Cold calling is one of the most difficult tasks facing any salesperson. With a few tips and examples cold calling scripts, you can learn to excel at cold calling.
If we had to boil down to just five tidbits of advice on cold calling, they would be:
- Don’t be pushy
Be professional, and be a consultant. Listen to your prospect and be interested in solving problems, not selling products.
- Don’t be cheesy
Don’t try to rattle off a canned, out-of-date presentation. Be real and authentic. Engage the prospect in a conversation and ask for input.
- Don’t intrude
ask for a few minutes of your prospect’s time, and introduce yourself thoroughly.
- Be prepared
Practice your script on real people, and do real research. Visit your prospect’s website and social media pages so you know what they’re all about.
- Offer something
When it comes to the call to action (CTA), don’t ask for a sale. Offer something!
Let’s take a look at five examples of cold calling scripts to examine what works—and what doesn’t. How can these cold calling scripts help you achieve your goals?
5 Examples of Cold Calling Scripts with Do’s and Don’ts
Cold Calling Script 1: Too wordy but full with respect
Hi, John. Jim here from Acme Cost Control.
Did I catch you at an OK time? John, I’m sure you’re busy and I want to respect your time, so I’ll be brief.
The reason for my call is this. We just saved Universal Transport an additional $12 million in shipping costs, so I thought it was important enough to let you know, since every company has an obligation to their customers and shareholders to reduce expenses.
Now, you may be wondering if we can do this for you, too.
Well, depending on what you’re currently doing, I don’t know if you have a need for our services. But with your permission, let’s talk for a few minutes to determine if there is anything we’re doing that you could benefit from.
Would you be comfortable spending just a few minutes with me on the phone now, if I stick to this timetable?
What works, what doesn’t
The “do” message here is that the caller has respect for the prospect’s time and asks permission to go ahead with a brief conversation. The caller introduces himself and his company, which is professional courtesy. (Never be coy about who you are or why you are calling.) The caller also moves right into some tantalizing statistics about saving money.
However, what doesn’t work in such cold calling scripts is that the message is unnecessarily wordy. There’s no reason to say, the reason for my call is this … After all, you’ve just promised to be brief! Also, the caller uses wavering language like you may be wondering if we can and negative language— I don’t know if you have a need …
In any cold call script, avoid using wobbly or negative language. You don’t need to come across as a cheerleader, but definitely be confident and positive. This could have been rephrased as, “We’re confident that we can save you money, too, and we’d like just a few minutes of your time to show you what we can do.”
Cold Calling Script 2: Hesitation but straight to the point
We work with companies like yours that are looking to reduce their overhead and increase performance by moving all or some of their call centre services to a lower cost location.
Many of the companies we work with are really frustrated with the high cost [of] operating their own call centre and are looking for effective outsourcing options. Other clients we talk to are happy with their in-house call centre but are looking for ways to increase their staffing without taking on additional employees. I don’t suppose any of these are concerns of yours?
What works, what doesn’t
Again, avoid the negativity and hesitation of saying “I don’t suppose …” A better way of asking the question would be, “What particular concerns about your call center could we help you with?”
You want to open a dialogue with the customer in your cold calling scripts and engage them. They’ll be far more amenable to talking with you further if they bring up their own problems, rather than having you point out that they might have insufficiencies.
On the positive side, this message gets right to the point, describes what the company has to offer, and states their value proposition succinctly and quickly. Well done!
Cold Calling Script 3: Strong intro but Cheezy
From Engineers Can Sell
Hello, this is [NAME] from [COMPANY],
I’m hoping to talk to the head of the logistics department.
Great! Oh, before you transfer me, could you please give me the name and extension in case we get disconnected. Thank you so much for your help. 1a.
(If you get resistance here) Let me tell you just a bit about our technology and perhaps you could recommend what department I should be talking to. We have a product tracking technology so much more efficient than the RFID technology that you use now, it would save each of your stores over $1.25 million.
I was assuming that this would be the logistics department, but perhaps you could steer me elsewhere?
(Now transferred to the correct person)
Hi Mr. Prospect my name is [NAME] from [COMPANY],
I was hoping to set up a time to talk with you about our new product tracking technology that can be used to dry and wet goods from underwear to crinkled up bags of frozen chicken nuggets. Initial tests show it as 28% more efficient and by our calculations, it should save each of your stores about $1.25 million per year.
(pause as long as needed here until Mr. Prospect talks)
2a. (If you get resistance here) Look, I understand that you are extremely busy. I also understand the awesome responsibility that you have in tracking each and every product in each and every store on the globe and on every truck and in every warehouse. If you give me a ten-minute meeting and we can’t convince each other that there’s a possible match here, I’ll do the honor of throwing myself out the door.
(again, long pause here)
Fantastic, I’m going to be somewhat in your area in two weeks, would you have 10-minutes the morning of the 22nd?
What works, what doesn’t
This script has a very strong intro for the beginning cold caller. It reminds the caller to get contact information up front and helps the caller navigate to a decision maker. It’s also good that the caller introduces himself, and gets right to the point and quotes up two important stats—percentage of efficiency and dollars actually saved. The language sounds natural and not stilted, which is also a positive.
What doesn’t work in such cold calling scripts is that there’s still some decades-old cheesiness here. “If you give me a ten-minute meeting and we can’t convince each other …” is both tired and negative, and frankly, any professional who hears this is likely to just hang up. Not to mention that any top-level executive knows that if he lets a salesman in the door, ten minutes is likely to be overrun unless they physically push them out the door. This message needs to be modernized: “May I have your permission to send you a pdf file with some information about our services and dramatic cost-saving features? I’d also like to schedule a time to talk if you’re available.”
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Cold Calling Script 4: Free Consultant, too extensive
Another example from Keith Rosen at Profit Builders
Hi. (Your name) here from (Company name). Do you have a quick minute?
Great! I’m sure you are a busy and want to respect your time, so I’ll be brief. The reason for my call is this. We specialize in (working with small business owners, salespeople, managers, etc.) so that you/they can:
Well, Mr./Mrs… Smith, depending on what you are currently doing, I don’t know whether you have a need or an interest in our services. But with your permission, I was hoping to ask you a few questions and see if there is anything we are doing that you could benefit from. Would you be comfortable spending just a few minutes with me if I stick to my timetable?
If you could create the ideal solution for (XXX), what about your current product/service would you like to improve or change?
If you could magically eliminate three of your biggest problems, headaches or stresses what would they be? How do these challenges affect you/your business (bottom line)?
For my own understanding, what you are truly saying is…
Is that accurate/correct?
Would it be safe to say that if there was a way for you to:
It would be worth exploring/discussing in more detail?
Then let’s get together for (state timeline. [Ex: twenty minutes] to see if there’s a fit.)
I will answer your questions, share with you several options as well as demonstrate how our product/service will specifically address your challenges/objectives. Mr./Mrs.________, do you have your calendar handy?
What day would be good for you, towards the beginning or the end of the week?
Do mornings or afternoons work better for you?
What works, what doesn’t
This is a little more elaborate than the first example by Keith Rosen, and it demonstrates several clever ways to solicit information and engage the customer in conversation about problems and solutions. It also has a really strong closing. By asking if “it would be worth exploring in more detail” you’re far more likely to get a positive response, and the script segues easily and smoothly into setting up an appointment, without sounding pushy. This is exactly what you want to shoot for—an opportunity to act as a free consultant or information concierge.
What still needs to be cut in such cold calling scripts is the wavering wordiness. “I don’t know whether … but with your permission …” In today’s world, a caller must compete with social media, emails and visual media for attention. You have less than 10 seconds to captivate your caller, so don’t waste it on useless, space-filling chat. Keep your message brief, strong, positive and to the point.
Cold Calling Script 5: An Actual Offer
This is ______ calling you from [company] in [your town].
I am calling on [type of industry] leaders like you who are looking for [benefit you provide].
As a leading authority in the [business category] and as a member of this community, we feel it is our moral obligation to help [target audience] be as successful as possible. That’s why we’ve done some new research and found that there are [common problems] that effect this industry.
We have also discovered that there are [a number of success elements] that all successful companies use.
The purpose of my call today, specifically, is to find out if you would be interested in getting the details of our research sent to you for free. We’re going to be sharing this information with [competitors] and thought you might like to see it as well.
Tell me where you’d like me to send it and I’ll get it out to you right away.
What works, what doesn’t
What’s really strong about this pitch is that its call-to-action is actually an offer. You have just leveraged a 10-second phone conversation into an opportunity to send value-added information to a specific, decision-making target. Bingo!
Be sure to send an impressive portfolio with statistics and examples of efficiencies and savings and make it a permanent part in your cold calling scripts. Don’t drop the ball by sending out a fluffy, noncommittal, uninformative marketing brochure. If you’ve gotten the ear and the approval of a decision maker, you want to move the conversation forward and intrigue your prospect. This is where many companies sometimes suffer a disconnect—the salesperson achieves a connection through cold calling, but then assigns the follow-up to a marketing department that sends out a general purpose brochure. If you want to truly succeed in cold calling, then you need to be involved in every successive communication with your hot prospects.
Remember, keep your cold calling scripts strong, positive and brief. Get out your ginsu knives and trim off any unnecessary language. Be real, authentic, and engage your prospects in identifying their own problems. Once they are willing to discuss their own problems, they’re far more likely to be open to discussing new solutions. And that’s your foot in the door.
Cold calling isn’t at all difficult if you think of it as offering your prospect the opportunity to solve a problem. Keep that helpful, concierge mindset in front of you, and you’ll excel at creating and executing cold calling scripts.