Cold calling is not dead. In fact, 78% of consumers in a 2018 poll took an appointment or attended an event they learned about through a cold call. When done right, cold calling can be more effective than other types of marketing efforts.
To achieve success with this sales tactic, however, your reps must be prepared with a flawless cold call script. The strength and effectiveness of a cold call script template can determine whether the seller will clinch a sale or annoy the consumer. Insert the following seven things in your company’s cold call script for maximum persuasive power.
1. A Strong Introduction
The way a salesperson opens a cold call to a prospect is key. A cold call script must start with an excellent opener. Opening with a boring statement, a mumbled greeting, or too many questions can immediately turn a prospect off and stop the conversation in its tracks. The salesperson should come off confident, friendly, and positive to warm up the cold call. He or she shouldn’t rush the introduction. Instead, the seller should take his/her time saying, “Hello, I’m [Name] from [Company].” A simple but clear introduction can start the conversation on the right foot.
Make sure your company’s script template starts with a concise but positive introduction, followed by something light and conversational, ideally with personal details about the prospect’s life. A simple, “How are you?” can multiply the odds of success by 3.4. Do not start immediately with a bunch of questions. This can make the call feel like an interrogation, and put the prospect on the defensive. Instead, your salespeople should take their time and avoid sounding pushy. They only have a few seconds to form a first impression, so they should start with a concise pitch.
2. Personalized Connections
Although cold calling is about selling a product over the phone, the best way to seal the deal is by starting a conversation. Make the call more about a connection than about prospecting. Studies show that the longer a salesperson can keep a prospect on the phone, the higher the odds are of a sale. Striking up a conversation with the recipient can increase call duration and create a back-and-forth dialogue that can help the seller succeed. Instead of making the cold call feel like an interrogation or a preloaded list of questions, sellers should insert personalized details into the cold call script, such as:
- Where the prospect went to college
- The prospect’s home sports team
- What the prospect does for a living
- A fun fact about the seller
- How the seller has helped similar prospects or companies
Get this information from your company’s research prior to making the calls. Your team should have identified the best prospects for the product, and spent time researching any available information about each person. This should give your reps plenty of talking points that sound personal, friendly, and conversational. Your sellers should open the prospect up to the idea of chatting, rather than making the call about sales alone.
3. Good Questions
The questions a salesperson asks during the call can make all the difference. For this marketing practice to work, the seller must know exactly what questions to ask, and when to ask them. One study on cold calling analyzed 519,000 calls to draw connections between the script template and the effectiveness of the call. The study found that the ideal number of questions to ask during a discovery call is 11 to 14. Asking more or less than this range drops the effectiveness of the call equally. The best questions during a cold call are leading:
- What’s it like living next to/in [insert city or landmark]?
- What are your top [insert industry] priorities right now?
- What would make you more likely to switch companies?
- What concerns do you have about switching?
- How can we best serve you?
These questions encourage conversation, rather than allowing the prospect to simply answer yes or no. Furthermore, good salespeople spread questions evenly throughout the conversation. This maintains a more positive pace throughout the conversation, rather than several questions frontloaded at the start of the call. Your sales reps should think about the call like a tennis match, with a lot of back and forth. The right questions can lead to a more naturally flowing conversation.
4. Collaborative Words
Prospects prefer to talk about themselves rather than hear about the salesperson. The same study of 519,000 cold calls found that using collaborative words, rather than “I,” increased success rates by 35%. Similarly, the number of “our” vs. “my” in the analyzed calls was 55% higher in successful calls than unsuccessful ones. According to another analysis of over 500,000 sales calls, top sellers were 10 times more likely to use collaborative language than low-performing ones.
Collaborative language is more inclusive. This gives the prospect the impression that the seller is part of something bigger, rather than on his or her own. The impression of a company supporting the seller’s promises can foster greater trust in the salesperson. Collaborative language also serves to include the prospect in the conversation, rather than isolating the seller and creating separation.
5. Solutions for Common Objections
Every good cold call script must include go-to answers or solutions for common prospect objections. Around 35% of salespeople say overcoming price objections is the biggest challenge they face. Preparing for objections and having proven handling techniques ready could save an otherwise doomed cold call. A few tips include:
- Pausing for at least a few seconds after an objection.
- Continuing to talk at the same slow, back-and-forth pace as before.
- Clarifying the prospect’s concerns with questions.
- Confirming that you’re both on the same page.
- Connecting with a fellow salesperson or manager for a team sales strategy.
In answering an objection, a salesperson should use the most effective language possible. This means using the strongest words to get a point across. Words like “imagine,” “successful,” “fair,” and other decisive language can help restore confidence in the seller and bring the conversation back to a light and positive place. Giving your salespeople a cold call script with best practices for answering common objections already built in can help them increase the duration of calls.
6. A Strong Closer
Making sales is all about the closer. Successful prospecting is all about planting seeds and getting follow-ups. The best cold call script templates stress the importance of the salesperson’s closing statements. A seller should always have more reasons for a person to buy than the number of objections. Closers should be persistent, and can be more straightforward than the rest of the conversation. It is the rep’s chance to ask the buyer one more time, or to circle back to the sale after receiving a no.
Closers are also the most appropriate place to insert discussions about price. Since price is one of the most common prospect objections, introducing price at the end of the conversation can reduce the odds of the buyer rejecting the offer. Your salespeople should give the price of the product or service as close to the end of the conversation as possible to avoid objections. At this point, the prospect is already more likely to buy. Tie the prospect’s financial goals to the closing statements. Position the product or service as the solution. The goal of the closer should be to either close the deal or get a follow-up.
7. Conviction from Beginning to End
Although not necessarily something in the cold call script, it is important for salespeople to use conviction during cold calls. Nothing convinces like conviction. Words that inspire confidence can help close sales. The most successful cold callers use affirmative, confident terms throughout the call, such as “absolutely,” “definitely,” and “certainly.” These words show a prospect the seller knows what he or she is talking about, and is willing to guarantee the truth behind his/her words. Conviction from start to finish during a cold call conversation can make the prospect trust the seller, and be more willing to give them his/her business.
Good sellers often practice cold calling by recording themselves speaking out loud. That way, they can hear whether their voices come off with enough strength, confidence, and conviction. A good script template is important, but delivery is where the magic happens. Sales reps must deliver scripts with confidence for them to be effective. Believing in the product or service and being extremely knowledgeable about it can help a salesperson achieve a strong tone of conviction.
Improve Cold Call Scripts, Increase Your Bottom Line
Cold calling does not have to be uncomfortable or pushy. It can be warm, friendly, inviting, and effective with the right script. Cold calling may be one of the most difficult marketing techniques to perfect, but the results can be worth the effort. Your team’s success depends on the tools you give them for closing sales. Excellent sales training can help a team of cold callers achieve better results from their efforts.
Shapiro Negotiations knows how to get real, measurable results from cold calling. Our corporate sales training program teaches top-converting tools, habits, and processes for optimal sales success. One of the modules in this program focuses specifically on how to overcome potential customer objections with confidence. Learn new tips and tricks for cold calling, build trust more quickly with prospects, and increase your bottom line.