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7 Things That Must Go in a Cold Call Script

Jeff Cochran

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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.

 

Tips for Cold Calling Scripts

Solicitation Many people say cold calling is a dead practice. With the rise of social media, email, and internet marketing, it’s easy to dismiss good old-fashioned phone calls as unnecessary. The stress of collecting phone numbers, making multiple calls to unexpecting strangers, and facing anger and hang-ups just isn’t worth the low sales yield.

However, many sales employees are simply not communicating effectively with their customers because of poorly written sales scripts that lack organization and a personal human element. Making simple changes, such as studying the anatomy of a cold calling script and taking on a conversational tone will help strengthen your cold calling script and turn your sales pitches from boring and basic to engaging and persuasive!

 

Know the Anatomy of an Effective Cold Calling Script

The basic anatomy of a cold calling script is:

1. State your name and your company, as well as some variation of “I hope your day is going well!”

2. Connecting statement. This is where researching the prospect comes in handy. Use the information you’ve learned about their company or interests and connect it to your own experiences.

3. Reason for calling. Tell them why you’re calling, but not explicitly. Explain that you notice that they are lacking a service or product that your company can provide for them. Be specific and connect with the prospect.

4. Qualifying statement. Tell them why your company can provide the best service or product and make their operations easier. Tell them what your service or product does and ask them if they already use a similar one.

5. Personalized ask. It’s all up to you from here. If they already use a similar service or product, tell them why yours is better. If they don’t, explain the benefits of your service or product. This will lead into your ask – and hopefully lead to a sale!

Many times, a sales call fails because of poor organization and preparation. Adhering to this basic structure will allow you to communicate the purpose of the call and begin your sales pitch to the customer quickly and effectively.

The amount of time a cold calling script should take a salesperson to read through should be 30 seconds or less. The entire sales call should take only a few minutes to complete. With a cold call, you are likely interrupting the prospect’s daily routine and you want to be mindful of their time. With a concise script, you will be able to communicate your message quickly, confidently, and clearly – qualities your prospect will appreciate.

How can such a short sales pitch be compelling enough to lure in new customers? The answer lies in the amount of prior research a salesperson does and his or her ability to hold a conversation.

 

Identify the Audience and Research, Research, Research

Once you’ve identified your prospective customer, take a few minutes to research them. Visit their LinkedIn profile and company website. Visit their associated social media profiles. Make notes of areas where your service or product can benefit them.

This information will help you craft a compelling qualifying statement and reason for calling. This research will set you apart from other sales calls in the customer’s mind, adding a personal human touch to your pitch that will compel them to learn more.

 

Have a Simple Opening

State your name and your company but try not to linger too long on your introduction. If someone detects that you are a cold caller, they may hang up immediately. A simple “Hi [prospect name], this is [your name] from [your company]” will convey a friendliness and a familiarity that will keep the prospect on the phone longer.

Try not to ask the prospect how their day or week is going. Both the caller and the prospect know that “How are you today?” is simply filler and doesn’t convey genuine interest. It is more professional to use a statement such as “I hope your day is going well” or “I hope you’ve had a good morning.”

 

 

Be a Human, Not a Robot

The purpose of a cold calling script is for referral, not to read word-for-word. Having a well-organized script will allow you to communicate in a credible, authoritative way, but if it’s obvious to the customer that you’re reading from a script, you lose that credibility.

Always adopt a conversational tone when using a cold calling script. Read the script like an actor, not a robot. You want to connect with your prospective customer – talk with them, not at them!

 

A Cold Calling Script Example

You can tweak the following cold calling script example to fit your sales pitch. It applies the basic script anatomy, takes on a conversational tone, applies simple research, and has a simple opening.

Jessica, a sales representative for Rooster Distribution, is trying to find new customers for her company’s line of phone accessories, including chargers, headphones, and charging blocks. She identified her city’s local aquarium as a prospect, since it is a tourist hotspot and many travelers may need to purchase emergency phone accessories. The following is the script Jessica plans on using to call Rob, the manager of the aquarium’s gift shop:

 

Hi Rob, this is Jessica from Rooster Distribution. I hope you’re having a good morning!

I’m a big fan of the Bishop Aquarium – I saw that you’re opening a dolphin exhibit next month! I can’t wait to check it out.

The last time I visited the aquarium, my phone was dying, and I noticed that your gift shop doesn’t have any chargers in stock. I know that a ton of tourists come around as well, and I imagine that they might need these products too… you know how hectic traveling can be and how important your phone can be!

Losing a charger or needing one in a pinch is super common and something I deal with all the time. Rooster Distribution supplies local businesses around Bishop with phone products like chargers, headphones, and charging blocks every day. Has your gift shop considered stocking products like these?

[continue from here and transition into ask].

 

Of course, even with the best cold calling script in the world, you will receive hang-ups and rejection. This is simply a part of the sales world. It’s important to keep pushing forward to success – and with a well-organized, conversational script, your chances of success will increase.

To learn more about cold calling scripts and other effective ways to boost your sales call success, schedule a corporate sales training session with Shapiro Negotiations today.

 

Improve Your Sales Prospecting With These Proven Processes

It’s no secret that sales is a competitive field. In a technology-driven mobile environment, the industry is more dynamic than ever. Sales reps must make use of a variety of techniques to make the most of their efforts – this applies not only to closing a deal, but with sales prospecting itself. Learn the essential sales prospecting tools and processes you should be incorporating into your workday.

 

What Is Sales Prospecting?

Simply put, sales prospecting involves seeking out potential buyers or customers to garner new business. Ideally, the process of sales prospecting will move a prospective buyer down the funnel until they become new – and hopefully repeat – customers.

The difference between sales prospecting and lead prospecting is subtle, and the source of some confusion. Generally, we think of a lead as someone who has a marked interest in a product or service that is demonstrated by visiting the website, subscribing to an email list, commenting on a blog post, or something similar.

A sales prospect, on the other hand, is a lead who we might deem as a qualified potential customer. In other words, he or she fits a target buyer persona and is generally more likely to continue down the sales funnel.

Some people use the terms sales prospecting and lead prospecting interchangeably, and they’re very similar. However, true sales prospecting focuses the effort on the people who are most likely to become bona fide, revenue-generating customers.

 

Best Practices for Sales Prospecting

Like any other aspect of sales, prospecting takes time, a thoughtful process, and a continual commitment. Over the years, we’ve identified several strategies that make sales prospecting more likely to be successful.

 

It Starts With Your Mindset

Any successful prospecting approach requires the right frame of mind. The best reps use an “always prospecting” approach to their practice. In other words, prospecting is not something that you do once. It’s a continual, effort-based process that uses a variety of techniques to reach success.

In general, the prospecting mindset involves continuous research. Knowing the customer is arguably the most essential aspect of sales, and sales prospecting is no exception. Sales reps must know if they’re eliciting quality prospects that they can deliver business value to. The research phase of prospecting involves asking several important questions, such as:

  • Is the prospect viable?
  • What system will work to prioritize prospects?
  • How can reps develop opportunities to connect?

By continuously deploying the research phase, reps will be able to seamlessly move qualified prospects through the funnel. As with any aspect of sales, mindset is more than half the battle.

 

Develop a Viable Prep Tool

Getting into the mindset seems simple enough, but how can a rep know if a prospect is qualified? This is where battle-tested sales prospecting techniques come in. We find that the following process proves to be successful:

  • Identify the target. Remember, a lead becomes a prospect when he or she fits into a target buyer persona.
  • Establish precedent. Why would a prospect be interested in a product or service? How does it address his or her pain points? Does any compelling precedent exist that would help establish a prospect as a qualified lead? This is also a good time to examine other disqualifying notions such as budget limitations or time constraints.
  • Create a script. The final step in the sales prospecting process is developing a script for identified, qualified prospects. The goal of this script is to be actionable as soon as possible, which we’ll discuss more at length.

 

Rehearse the Script

It’s a good idea to have an established script in place when making cold calls or participating in other sales prospecting activities. However, it’s also important to understand that these scripts aren’t one size fits all. The success of a script depends on a few different factors:

Personalization. Tailor messaging to address a specific problem that prospects are having.

Keep it relevant. Do some research ahead of time and determine if the issue is still a relevant concern. Remember, some prospects simply get stale.

Be professional, but casual. No one likes feeling like the recipient of a cold call. Add touches that make the script seem less scripted and more personable. Use a natural tone, whether communicating through email or over the phone. Resist the urge to be “sales-y” and keep the focus on adding value.

Be helpful. The key distinction between prospecting and selling is the desired outcome. Obviously, the end goal of prospecting is revenue. However, at this stage of the process, provide the prospect with something valuable and expect nothing in return (a good example is a free consultation or something similar).

 

Create a Sales Prospecting Strategy That Works

Now, down to the nitty-gritty details. How can a sales prospecting strategy ensure success? We advise using the following techniques:

 

Use a Mix of Inbound and Outbound

The conventional wisdom has long been to use either inbound or outbound prospecting, but a mix of both tends to work best. While outbound prospecting involves more aggressive prospecting such as cold calling and social media messaging, inbound marketing focuses more on casually emailing or social selling to someone who already has an expressed familiarity with the product or service. Both have their advantages; but inbound prospecting tends to be more successful. Consider, for example, that IMB managed to increase their sales by 400% after implementing an inbound prospecting program.

 

Make a Great First Impression

Even when working with qualified leads that express familiarity and interest, it’s essential to communicate expertise and credibility from the first interaction. Here’s how to do it:

  • Practice, practice, practice. Many reps fail to realize a powerful tool that’s usually in the palm of their hands: their smartphone. Create an elevator pitch, record it, watch, and make adjustments. Think about how to communicate authority and warmth, and make adjustments, as necessary.
  • Ask for feedback. When in doubt, ask for help or expert advice. Most reps can improve or refine an elevator pitch with just a few simple adjustments – sometimes, it just a matter of getting a different point of view.
  • Remember the end goal. Many people fail to recognize the goal of prospecting, which is simply to add value. Do not overtly sell; give a prospect something, and don’t expect them to give anything in return. Do, however, schedule a time for follow up if possible.

 

Sales prospecting is a continual process, but it’s well worth the effort. When using proven sales prospecting techniques, reps can move qualified prospects down the funnel and efficiently increase their sales each month.

How Sleep Deprivation Negatively Affects Your Work

Jeff Cochran

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It’s widely known that sleep deprivation negatively impacts a person physically, mentally, and emotionally. Our ability to focus, handle stress, and think clearly are all at stake. No matter what your profession, not getting enough sleep has a negative impact on your performance. But when you are a sales professional or a training manager, it doesn’t just affect you – it affects your whole team.

Here are some of the results of sleep deprivation:

* High blood pressure

* Heart attack

* Stroke

* Obesity

* Psychiatric problems, including depression and other mood disorders

* Mental impairment

* Poor quality of life

For your health and your team’s, follow these critical steps to make sleep a priority.

Set a Bedtime Routine and Stick to It—Even on the Weekends

Prepping for bed starts early. Try to begin the process at the same time each evening. Follow these guidelines for a greater chance of success:

* Prohibit alcohol and caffeine consumption within several hours of your desired bedtime

* Exclude screen time one hour before bed

* Don’t do any exercise within three hours of when you want to sleep

* Wake up at the same time each day; don’t sleep in on weekends

Create a Restful Space

Cluttered bedrooms lead to cluttered (and restless) minds. Take some time to create a peaceful, tidy space in which to sleep. Invest in a good mattress and linens. After all, we spend about a third of our lives in bed – which justifies a more substantial investment into that part of our homes!

Consider Incorporating a Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness and meditation practices can lead to falling asleep more quickly and having better quality sleep. By managing stress and keeping you focused throughout the day, mindfulness can also improve performance in other areas.

It’s safe to say that sleep is one of the most influential factors in our daily performance. There’s no such thing as making up for lost sleep, so prioritizing it is crucial. For those in high-pressure sales jobs or people in charge of training programs, it’s even more important to take care of this easy to neglect need.

Ensure that you’re firing on all cylinders and aren’t running the risk of blowing a gasket when things get heated in the office – or when deadlines are looming. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your team. Follow the tips above, and work your way toward more restful nights and more productive days.

Should you listen to a Devil’s Advocate?

Jeff Cochran

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Why would we encourage someone to tell us we are wrong and that our ideas aren’t clear? Sometimes it could be the push we need to be better, to do more, or to make more. John Adams, the second President of the United States, relied on his wife Abigail for advice and critiques to lead our country. With that said, taking the extra hour to script your pitch for a meeting or to hand off your proposal to a co-worker might not only be the remedy to miscommunication, but the key to success. So, do you have a devil’s advocate, someone you can turn to for guidance? Who is your Abigail Adams?

If you’re the drafter…

The tried and true process of putting pen to paper allows us to work through our thoughts and uncover our real goals. We have drafted our proposals and scripted our speeches And, now that you know what you want to say, and think you have said it clearly, hand it to the one person you know won’t be biased or go easy on you. When he or she brings you back your draft with red marks and arrows, go and redraft the script. Do it again and again until your devil’s advocate has run out of recommendations. In this case, third time may not be the charm. It may be the fourth or fifth or tenth. But when all is said and done, you will have a script that is clear and concise.

If you’re the devil’s advocate….

Maybe you are sitting at your desk when a co-worker hands you their latest proposal. They ask you to read it over, make suggestions, and be brutally honest. How can you be a good devil’s advocate? Here are a few key things to consider.

Is the intended demand or request clear? What can you change to make it more apparent?

Are the facts there, or does the proposal sound too personal?

Is the proposal concise and specific? What type of language do they use?

Take-aways: Take your time with a proposal. Get your ideas down on paper and don’t be afraid to redraft until it is right.  Be someone’s Abigail Adams and let someone be yours. You will be more successful in the long run if you’re not afraid to ask for advice.