Cold Calling Scripts

Cold calling scripts are essentially guidelines that salespeople use in the process of cold calling for new sales.

Sales prospecting, when done cold, involves the process of calling strangers on the phone and attempting to engage them in a conversation, and generate enough interest in your product or service to convince them to either set an appointment to meet with you in the future, or to close a sale right there on the phone.

Cold calling scripts are common in many types of sales; in particular, life insurance, real estate, telecom sales, uniforms, and many other industries rely on calling people with the aid of a script in order to begin the sales process and move it forward.

The various steps in an effective cold calling script are typically as follows:

1. Make the contact. The first step is getting your prospective buyer on the phone in the first place. This is usually the most difficult part of cold calling. Many sales prospects today are no longer accepting cold calls so you have to get very creative to reach them.

The best way of doing this is to communicate to the receptionist or other gatekeeper that you have something of true value to the prospect. Once you get the gatekeeper on board, it’s important to ask questions about the decision maker and look for common interests, or learn about problems that the office is facing that you may be able to solve.

Warning: Unless you know for a fact that your prospect specifically wants to talk to you, resist the temptation to get a cell phone number from the receptionist. Some may offer it to you, but cold calling a prospect on his or her cell phone is a good way to infuriate the prospect and lose your sale.

2. ¬†Engage the prospective buyer. Once you get your prospect on the phone, you must then engage the prospect. Resist the temptation to use typical cold calling script language that comes across as too salesy. Ending sentences with phrases like, “Is that fair?” and “Wouldn’t you agree?” is a sure-fire way to trigger fierce sales resistance and get the probable purchaser to hang up the phone.

You must keep your call script conversational. Be personal. Scripts can make people sound like robots, but you want to come across as a real person, with a personal touch. That’s why it’s so important to question the receptionist or other gatekeeper to gain some insight about your prospect, his interests, her immediate business needs, and so on.

Before making the call, look up the prospect’s Facebook or LinkedIn page and look for commonalities. Maybe you’re both dog owners, or new parents, or recently married, or went to the same school, or like the same band or sports team. This is a great way to begin the call with a personal touch and come in “under the radar” in a way that the prospect sees you as a friend and not just another annoying salesperson.

3. Qualify the prospect. This is one of the biggest failures of many salespeople, and it’s where most cold calling scripts fall short. Most scripts only seek to get an appointment without qualifying out the prospect first. What’s the use of going out to meet with someone if your product is out of their budget or they already have someone providing the same service that you do? Be absolutely sure that meeting with this person is worth your time. An unusually friendly decision maker will invite you to come out without first verifying that there’s any benefit to doing business together.

4. Always be closing. This may sound cliche, but when you’re using a cold calling script it can become a weakness for you to read the script verbatim without always trying to move forward. In most cases, if the prospect is interested, you can set the appointment and get off the phone without bothering to go through the rest of the script. And that brings me to point #5:

5. Never oversell. I’ve seen many, many salespeople, who were very talented, always failing to make their sales quotas all because they oversold. As soon as you get buying signals, close the sale and let them buy!

A good example of this was someone I worked with who followed a strict process of setting appointments, even when the prospect was saying on the phone that they were ready to buy. When this happened to me, I’d immediately abandon the call script and fax over the order paperwork.

If someone is telling you they want to buy – either directly, or through subtle buying signals, drop the cold calling script and get the sale!

6. Be a human being. I can’t stress this enough. Cold calling scripts may be a great tool, but they are nothing more than that – a tool. They are a framework, an outline, to give you guidance during a call, but they should never dominate and you should never read directly from them.

As a result, when creating your scripts, write them as an outline with bullet points in each section. If you’re using a cold calling script from a book, or from your employer, rewrite it as an outline so you don’t fall trap to reading it directly and coming across as not genuine and inhuman to your prospect.

If you follow these simple steps, you’ll be able to get the best benefits of cold calling scripts, without falling into the common traps that scripts get people into over and over again.