them. It’s merely a map you’ll use to be sure that you make all of the points you need to make on the call.
4. Don’t insist on completing the full script. Just because you have a full outline and structure for your calls doesn’t mean you need to go through all of it on every call. For example, if your prospect already knows who you are, or who your company is, skip the introduction and move on to the next section of your outline.
5. Call your target prospects – using the intelligence you’ve gleaned from social media. Try as hard as you can to find common ground – mutual interests – with each person you’re calling. This will establish a personal connection, and make the prospect far more receptive to talking with you. And, it removes a lot of the formality and sales resistance that typically goes with an initial sales call.
6. Even better: Send an InMail. Getting prospects on the phone is becoming increasingly difficult, and impossible in many cases. Since you’ve used social media to research your target prospects, why not connect directly there? Send an InMail or a direct message on Facebook – and use your cold calling script as a general guideline to write the introduction.
If you’re brand-new to sales and have nowhere else to start, or you’re stuck working for a company that insists on cold calling, these guidelines on combining cold calling scripts with social media will put you miles ahead of the competition.
Frank Rumbauskas is the author of the New York Times best-seller Never Cold Call Again and has won numerous accolades, such as Readers Choice for Business Book of the Year from 800-CEO-READ, and has been named one of Fast Company’s top 30 most influential people online. To learn more, and to download a free 37-page preview of his Never Cold Call Again lead-generation system, visit http://www.nevercoldcall.com