“Hi, can I speak to the decision-maker of the house? I’m calling in a desperate attempt to take your money. This will only take five hours of your time.”
Click. The person receiving your call hung up. It’s not polite, but at least it’s quick. They might not feel great about it, but they don’t have that much time or money to spare. You didn’t exactly make them want to stay on the line.
Cold-calling has an average success rate of just 2% (source). Why? Mostly, it’s because cold callers don’t use the right script. Call scripts are important. When a cold call is done well, it can be a great way to engage customers and make sales. In 2019, 69% of buyers reported accepting one or more cold calls, and 82% of buyers said they accepted meetings with salespeople after a series of contacts beginning with a cold-call (source).
Here’s a comprehensive guide on cold-calling, including tips and techniques, examples, and free cold call scripts and templates.
What is Cold Calling?
Cold-calling is a technique in which a salesperson contacts individuals who have not previously expressed interest in the company, products, or services you provide. It has a particular purpose: to have human-to-human interaction with your prospects.
And what’s a prospect? This is a potential customer who has not yet expressed interest in your products or services. Essentially, you’re hoping for a prospect to become a customer thanks to your phone call.
A basic cold-calling script goes something like this (source):
“Hello [prospect’s name], my name is [your name]. I work for [your company name] and we [what your company does]. I saw that your company [prospect’s company name] has been [describe something that relates their company to your product or service, or why they would be interested].
Cold-calling gets its name because you don’t know the person at the end of the line. You have never interacted before. A warm call is when you contact someone who has already made a purchase, or is in the process of becoming a customer.
Image from leadfuze.com.
Yes, cold-calling is harder. People are more likely to respond positively to a warm call. Research shows that warm calling could raise a success rate from 2% to over 30% (source). So, if warm calling is more effective, why do companies still use cold sales calls
Benefits of UK Cold Calling
Cold calling isn’t dead. Companies still use cold calling because there remain plenty of benefits. In fact, it’s becoming more of an interesting and skilled technique. With more research into what works and what doesn’t, people are becoming more aware of how to attract attention and make sales via cold calling. Here are some of the benefits.
1. Reaching new customers.
Cold calling is beneficial because it helps to reach new customers. Sure, you know that warm calling has a higher success rate. But warm calling involves contacting people who already know about your brand and products. What about those who don’t?
You can’t warm-call everyone, because not everyone knows you exist. Cold calling puts the company on the radar and reaches more people. With cold calling, you can target people who fit into your typical customer profile and draw them to your services. It’s great for prospects who aren’t on social media like LinkedIn, for example, but who pick up the phone.
2. Making a human connection.
When cold calling is done well, it helps you to make a human connection with a prospect. Reaching out by email, for example, is much less successful because the person can easily choose not to respond.
However, if you catch them on the phone at the right time, they might be willing to share useful information. This works especially well if you create a good rapport and are open and honest. People are more willing to share information and stay on the phone longer if you’re warm, approachable, and clearly care about providing a great customer experience.
Source from emmaseppala.com.
3. Mastering a sales pitch.
Cold calling can also be great practice for pitching sales. Most cold callers aren’t great straight away. It takes time and practice.
Newbie sales reps can work out how sales work and get a better understanding of the process. You can learn prospects’ pain points and practice a sales pitch over and over until you work out what works best. You’re getting real-time feedback from prospects. That’s valuable information not to be wasted.
What Makes a Good Cold Calling Script?
Source from ringcentral.co.uk.
Cold calling scripts are hugely important in the art of cold calling. A call centre sales script simply means that interactions between agents and customers are planned. The questions that the agent will ask are predetermined.
There are plenty of benefits of using a cold calling script. A good sales script will:
- Aid consistency.
- Reduce training time and complexity.
- Boost efficiency and speed of call handling.
- Make call evaluation simpler.
- Ensure centre-wide compliance.
But what makes a good cold calling script? The key is being upfront, asking questions, sounding passionate, and not coming across like a robot.
Take Jessica Magoch, CEO of JPM Partners. Instead of making assumptions about which profile her prospects fit into, she uses a “choose your own adventure” approach:
There are two ways companies work with us. We can either help them find salespeople for a percentage of the base salary or help them train new salespeople with our online, on-demand, virtual sales training programs that teach them how to take prospects from curious to the client. Which one would you want to hear most about?
(They choose one or the other.)
Awesome. Can I ask you a few questions first?
(I ask them qualifying questions, so I know what to present.)
I’ll tell you a bit more, and then if it makes sense, we’ll set up an appointment before we get off our call today to go over it in more detail. Sound good?
From there, I tell them more about the program, just enough for them to agree to set up an appointment, and then go into my appointment setting script.
This works well because the prospect has a choice, and it sounds exciting. Think of following a cold calling script like playing a video game. Do you want to turn left into the forest or right along the river?
Image from unsplash.com.
10 Cold Calling Scripts
It isn’t one size fits all with cold calling scripts. There are several scripts to choose from, varying from ones that ask more questions, to others that have a more personal, emotive approach. Here are some of the best cold calling scripts in the business.
1. Opening the call.
Many experts would argue that opening the cold call is the most important part. This decides whether the prospect will engage or end the call quickly. David Fletcher, CEO, and founder of Maven Sales Group ties his calls to a trigger event. It’s effective because it shows that the caller has done their research and linked the call to something relevant. See the script:
“I’m calling because I understand you just announced a new product line and, as you already know, a new product launch requires a strategic outbound effort to connect to the market and get feedback faster.”
2. Providing context.
Image from keithrosen.com.
Keith Rosen is one of the leading experts in cold calling. He stresses the importance of asking questions and raising curiosity (important for customer retention, too). Rosen provides lots of context in his speech. This means that the prospect isn’t confused about who he is, where he got their phone number, or why he’s calling. Here’s one of his scripts:
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?
3. Boosting sales.
Image from process.st.
James K Kim is a former archery technician turned freelance digital marketer. He believes that making a sale is all about preparation. He created a script by analysing hundreds of his previous cold calls and finding what his prospects responded to the best (and worst).
He focuses on learning about the prospect’s needs, on defining if they’re a fit. This quick script establishes what your company can do for the prospect and gets a callback or future meeting scheduled:
Hi, [PROSPECT’S NAME] this is [YOUR NAME] with [YOUR COMPANY]. How’s your [TODAY’S DAY] going?
Listen, [PROSPECT’S NAME], I know you probably get a ton of calls, so I’ll make this quick.
In a nutshell, we help companies to [STATE THE PROBLEM OR HOT BUTTON ISSUE YOU SOLVE, e.g. reduce costs, raise revenues, save time, make it easier, etc.]. We do this by [HOW YOU SOLVE THE PROBLEM ], making it [BENEFITS FOR CUSTOMER].
[PROSPECT’S NAME], would you be open to the idea of just seeing how this works?
Great, quick question [PROSPECT’S NAME]: who else is involved in the decision making process for something like this?
And what do they usually do in this kind of situation? Does it make sense to you to have them see this as well?
How will you decide if we’re a good fit?
Great, [PROSPECT’S NAME]. It sounds like it could be a good fit. How does your calendar look for [DAY] at [TIME] your time?
4. Sounding natural.
Image from unsplash.com.
No one wants to speak to someone who sounds like a robot. Especially if it’s the first call, you’ve ever received from them. Jaime Masters established this from lots of research. Adding personality helps to convince people that you’re not following a script. Words like “honestly” and “a lot” help to make the conversation feel more real:
“Mr Prospect, have I caught you at an ok time?” If they say yes:
“Great, thank you. I would like to take 2 minutes to tell you why I called. If at the end of 2 minutes you have any questions, I’d love to answer them. If not, you can just let me go. Okay?”
“Ok, great. The reason I called is that I read through your website and I know you are recruiting sales staff. It can be a challenge to, number one FIND the right people and two to KEEP them on board once you have them. Because of our experience (using our proprietary software) and the skill of the people we hire to do all preliminary screening, we have a slightly better than 90% success rate – helping our clients hire sales staff who become top tier producers within the first year. And as you can well guess successful salespeople tend to stay put for a long while.”
“Do you currently have a system in place that gains you the salesforce you need to meet your company’s demand?”
“Yes, we do.”
“That is great; the only way we’ll ever be able to help you is if we can assist you in doing that better.”
“No, we do not.”
“Honestly, that’s not unusual; we hear that an awful lot. It seems like we might have a lot to talk about. How would you like to set up a call for next week to see if it makes sense for us to work together?” (pause)
“Great, I have most afternoons available to chat. What day is good for you?”
5. Telling a story.
Image from unsplash.com.
How do you engage a prospect? Using exciting and engaging language that tells a story works wonders. Here’s an example of a script that feels like a short elevator pitch:
Hi [NAME], this is James from Exploration Homes. I’ve made it my mission to help 100 people move into their dream home by [DATE]. I truly believe I can help you find your ideal home as quickly as possible. Is this something you’d be open to exploring?
6. Being specific.
When you make a cold call, you have a motive and purpose. Eric Quanstrom, CMO for Science, has a script that focuses on being upfront about what you want from a call.
My name is Eric from KiteDesk, and the reason I’m calling is that I noticed you were hiring new SDRs from [NAME OF JOB SITE]. You’re most likely hiring to solve the problem of needing more meetings, and I wanted to let you know we offer a prospecting platform designed to get your current team more qualified meetings.
It would be worth a 10-minute chat to see if we’re a fit before you take your next interview. We can even show you how you can see email and contact info displayed, instantly.
7. Asking questions.
Image from unsplash.com.
We mentioned Keith Rosen earlier. He is so well known in the business that he has several effective scripts. This script focuses on asking initial and follow-up questions which get quick answers:
Hi________ (state their name)?
(Your name)___________ here from _____________(Company name). Do you have a quick minute?
Great! ________, I’m sure you are a busy person 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: state your compelling reason – (the result of the benefit you offer).
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?
8. Asking for something else.
Sometimes, people just don’t want to be sold something. That’s a common objection from prospects, makes a cold caller’s job difficult, and causes many leads to hang up.
However, Mallory Derrick, CEO of Derrick Designs, uses a different approach called “redirecting”. Here, she tells the prospect that she isn’t trying to sell anything, and asks about something else entirely. By asking something else initially, she creates a less pressured environment for the prospect. Here’s the script:
“Hi, My name is Mallory Derrick. I wanted to introduce myself, and I know you’re very busy. I’m not trying to sell you anything. I was hoping that you might be able to help me … [insert your goal for the call].”
9. Building rapport.
Brandon Redlinger, head of growth at PersistIQ, provides a framework for building a rapport. That doesn’t mean being chatty. The script is simple and to the point. The cold call aims to set up a future meeting, where a better relationship can begin:
- Get their attention by using their name. Start by saying “Hi, [NAME],” in a warm and welcoming tone, then proceed directly to Step 2. Notice I didn’t say, “Hi, [NAME], how are you today?” because it gives your prospect a chance to jump in and disrupt your flow. Cold calls are all about taking control in the beginning.
- Identify yourself. “My name is Brandon with PersistIQ.” This is pretty straightforward; you need to tell them who you are.
- Tell them why you’re calling. “The reason I’m calling is to get some time on your calendar.” Diving right in demonstrates that you’re a professional. Save the small talk for your follow-up calls after you’ve already built the relationship.
- Build a bridge. This statement connects the reason you’re calling with why they should care. “I just noticed on your site that you’re hiring 10 new sales reps this quarter. Several companies in the [INDUSTRY] are already using PersistIQ to help their current sales development team get more conversations started and meetings booked. They are also able to cut new rep ramp time in half.”
- Ask for what you want and shut up. “I thought the best place to start is to schedule a sales meeting to learn about your outbound sales challenges and goals. Do you have time Wednesday or Thursday around 10 AM?” Ultimately, our goal is to set meetings with prospects because we’re calling on a more targeted list. However, if you’re calling on a less qualified list, then your ask maybe for a piece of information that qualifies the lead.
Image from callsource.com.
10. Championing your passions.
You know your script shouldn’t feel robotic. So, why not champion something to show your passions and interests, such as your hometown? Here’s an example:
Hi [NAME], this is Lola from Happy Homes. I’ve been living in the [LOCATION] area for over 20 years and love my town. As a new agent with a specialization in the local market, if I could find suitable buyers for your home in the next 30 days, would you be open to meeting with me?
The cold caller opens their call with a clear intention of celebrating something with the prospect. We like it when people are passionate, so this will keep the prospect on the line, and willing to engage.
5 Cold Calling Templates
Sometimes, a template is easier to follow than a complete script. Check out the following sales and discovery call templates.
1. Basic template.
You: Hi, is this (prospect’s name)?
You: (Your name) here from (Company name). Do you have a quick minute?
[Talk about your company, what you specialize in and ask open-ended questions]
Next, summarize and confirm a meeting time.
2. Passing someone else to speak to the prospect.
Gatekeeper: XYZ company, how can I help you?
You: Hi, may I speak with (first name), please?
Gatekeeper: And what is your name, please?
You: Give a name.
Gatekeeper: And may I tell him the company you are calling from?
You: Tell them about the company. I’m happy to hold it.
3. Leaving a voicemail.
Hi [NAME], I left a voice message last week regarding X and thought I’d see if now was a good time to reach out.
To remind you, we [STATE YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION]. I’d love to show you how you can generate [RESULT].
Would you like to schedule a call to learn more?
Source from agilecrm.com.
4. Using a referral.
I’m calling because we are having a private [event] at [location] where [what happens].
As we’ve never met, I’d look forward to doing so by having you come to the event as my guest. Can I put you down as a yes for the event?
5. Sending a voice note.
Intro: Hi [their name]. It’s [your name] from [company name] here.
Niceties: [If possible, find common ground, i.e. someone you know in common].
Get to it: Looks like [what their team does]. We are all about that too. We’re backed by great customers like [customer names] who typically see [talk about growth].
Connect: I’d love to connect with your specific needs. I also have a suggestion for how to get your team working faster in less than 5 minutes (with or without us).
Contact: Call me back at [your number] or feel free to reply to the email that I will send as a follow-up. Thanks!
Image from unsplash.com.
Quick Cold Calling Tips & Techniques
So, now that you have your scripts and templates, you’re ready to start cold calling. Here are a few quick tips and techniques to help:
- Listen: cold callers have a bad reputation because many people don’t listen to the person at the end of the phone. It can be easy to forget the other person when you’re reading through a script. But remember your goal is to engage with your prospect. So, make sure you listen to their answers and take their feedback on board.
- Avoid distractions: repeating the same script over and over can become tedious, and it’s easy to get distracted by the environment around you. Both working remotely and in an office can have its distractions. Stay focused by looking at something during the call, and try to screen out the environment around you.
- Smile: smiling is the quickest and easiest technique in the book. But it works. If you smile when you talk, you automatically sound more approachable. So, work those mouth muscles while you’re talking. You just might keep someone on the phone.
Image from unsplash.com.
Yes, cold calling isn’t easy. At times, it can be deflating and frustrating. However, with a good understanding of scripts and templates, it will be a whole lot easier.
Some days will be better than others, but knowing when to use the script, when to stop talking and when to ad-lib, you’ll be making sales in no time. Good luck.
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Originally published Nov 03, 2020, updated Apr 10, 2023