Salespeople are constantly asking me about cold calls…
The most common frustration I hear is: “My cold call script never works. Prospects just don’t want to hear from me.”
They’re setting up tons of appointments through cold dials.
So, what makes some cold calls more effective than others?
More often than not, it all comes down to the cold call script being used.
There are a few strategies you can use to start making more effective cold calls that end up in sales. One of those strategies is to improve your cold call script.
In this video, I’m going to show you how to build a cold call script that actually works. Check it out:
1. Always follow a cold call script.
This might sound obvious, but it doesn’t matter how good your cold call script is if you don’t use it consistently. Any salesperson who makes a lot of cold dials and doesn’t follow a script is doing the equivalent of banging their head against a cement wall as hard as they can 20 to 50 times a day.
You simply must follow a script for your cold calls. Always.
Many salespeople push back on this idea. They say, “If I use a script, then I’m going to sound scripted.” If you feel like you sound scripted, you just need to practice more. Try the script over and over again until it feels more natural to you and stops sounding scripted. That’s it.
I use a script every time I make a dial, and it doesn’t sound scripted because I’ve practiced it countless times. Just think of an actor in a movie. Without a script, it doesn’t work. You need to have a script every single time you’re making a cold call.
2. Pattern interrupt with contingencies.
Your script for the first 10 seconds of any cold call is extremely important. Those 10 seconds set up the call for success or failure. Now, most salespeople today are starting cold calls by saying, “How are you today?” Don’t do that. Instead, break the pattern.
I call this “pattern interrupt with contingencies,” and it’s key to any successful cold call script. You want to interrupt the pattern by asking a different question or using another phrase to engage the prospect in a way they haven’t heard a lot. And then have your contingencies ready.
For example, instead of opening the cold call by asking, “How are you today?” instead ask, “Did I catch you at a bad time?” or “How have you been?” I don’t care what it is—just break the pattern and be different.
Then, be ready for the prospect’s response. When they try to get off the phone, use the prepared contingencies in your script to keep the call going.
If the prospect replies, “Yes, this is a bad time. Can you try me later?” you want to have one sentence built into your script that will get the call to the next step in the conversation. That’s what contingencies are all about.
3. Get permission up front.
When it comes to building a cold call script that actually works, it’s imperative that you get permission to continue the call from the prospect up front. If you just plow through your script without asking permission, prospects will either stop paying attention or try to get off the phone as quickly as possible.
Craft your cold call script to say something like, “Would it be okay if I just shared with you exactly why I called and, if afterwards it doesn’t make sense, we can hang up? Sound fair?” This is a great way to get permission to continue the call.
4. Super-short intro.
The introductory part of your cold call script should be very short. You simply don’t have a lot of time. Your prospects are busy—typing something on their keyboard, looking at emails, texting, getting yelled at by a spouse during a pandemic. Whatever it is, there are lots of other things on their minds. So keep you introduction super-short, one sentence only.
This is why a script is so important. If you don’t have a script to keep you accountable to that one-sentence intro, you’re going to meander all over the place, and your prospects will lose interest.
5. Dangle the carrot.
Picture a horse that’s walking around, chasing a carrot that’s dangling just out of reach in front of its face. What is the carrot that can get your prospects to engage with you on a cold call?
Your cold call script must include a piece of content or insight that serves as the carrot to dangle in front of your prospects, so you can demonstrate something that gets them to say, “This person is useful to me. I’m willing to stay on the phone just a bit longer and hear them out.”
6. Demonstrate quick insight.
Demonstrating insight makes your cold calls much more effective because it enables you to be seen as someone with expertise and authority, as opposed to just a cheeseball salesperson.
Think about what can tell your prospects that demonstrates some real insight, and build that straight into your cold call script. Is there some data, statistic, or information you can share to quickly engage them?
7. Share their challenges.
This is one of the best ways to demonstrate insight through your cold call script. Say something like, “George, some of the challenges that I’m seeing a lot of our clients face in today’s marketplace are A, B, and C.” By sharing challenges that your prospects find relevant, you show that you’re an expert in their world—and they’ll be much more likely to want to connect with you.
Once you’ve crafted your cold call script to share challenges, you want to build in true engagement for your prospects. So you might say, “George, some of the challenges that I’m seeing a lot of our clients face in today’s marketplace are A, B, and C,” and then follow up with the engaging question, “Does any of that sound familiar to you?” or “Does that make any sense for your world?” The actual question you incorporate into your cold call script isn’t that important. The point is to have a question in there that truly engages the prospect in conversation and can really get them talking.
9. Keep your cold call script short.
Keep your cold call script short. Why? Because cold calls are short.
If the prospect starts talking a lot and they want to keep going, that’s fine—but don’t build out a super-long script because shorter scripts are much more effective at actually scheduling the appointment.
Remember, the only goal of a cold call is to get a meeting of some kind scheduled on the calendar as a result of the call. The more you meander, chat, and blab, the more likely you are to lose the prospect.
10. Make a recommendation.
Once you feel like you’ve got them engaged and talking, it’s time to make a recommendation. Build something like this into your cold call script: “George, can I make recommendation?” The prospect will say, “Sure.” Then you can say, “Okay, great. Why don’t we schedule a call and…,” fill in the blank. Make a recommendation for that next step.
11. Get the clear next step.
Always get a clear next step scheduled at the end of a cold call. The only successful cold call is one that has a clear next step. It doesn’t have to be a sale. (Chances are it’s not going to be a sale, but you always want to have a clear next step before you get off the call.)
The best clear next steps are scheduled appointments in your calendar. Be sure to build language for scheduling a next step right into your cold call script, so you never skip this critical point of the call.
So, there you have it. Now you know exactly how to build a cold call script that actually works. I want to hear from you. Which of these tips will you implement in your own cold call script? Be sure to share below in the comment section to get involved in the conversation.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.