You have your list of names and phone numbers. Before the end of the day, you need to make 100 calls. Your sales manager has given your team a big pep-up talk encouraging you to dial, dial, dial.
Now all you need is a cold call script. And not just any script … the best cold call script ever.
But before I give you the keys to the castle, let’s look at a typical cold call. (Or skip to the script.)
Sample Cold Call Script
**The prospect’s phone rings**
Rep: Aja Froost, mynameisDanfromoutbound.
(1.5 second pause)
I am calling about our softare thathelpsyouwiththestrategicimplentation of your biggest problems from OutboundCompany.
Is this a priority for you today?
Prospect: Actually, this isn’t a great time …
Rep: Are you interested in a product demo of how we are in the magic quadrant? We have won all these awards.
Prospect: We’re not interested.
Rep: Are you the decision maker? Give me two hours and we can get you going -- unless you don't have a budget.
Don’t laugh. There are lots of calls like these taking place each and every day. And you probably won’t be surprised to learn they convert at an abominable rate: Less than 1%.
That means if you call 100 people using this kind of script, you’ll only get a second call with one of them.
Now, if you are calling your prospects and saying the same thing to all of them, essentially pushing your product -- just stop.
It probably sucks for you, but it’s worse for your prospects, your brand, and your productivity.
If you follow this script (the best cold call script ever, am I right?!?), your connect rate will go up to 14-20%. Way better than a measly 1%.
How to Create a Cold Call Script
Step 1: Identify 2-3 verticals
First, you need to cherry-pick who you’ll call. Your time is valuable -- don’t waste it on markets that aren’t a good fit for your product. Think about who your best customers are (or who you’ve had the most success calling in the past) and look for common attributes.
For example, maybe your verticals are hospitality and retail. Or maybe they’re finance and banking. Once you’ve figured out which verticals to target, you’re ready for step 2.
Step 2: Identify 20 good-fit prospects
It should now be much easier to find specific companies or people who could use your product or service. Just use LinkedIn. Let’s say you’re looking for hotel companies who might benefit from your on-site goat yoga classes (who doesn’t want to do shavasana with a baby goat while they’re on vacation.)
Search “People who work at hotel” and/or “General manager” with the “Hospitality” filter.
Voila -- a list of potential customers.
Bonus points if you look for local or regional companies. People love to do business with other locals, which I recently observed when I was in Birmingham, Alabama. If you’re in Alabama, you want to give your business to other Alabamians. (Roll tide!)
Step 3: Research each prospect
I know, I know, you’d rather just pick up the phone and call. But trust me, spending just a minute upfront will make you wildly more successful. So do it!
You’re already on LinkedIn. Check out each prospect’s profile so you know:
- What their company does
- What they do specifically
- If you’ve helped a similar company in the past
- One “fun fact” about them
One thing I never fail to do: Look up how to pronounce their name. Nothing makes people more annoyed and less likely to listen than hearing their name butchered by some fast-talking rep.
Some people add how they pronounce their name on Facebook. If your prospect hasn’t, try PronounceNames.com.
And if you’re still out of luck? Ask, “I want to be sure I’m saying your name right. How do you pronounce it?”
You may have noticed you’re not really cold calling anymore … You’ve winnowed down your list and done some homework all before picking up the phone. I promise you my friend, this extra work will be worth it.
Now let’s get to the script.
First, say your name and which company you work for. You need to sound confident and energetic. I can’t tell you how many cold calls I listen to that begin with, “This is mlkjdkfj from mnxcmvn.”
The prospect goes, “What? Who??” Right from the start, the call is going poorly.
You don’t need to yell your greeting, but you do need to articulate.
After you say, “This is [name] from [company],” pause.
This is hard for cold callers. They want to jump straight into their pitch. But I want you to take a deep breath and say nothing for eight whole seconds.
While you’re pausing, your prospect is searching their brain for who you could be. It sounds like you know them -- are you a client? A former coworker? A current one?
The call is already deviating from the standard cold call. Then you hit them with a question to establish some rapport. Your goal: Get ‘em talking and prove you’re familiar with them and their company.
Here are some sample questions:
- So, [prospect name], I see you went to [university]. How did you like it?
- Wow, you’ve been at [company] for [X years]. How did you get started there?
- Congrats on your recent promotion. How is the new role?
A good question is topical and makes someone smile. If they seem receptive to chatting, ask them a follow-up question.
For instance, if they say, “I loved going to Cal Poly; the English department was fantastic,” you can respond, “That’s great, should I recommend it to my niece who wants to be a writer?”
Eventually, they’ll say, “Alright, why are you calling?”
I cackle. Seriously.
They’ll laugh, because you’re clearly having fun.
Answer, “Sometimes I forget.” Laugh again.
Trust me, this always lightens the mood. (Unless your prospect is in a major hurry, in which case, you should get the point.)
Use a positioning statement. This shows your prospect you work with similar companies and understand their challenges. You’re not talking about yourself, which is what most cold callers do.
Here’s a hypothetical positioning statement: “I work with sales managers in hospitality with five to eight reps on their team. My customers are typically looking to increase rep productivity. Does that sound like you?”
Since you’ve pre-qualified them, they’ll always say “yes.”
Simply say, “Tell me more about that.”
It’s all about them, baby! Now they’ll explain their pain points and objectives -- valuable information to start building your pitch.
Cold Calling Script Variation
As a sales leader at HubSpot, I love assisting newer reps. I’ve been in their shoes and want to help them close big deals. It’s good for the company, and it’s good for their careers. To do that, I use a slightly altered process and script.
We have a team culture of “just ask,” encouraging junior reps to reach out to sales leaders for help getting meetings with CEOs or prospects at Fortune 500 companies. Once a rep asks for my help, I ask for something in return: The website URL, the LinkedIn profile of the person and company I’m speaking with, and their HubSpot CRM record.
This allows me to quickly familiarize myself with the person and company I’m about to call. Once the phone rings and the prospect answers, I use the greeting from above, “This is [name] from [company],” pause.
If you’re calling a C-level executive or even a mid-level employee at a large organization, it’s likely you had to get past an assistant or front desk, which is where your senior title helped. Gatekeepers are more likely to pass along “Dan Tyre, director of sales at HubSpot” than “[Name], sales rep at HubSpot.”
They’ll know who you are, but they’ll still be curious why you called. Keep them in suspense a bit longer. As in the script above, I’ll spend a few minutes asking about them. Here are a few more questions I turn to:
- “Are you a cat or a dog person?”
- “What’s your favorite breakfast?”
- “What’s the hottest restaurant in [Prospect’s city]?”
When the conversation turns to why I called, I say, “I called to help.” This line usually stops the prospect in their tracks. Then, I follow up with, “My sales rep asked me to start a conversation with you.” This allows me to easily hand the conversation off to the rep, if the conversation goes well.
From there, I use a positioning statement like the one above: “I work with sales managers in hospitality with five to eight reps on their team. My customers are typically looking to increase rep productivity. Does that sound like you?”
The pre-qualified prospect will answer “Yes,” and that’s when my active listening turns on and I say, “Tell me more about that.” Once they’ve finished explaining their pain points, I repeat what I’ve heard back to them: “So, what I’m hearing is …” and offer to set up a discovery call.
Usually, the prospect agrees and throws out a time weeks or months in the future. I often reply with, “How about tomorrow?” Most of the time, prospects respond with, “Sure, what time?” I’ll check the junior rep’s calendar and get something scheduled.
Everyone wants to have a better day. By making your prospects smile or laugh, giving them a chance to talk about their problems, and showing them you might have a solution, you’ll improve their days. That means stronger relationships and ultimately, more sales.