Last Updated on June 7, 2021
When you’re making hundreds of cold calls each week, preparation matters. In fact, preparation is the most important ingredient in the secret sauce to cold call success. So, how do you prepare yourself for a cold call? Use sales calling scripts.
I know. I know.
Sales calling scripts get a bad rap. And guess what, even if you don’t think you have a script, you do have a script – it just might be one you improvise. No one wants to sound like a mindless robot, after all. But, if you do it right, your sales calling script will help you instantly connect with your prospect and lay the groundwork for a profitable relationship.
Your sales calling script is an essential part of your outbound selling toolkit. In this post, we’ll discuss what a sales calling script is, why you need it, and how to create one from scratch that will meet your needs. We’ll also give you tips on how to effectively use your sales calling script during cold calls without sounding like a robot.
Let’s get to it!
What is sales scripting?
A sales calling script is a list of key talking points you’ll refer to during your phone call. Your script can be detailed, giving you the exact language to use when speaking to a prospect. If your team members need a little extra support, especially those who are new on the job, a sales calling script will be a helpful guide.
Or your script can work as a memory booster, containing a list of bullet points that you want to discuss in each cold call, potential objections and corresponding responses, and other helpful lines. This works best for experienced sales people who already know the product or service inside and out and just need a checklist of talking points to ensure that they don’t miss something important, and make the most of every opportunity.
Your sales calling script should act like a tool and not a dictator.
Why create a sales script?
Let’s discuss the obvious and not-so-obvious benefits of creating a sales script.
1. You won’t fumble
One of the biggest reasons why so many salespeople hate cold calling is that feeling you get when you’re on the phone and you’re not able to connect with the other person. Sometimes, you start to fumble with your words and it gets awkward for both you and the prospect.
When you create a sales calling script, you’re less likely to have those awkward moments where you don’t know what to say. With the right script, you know where you want to guide the conversation, and what action you’re intending to prospect to take at the end of the call.
2. You’ll be prepared
A great cold calling script prepares for all responses, including rejection, and has a reply for each. With a script, you won’t need to waste time coming up with a response to your prospect’s questions, hesitations, or downright rejections. You’ll have a plan that you can use without feeling flustered or unprepared.
Of course, a good sales call leaves room to address each contact’s unique needs, pain points and interests, so you’re presenting a genuine solution to an existing need. That’s where knowing your product or service inside and out will help. But a good script prepares you by drawing out the responses needed to get you to that point.
3. You’ll feel more confident
Being prepared leads to increased confidence. A lot of salespeople resist cold calling because they hate feeling vulnerable and unprepared for the curve balls that can arise during a single cold call. By providing your sales team with a thorough cold calling script, you can boost their confidence and increase your team’s overall morale when it comes to cold calling. Experience will increase confidence even further.
4. You can focus on solutions
In the flow of conversation, it’s easy to lose focus on why you’re calling. A script, whether it’s detailed or a basic list of talking points, will keep your sales team on track, and focused on the ultimate goal for the call, whether that’s to qualify, or book a demo, or close a deal.
You can’t advance the sale without credibly convincing your contact that you have something they want and will benefit from. A good script – through both questions and responses – helps your team become problem solvers who create value for your prospects.
5. You’ll save time
Having and then following a sales calling script will increase your team’s in-call efficiency, leaving less room for distractions and tangents, and an increasingly narrow funnel of qualification toward your call to action.
6. You’ll reduce mental fatigue
Have you ever dialed a line and then forgot the reason for your call? It happens a lot, especially if you’re dialing dozens of potential leads each day. There’s a reason for your lapse of memory. It’s called mental fatigue, and it can happen when you have to repeatedly bob and weave and think on the spot. But when you have a script, you don’t need to come up with a new spin on the same thing. You have a clear path and can just personalize the message based on the conversation and needs of the prospect.
How do you write a sales calling script?
So, now we’re getting into the good stuff. Let’s discuss how to create a sales script that works. We’ll also share a free template at the end of this post that you can make your own.
Define the reason for your cold call
Before writing a sales script, first figure out why you’re calling. (Hint: It’s not about making a sale.) Your potential customer doesn’t trust you yet, so they’re not going to buy from you yet. The reason for any cold call is to qualify your prospect and advance the sales process to the next stage of your funnel. Write your script with that in mind.
Understand your target audience
What are the pain points you want to tackle in your cold call? Identify your audience’s top pain point(s) and use your script to highlight how you are credible solution to address this identified need. If you’re not solving a problem your audience wants solved, you can’t expect to get to the next step, much less to a sale.
Research the individual
If you have the opportunity to learn more about the person you’re calling—do it! Check out their social media pages, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Don’t forget to check out their company’s website, too. In addition to finding out more about their individual, you can also learn about their company’s mission and spot any possible gatekeepers.
At the start of your call, state your name and the name of your company. But here’s the key to success: Do it slowly. Not so slowly that you sound like an R&B singer but slow enough the people understand what you’re saying and don’t ask you to repeat yourself.
Tell them what’s in it for them
You have a reason for calling. Tell them what it is immediately. “I’m calling because…” and then tell them what it is you do or offer. If you’ve done a good job building a targeted list, and you’ve identified a key pain point they are looking to fix or benefit they want to achieve, you’ve opened the door to a fruitful conversation. “I’m calling because we help restaurants increase takeout orders by an average of 23% in 3 months, and I wanted to see if our platform might help grow this line of business for your restaurant.”
You want to talk to people who are qualified and interested in the benefit your product or service provides. Asking questions is how you get there. You should follow up your WIIFM (what’s in it for me) opener with questions that qualify this interest or need.
One approach is to jump right into questions that sensibly follow your benefit. For example, “Are you doing any takeout orders today?” Asking questions that are designed to get a “yes” response (known as the yes ladder technique) can be an effective way to qualify and start a productive conversation.
Another approach is to literally ask them if they have time to answer a few questions to see if your offering might be a fit. “Do you have a few minutes to answer some questions to see if our takeout program might be a fit for your restaurant?” This positions you as someone who is not merely looking to make a buck, but rather to create value by filling a genuine need. And if you got your initial reason/benefit right, you’ve given your prospect a good reason to spend a few minutes with you.
Keep in mind, if your reps are talking to people who don’t have an interest, need, or problem to be solved, everyone’s time is being wasted. Asking good questions ensures they are engaging with the right people.
Know the next step
You got the targeting right. You highlighted a key pain point or benefit that resonated with your audience. And you’ve answered questions that helped qualify your prospect as a potential fit. What’s next?
You should know. And your sales script should be explicit on this point. Nail down a date for a demo. Tell them what you’re going to send them and arrange a time for your follow-up call.
Set their expectations so that they’re primed and prepared for your next interaction.
Have a plan for objections
People will hesitate, equivocate, and downright dismiss you. But if they don’t say “don’t ever call me again,” a no or hesitation is not the end of the line. In your sales calling script, have some prepared lines to combat hesitation that have the potential to bring someone back into the realm of qualification. For example, “you’re not looking to increase the takeout side of your business?” might engender a “we are, but we’ve got a lot going on at the moment.” Your “no” may be closer to a “not right now” at this point, which opens the door to a follow-up call or drip campaign that could ultimately win you new business.
Have a plan to get past the gatekeeper
When you’re making sales calls there are administrative assistants, office managers, receptionists, and a host of others who may block your passage to a decision maker who can say “yes” to your proposal.
It’s easy to hate gatekeepers, but remember that they’re doing their jobs. Don’t think of gatekeepers as enemies. Instead have a script to get the gatekeeper on your side.
This is one more reason why researching a target can be helpful. You may learn something about a gatekeeper that can help prepare you or build a rapport with them. Then, after establishing a relationship with the gatekeeper, you’ll have access to the decision maker.
Be prepared for voicemail
Seven out of 10 calls will end up in voicemail. So, while your opening script doesn’t matter 70% of the time, you need a solid voicemail script to bridge the gap.
You can actually create a script for your voicemails, pre-record them, and then drop them in one click as soon as you know you’ve reached voicemail. To increase callbacks you can even send an email and/or a text message with this same click.
Free sales calling script template
Here’s a free sales calling script template that you can use. If it seems simple, that’s by design. You don’t have long to pique interest, so you want to get right to the solution you offer and whether it’s a potential fit for the contact you’re speaking with.
Hello [lead’s name]. This is [your name] with [your business].
I am calling because we help [kind of person/business you are targeting] to [achieve specific benefit/fix specific problem or pain point].
[Qualifying question or permission to ask qualifying questions to assess fit].
Use this script as a starting point
Scripts are meant to be tweaked and adapted for particular campaigns, and to learn what works for a given list or situation.
You should test different concepts to see what works.
Take this script for example, which has worked well for us at PhoneBurner. We use this when targeting a specific niche in which the contacts may or may not have heard of us before.
By design, the script immediately aims for a demo. While atypical, it very frequently piques interest, even (or especially) in contacts who don’t recall hearing of us, and prompts a follow-up question is which they ask us what we do.
OBJECTIVE: To schedule a demo
Hey, this is Ryan Reisert with PhoneBurner.
We haven’t spoken before… the reason for my call is that I lead the outbound business development efforts at PhoneBurner and I am reaching out to coordinate an introduction meeting at some point in the coming weeks.
Would you be open to meeting next ____ or _____?
WHAT IS PHONE BURNER?
Ah well, we’re a power dialing solution that can boost team productivity by 4x without the awkward beep, pause, and delay that you get with traditional auto dialers. We also incorporate omni-channel touch points with voicemail drops, email and even SMS/Text messaging.
Do you have a direct sales team or are you selling primarily through channel partners?
We are working with other solar companies like Odin Energy helping them move from door knocking to dials.
Their team was able to create a brand new phone sales process from scratch and generated over $500K in sales in just one week on our platform.
Does this sound like something you’d be open to learning more about in the next week or two?
Ok, how does your calendar look on over the next week, are you more of a morning person or an afternoon person?
Did you know that you can save sales calling scripts in PhoneBurner? Get through calls lists faster, and have more productive live conversations. Learn more about PhoneBurner—and sign up for your free trial here.