Hi, [pause] uhmm ... this is Joe from ABC company… [long pause] I’m calling to … uhmm ... I’m calling because ... Oh! [abruptly hangs up].
Does this sound familiar? Most reps have had at least one embarrassing call like that. With little experience and a lousy written script, it’s easy to find yourself in an awkward situation.
To minimize the number of such failed attempts and gain new clients, your outbound efforts should begin with effective cold calling scripts. Let’s look at some of the challenges with scripts and ways to improve your cold calling process.
Why Cold Calling Scripts Fail
According to LinkedIn, 82% of people express interest in meeting the salespeople who reach out to them. This does not necessarily mean that they will close the deal at the end, but it does mean that the cold call can be successful.
The success of a cold call heavily depends on having a good or a bad script. The latter will not only be inefficient but can also be damaging for your brand. A good script can help you achieve important goals and tackle the issues that your company is struggling with.
Let’s look at why your outbound call scripts might have failed in the past and how to improve them.
Cold calls scripts that don't work
Many salespeople assume that cold callings are dead and don’t work anymore. If you have poorly drafted sales calling scripts or the SDR is not using them correctly, this may hold true. Some of those failed calls can even repel your clients from the product or services you offer.
Here are a few reasons why cold calling scripts fall short:
- Sales reps sound robotic. You can often tell when people are reciting memorized text by the tonality and pauses. Prospects perceive such calls as mass outreach, impersonal, and pushy.
- Scripts are one-way conversations. Potential clients often accuse SDRs of not engaging in conversation but giving speeches instead. If sales reps do not express an interest in the client’s needs and ask questions, this will cause the prospect to hang up.
- Scripts are rigid. When SDRs must strictly follow a script, they can’t use personalization to leverage the natural flow of conversation, allowing no space for creativity.
How to Improve Cold Calling
There are many situations where your cold call might go the wrong way. It’s impossible to predict all of them, but here are some ways to resolve these issues when talking to your prospect:
1. Create well-crafted scripts.
The way that an SDR speaks plays an important role in building quality communication with a client. That’s why every SDR should work on voice and pronunciation before making those calls.
To improve conversational skills, sales managers should work with their teams in these areas: role-playing, listening to self-recordings, and practicing improvisation.
However, a professional manner of conducting a cold call is not enough. You also need a well-written call script to land that appointment. A professional copywriter can help tackle those issues early on.
Here are some tips to consider in your outreach:
- Short sentences. It’s basic advice for any copywriter: A good sentence for an email or blog is never longer than two lines; for a sales call script, twice as short is even better.
- Right word choice. Use shorter words for the same reasons as described above. And don’t need complex words to get your message across or use a genre that’s not familiar to your audience.
- Humor. Using a couple of appropriate jokes can help you break the ice between you and the prospect. They might start to feel more comfortable and relaxed.
- Simple words. Using long sentences or adjectives to describe your product or services will only make your scripts dull, hard to understand, and ultimately cause your prospects to zone out. Read your script out loud and think about what words you can remove without sacrificing the meaning.
- Casual tone. Try a mental exercise: Imagine that the prospect is your friend, and you want them to become your client. What would you tell them? Write it down. This way, your cold calling script will have simpler words, shorter sentences, slang, maybe a joke or two. It’ll sound more natural than a long marketing text.
- Public speakers. If you’re a fan of TED Talks, you can take the script of one or two of your favorite speakers. See how they build sentences and borrow some techniques. Master your skills by using other professionals' scripts as examples.
2. Engage in a two-way conversation.
There’s only one way to turn a dull monologue into a lively dialogue: Include questions and answers into your sales script. This will lead to the primary goal of your conversation—setting an appointment.
Here are some examples:
3. Develop a cold calling strategy.
Having an appropriate cold calling process is a big part of a successful campaign. Sales managers should train SDRs to view the prospects’ answers to questions before going into any script.
Besides, no script can prepare you for all the questions you might face. Sales managers can help their sales teams to predict the possible reactions of prospects and suggest solutions for reaching out to them.
Elements of Cold Calling Scripts
There are several elements of a cold calling script. That’s why it’s critical to take the time to learn about the different parts and how to create one before making that call.
The typical structure of the cold calling script should include:
- Introduction. First, you must state your name and the name of your company. Then ask your prospect if it’s a good time to chat.
- Building a rapport. This part of the sales script includes talking about things related to the prospect, such as a recent event or the company’s progress. You can either ask a question or praise an achievement. You can also use this opportunity to ask a question that prepares the prospect for the next part of the conversation.
- Offer. Once you have established rapport, you can move directly to the offer. Based on the previous question and the prospect’s goal, you must interest them in a solution. The client should understand the benefits they can receive from you.
- Following steps. Whether it’s an appointment setting or a promise to send an email or make another call, this is the call-to-action part. You'll need to thank the prospect for their time and agree upon the next steps.
Every part of the script should contain several possible prospects’ reactions and ways to respond to them. It will make you prepared for every scenario and give you the confidence every SDR needs. Including a couple of ways to handle objections in your cold calling scripts may also come in handy.
Good vs. Bad Cold Calling Scripts
SDRs can carefully learn from past cold calling mistakes and implement new techniques to avoid them in the future. A good way to improve your skills is by looking at old sales scripts and figuring out what went wrong and how to fix them. Let’s look at this example of a bad cold calling script and analyze the typical mistakes
Example of a Bad Script:
Here are a few reasons this script doesn’t work:
- The sales rep is very obtrusive during the conversation. Despite being rejected twice, the SDR kept on urging the prospect, thus repelling the client.
- The rapport was not established. Anyone who gets a call from an unknown sales rep and hears their pitch right away will most likely roll their eyes and hang up soon. The SDR could mention recent company news, for example, so the prospect knows that it’s not just another random sales call.
- The sales rep makes the call all about them and the company’s success. The conversation should be focused on the client and their needs. The SDR did not take the time to ask about the challenges or issues they faced.
Another way to learn is by having a polished script by your side that you can personalize depending on your prospects needs:
Example of a Good Script:
Here are some reasons why this script is more effective:
- People in business are often busy, so this SDR respectfully asks if it’s a good time to have a talk.
- Before making a call, a sales rep has spent time learning the client profile. By now, the rep knows the issue the client has and ways to fix it. This helps to create a connection and trust between both.
- The SDR has gotten the prospect's attention by offering ways to fix those issues. Now both are interested in setting up an appointment to have a more profound conversation.
- The sales rep makes the conversation all about the client. He is not being pushy but asks if it's something they are interested in and what time fits the client's schedule better.
Tips for Delivering Cold Calling Scripts
Cold calling scripts require a level of experience and professionalism. Reading a script word-for-word will make you sound dull and improper. Not having a script at all can make you lose track of the conversation. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Having the script in front of you will give you the confidence you need and decrease your stress level. Use these tips for reading your scripts:
1. Be prepared.
As the saying goes, the best improvisation is prepared improvisation. At any given moment in your business conversation, you should be the one that leads, not your prospect. To achieve this, you should always know what to say to your prospects and how to answer possible questions. That’s what a good sales script gives you—a skeleton for your conversation.
2. Use role-play.
Even if you don’t have any cold calls planned ahead, it's always a good time to prepare for them. The structure of a script provides many role-playing options for sales teams. Sales reps can practice: message delivery, asking questions, leaving a voicemail, setting up the meeting, listening to objections, and finding ways to handle them.
Cold Calling Scripts and the Buyer Persona
If you want to create a good impression on your prospect during the cold call, you must find a connection. Instead of feeling interrogated, the prospect should feel like they’re talking to an old friend. Having the same interests or sharing a joke will create the back-and-forth dialogue and extend the duration of a call.
But to know exactly what your client is like and grab their attention fully, you need to proceed with more research and know the buyer persona. At CIENCE, the buyer persona model consists of three components, including personality, working environment, and buying behavior:
The buyer persona is a well-researched profile of your target client. It shows what challenges your client is facing, the work environment, and everyday routines. Based on this information, the marketing team can create a personalized strategy that will best target your prospect, including a cold calling script. Once you have a script based on the buyer persona model, the quality of your conversation will become much higher, and so will your success rate.
Cold Calling Scripts That Work
Cold calling scripts are an important part of an outbound lead generation strategy. They help SDRs to develop their skills before the call takes place, feel more confident, and lead the conversation during the call. Using a script during a call makes SDR seem professional and prepared for a discussion.
A good cold calling script allows the prospect to be heard and feel respected. Use these tips to ensure a successful cold call that builds a solid business relationship with your client.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in Dec. 2019 and has been completely updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.