My cold calling scripts and templates are tools to help you engage and interest prospective customers. Don't turn them into a crutch by obsessing over each and every word and reciting them without feeling into the phone hoping for magic. I and every other sales and marketing expert will tell you that the magic is to develop your own voice and be passionate about what you are doing.
As far as I am concerned the real purpose of prospecting scripts to help with cold calls is to get you to a point where you don't need them. Remember that there is no magic sales and marketing formula that will get you instant and lasting results. The only way to succeed is through consistent, persistent, creative effort.
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My take is that all cold calling scripts follow a similar pattern in moving customers from "Unaware" to "Aware" and then "Interested" in the sales process. The goal of a cold call is to make a positive impression on a complete stranger, create interest in what you are saying and agree on next steps.
You have limited time to do all this and so your call should be methodical and planned around the follow steps I have broken down for successful cold calls: Greeting, Permission, Introduction, Quick Next Step, Benefit Statement, Qualification and Set Next Step.
Understanding these steps is more important than memorizing cold calling scripts! Once you are comfortable with the steps of how a cold call should proceed experiment with language and wording that works best for you and resonates with customers. At that point you won't need a script but will learn what to say naturally.
This is how each cold calling script of yours should begin. Say your name and where you are calling from. Using your full name is most appropriate for business calls. Addressing the customer by first name is okay and will make them less likely to put up their guard at too much formality (think of a telemarketer asking in a formal tone, "Can I speak with Mr. So-and-So?" You want to avoid that and be more casual).
"Hi John. This is [full name] calling from [organization]"
If you have a reference or a reason you can include that in your greeting:
"Joe in purchasing said I should give you a call"
"I notice you do [a,b,c business] and thought you may be interested in a way to [x,y,z benefit]"
If you are comfortable with a quick quip to lighten the tone of the call right off the bat, go ahead:
"You're a hard guy to get a hold of!"
Keep it short and sweet and don't launch right into your pitch without asking for...
The next step in most cold calling scripts is to ask for permission to speak. This is something I consider crucial and yet sadly lacking in the training provided to many telesales professionals. Following your greeting, you must ask a question or say something to gain acknowledgment form the customer and their approval to proceed.
"Did I catch you at a good time?"
"Do you have a moment to speak?"
"You're not busy right now, are you?"
"Are you the correct person to speak to about [x,y,z]?"
If you do not ask for permission to speak then many times whatever you say will go in one ear and out the other. On the other hand, by granting you permission, the customer is saying, Sure, I have a minute, what have you got? They will then listen to you rather than ignore you or simply wait for an opportunity to say, "no thanks!"
The first question on the customer's mind as they sit back to listen is, Who are you?. As such, this is the first question my cold calling script template addresses. You have said who you are in your greeting and so now simply state what you do in terms of the benefit you product or service provides them.
An introduction may or may not be necessary depending on whether what you do is self-explanatory or ties into your "Benefit Statement" which comes next.
"We are a marketing company that helps companies like yours with branding, PR and product positioning"
The best introductions lead right into your "Benefit Statement". In fact, the introduction can itself be in the form of a Benefit Statement thus combing your Introduction and Benefit Statement into one.
"We help manufacturing companies like yours achieve reduced time-to-market for new products through optimized testing."
Remember that your benefits are different than your products or service and should describe the actual results you help your customers achieve. Your introduction should utilize specific industry keywords your customer may be aware of and explain anything that you do which is different and compelling.
"Our Support Automation software allows computer-based organizations like yours to save time and money by resolving common computer problems automatically"
Quick Next Step
The second question on most customers' minds after you have introduced yourself is, What do you want? The Quick Next Step I include in cold calling scripts both answers this question and puts the customer at ease by stating a very casual purpose for your call. The easiest of these is to say that you wanted to see if they were interested in seeing some information on x, y, z.
"I wanted to see if you would be interested in looking at some information on how you might be able to improve efficiencies"
Right away, the customer can relax now that they know you are not calling to sell them anything or ask for some kind of commitment. The first thing most people want if they are interested in something is more information anyway. If you have identified the correct contact related to your solution they will most likely say, "Sure" and give you their e-mail address.
If used properly, the Quick Next Step is an invaluable tool in your cold calling script repertoire. You will find that most people are more than happy to provide you with their e-mail address for information. They feel far less threatened and are happy to listen to you for a couple of minutes to see if the rest of what you say makes sense. If necessary, assure customers that you will not spam them.
Your Quick Next Step can also include a Benefit Statement that leads into that discussion below. Instead of mentioning information about your solution, rephrase that to say information on the benefits they will receive through your solution. The difference between the two is what differentiates "You" Marketing from run-of-the-mill sales and marketing.
The customer's next question is, What can you do for me? The cold calling script template provides the answer by expanding on your Introduction above. You have put yourself in context by explaining what your organization does so now expand on this further with one or two key customer-centric benefits. These should be pains they can resolve or gains they can achieve through your solution.
"We can supply you with the lowest-priced parts and the fastest delivery time, guaranteed."
"We've helped hundreds of companies like yours achieve 25-40% lower operating costs by being able to measure employee productivity more effectively."
Your Benefit Statement may be in the form of a question which leads to the Qualification stage below.
"Is part of your work continually looking for ways to improve quality and output?"
The Benefit Statement is the "hook" of your pitch and should be compelling and directly relate to the customer. Work at key benefits that resonate with customers, a unique way you can help them beyond the general platitudes of 'save time and money' which they probably have heard many times before.
Completing the Greeting, Permission, Introduction, Quick Next Step and Benefit Statement steps should take you no more than 30 seconds. You do not have the luxury of an idle conversation as it is crucial to engage and interest the customer. Therefore, up to this point it is important to follow the steps and get the customer to the point where they are relaxed and listening to you.
Qualification is where you begin to find out more about the customer's environment and needs as well as answer their own initial questions. You should have set criteria for what makes for a "good prospect" in addition to the VBANT - Vision, Budget, Authority, Need, Timeframe - qualification questions outlined on the Qualified Sales Lead and Sales Lead Sheet pages.
In your initial conversation, you should not expect to cover more than one or two of the most important questions. After all, you started off by asking for "a minute of time" and you do not want to overload the customer, simply whet their appetite for more information.
Turn this and future qualification discussions into back-and-forth discussions with questions, answers and observations feeding off one another. Use your comments and answers to customer questions as an opportunity to seed more benefits. In this regard, qualification and benefit statements continue throughout the sales process until you strike a deal.
Basic qualification revolves around using the "Six Serving Men" of What, Why, When, How, Where and Who:
"What is your environment like today?
Excellent, thanks. A lot of our customers have similar environments."
"Why is reducing costs so important to you?
That makes sense. I guess keeping your shareholders happy is a priority for the whole company, right?"
"When were you planning to fix this problem?
Okay, so you can't make any decisions on this before next year's budget at the earliest, right?"
"Where do you see yourself a year from now in terms of revamping your current processes?
And why are a, b and c the first on your priority list?"
"Who is most eager to see a solution implemented besides yourself?
Excellent. It's always important to have executive support for an initiative like this.
Remember that one of the main purposes of qualification is to shine as much light as possible on your customer's pain and benefits you will provide them. You should be like a doctor diagnosing his pain using "What / Where / How / When / Why / Who" and getting it to a point where it is so unbearable your customer has no choice but to fix it!
In addition to these cold calling scripts samples my The Sales Lead Center page has links to other important information regarding properly qualification. In terms of your first call the goal, once again, is to simply "break the ice" and get the discussion going.
Set Next Steps
Your initial call should not take more that five minutes on average. The goal is simply to engage and interest the customer and put yourself in a position to be able to follow up on Next Steps. The final piece of the template for cold calling scripts is to hammer in specific follow-up items.
Begin by noting the customer's e-mail address if you do not already have it.
"Thanks so much for your time. It was great speaking with you. Can I make a note of your e-mail address so I can get that information out to you?"
Sending information opens up the door to a simple follow up which is to touch base and see if the customer has any questions. Make sure to ask for any other relevant contact information as well.
"Is it okay if I touch base with you some time next week to see if you have any questions? What is the best time to call you? Is this the best number to reach you at?"
You can also begin setting expectations for future discussions.
"If you are interested in find out more at that point, we can schedule a 45 minute demonstration for you and your team."
Follow up on action items from today's discussion.
"Okay, so I'll send you out some information as well as the customer references you asked for. When do you think you'll have had a chance to speak with your Director?"
You should set next steps and get affirmations throughout the entire sales process in each of the cold calling scripts you use. Always make sure to book a meeting from a meeting. It is rare for a customer to take the initiative and call themselves and if they say they will, that usually means they are trying to politely dismiss you. If the timing is not right, check one last time and then keep the door open for a future call if it makes sense.
"Are you saying you do not want to learn how you might [repeat key benefit] or avoid [repeat customer pain]?"
"I understand. You just don't have this as a priority right now. That's fine. If it's okay, can I check back in six months? In the meantime, don't hesitate to touch base yourself if anything changes."
That completes this section on cold calling scripts. Make sure to visit related pages for my advice on cold calling tips, templates and more.
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