A cold call is usually not a salesperson’s favorite call to make. And it’s usually not a prospect’s favorite call to receive. But even though cold calling is not a beloved sales strategy, the fact is, it’s been proven that it works. That’s why even with the social selling trend going strong, salespeople still utilize cold calling.

The trick to cold calling is being prepared. That means that you have to know what you are going to say, before you have to say it. Anticipating prospects’ responses and being prepared to encourage interest and overcome obstacles is what makes cold calling work. One way to do that is with cold calling scripts.

That said, no one wants to have a sales pitch read to them over the phone. Geoffrey James, contributing editor at Inc.com, gives this advice, “Do not read the script, under any circumstances. Instead, practice the script as written, and then practice it from memory–so that the words emerge naturally, as if you just thought of them, the moment you began speaking.”

We’ve put together a list of the best cold calling scripts for the most common types of sales calls. Take a look, adapt them to fit your business, and then practice them so you are prepared to start dialing.

Sales Call to the Decision Maker

There are a lot of great books about sales out there and this script is from one of them, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cold Calling, by author and cold calling expert, Keith Rosen. His explanations are below each line.

Hi, John. Jim here from Acme Cost Control.

Identify yourself immediately, or the contact will hang up on you.

Did I catch you at an OK time?

This question demonstrates respect for the person’s time and an understanding that your phone call is not the only thing on his or her plate for the day. You may feel that asking this question sets you up to hear a no, but don’t worry: Whether someone says yes or no or “No, but go ahead,” the next statement makes the response entirely moot.

John, I’m sure you’re busy and I want to respect your time, so I’ll be brief.

This statement still allows you to continue regardless of how the person initially responded to you, rather than scheduling another time to call. This is a good thing, because you’ve finally got a prospect on the phone, so the last thing you want to do is hang up and attempt to catch him or her again.

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.

The purpose of these sentences is to create a compelling reason for the person on the other end to continue the conversation. Note that you’ve said nothing about how the benefit was achieved. At this point, the customer doesn’t care about your specific product; the customer only wants to know what to expect if the conversation continues.

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.

This eliminates a potentially adversarial posture, lowers the person’s resistance, and brings down his or her guard. It lets customers know you’re not trying to force down their throat something they may not need or may not be ready for.

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.

This statement opens up a dialogue so you can get permission from the prospect to have a preliminary conversation.

Would you be comfortable spending just a few minutes with me on the phone now, if I stick to this timetable?

This establishes a timeline, letting the prospect know that you’re taking accountability for the length of the call, that you respect the person’s time and won’t keep him or her on the phone.

Once you have gotten permission to continue, you now have a prospective customer engaged in a conversation with you–and you can then determine whether there’s a good fit.

Appointment Setting Call

This script that is used by business developers at RAIN Group, makes setting appointments quick and easy.

My name is John Smith and I am with Smith, Smith & Smith, we’re a <insert type of firm>.

We’ve been scheduling brief phone calls to introduce ourselves and share best practice information. We’d like to tell you how other <industry> companies are…

  • Protecting their global shipping operations and ensuring continuous cash flow
  • Achieving the best possible efficiencies by connecting all <blank> disciplines
  • Using <our client’s special expertise> to create competitive differentiation and capture market share

The information will give you a framework for assessing your situation at <company name>. I’m wondering if you’d like to talk with me and one of the partners here at Smith, Smith, & Smith on March 23.

 

Script for Voicemail

When you’re making calls, you are going to have to leave a lot of voicemails. Here’s how to do it the right way, from Bob Bentz, President of ATS Mobile.

Hello, __________. This is Bob Bentz with ATS Mobile.

The reason for my call is I have an idea on how to possibly help you improve the troublesome process of recruiting employees, especially nurses.  I wanted to see if it would make sense for us to have a quick conversation to find out more about it.

I can be reached at ___________.

Again, my name is Bob Bentz with ATS Mobile at ___________.

Thanks, ___________.

Event Invite Cold Call

Are you hosting a sales event? Here is a cold calling script that will help you gather attendees. The script is from the blog of ePly Online Event Registration.

 

Hello, _________, I’m _________ and am calling on behalf of _____________.

I noticed that you attended the (name of past event), but you aren’t currently registered for (name of the new event).

I’m calling to see if I can help you get registered.

 

Just wait to see how they respond and take it from there.  Here are a few likely situations:

If they say – “Sure, I’ve been meaning to sign up” – perfect that’s what you want to hear.  At this point it would be easy to tell them to go to the online form and register themselves, but I would recommend that you pull up the online form on your computer and register the person by asking for their details while you have them.

 

If they say – “I’m not sure if I can make it”

Say – “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that, what part of the event can’t you make?” – once you know when the conflict is, maybe suggest registering for one day, just the gala or other part of the event if that’s an option.

If they can’t make it at all, it doesn’t hurt to ask if there is someone else at their company that would want to attend or if they can suggest anyone else you should call.  You have nothing to lose by asking and you may be surprised at how helpful people are.

 

If they say – “the price is too high, it’s not in the budget” or give another price related objection.

Say – “lots of people are excited about the event because it includes… (list the education, the networking, the food, etc. to show the value they are getting for the price).  The point here isn’t to go on and on, but make sure it is clear what the price includes.

If it is truly a budget issue try suggesting that they just attend a part of the event at a lower cost.  While you have them on the phone also ask how much they think would be a fair price.  This will give you valuable feedback for future events.

 

If they say – “I’m not interested in the event

Say – “oh, what part aren’t you interested in?”  Try to get them talking a little more as “not interested” could be an easy excuse covering up the real objection.

Once you have the details of the objection you can respond appropriately; maybe they just didn’t think they were interested because they didn’t have all of the details.

If there really is no interest, try asking what they would be interested in attending to help you plan future events.

Jami Deloe