Script for cold calls

Cold-Calling Prospects, Part 2

Prospecting for Customers

As a continuation to Cold-Calling Prospects, Part 1, in Part 2 you’ll learn about creating a script for cold-calling which I’ve used and found to be quite effective when making cold-calls. As a disclaimer, I found this script template from Steli Efti’s “How to create a sales call script“.  Steli has a lot of good content on his blog and YouTube channel.

When I first started making cold-calls, I had no script and no consistent structure to my dialogue. There was a lot of pleasantries and talk about sports, weather, etc. but I wasn’t getting much traction. I needed to make a change and did some research on how to be better at cold-calls. That’s where I came across Steli’s article on creating a cold-call script. Now you may be thinking that creating a script will make you sound too “structured” or “rigid”. But think about actors/actresses; they learn their scripts and sound pretty natural in their delivery.  It just takes some practice using the script.

Only 4 Sentences + 1!

Now I always thought that when making a cold-call I should keep talking. Turns out, less is more – at least during the initial few seconds. With Steli’s approach, you only need 4 sentences at the beginning of your cold-call.  Here’s a modified example based on Steli’s template:

  1. Hello <Prospect Name>, my name is Nikolai Markovich.
  2. I’m calling <type of businesses> in the area such as yours to find out if they’re a good fit for our FREE beta/trial/pilot program.
  3. What we do in one sentence is <what’s your 1-line pitch>
  4. Does this generally sound interesting to you?

And that’s it. Simple! After using this approach a few times, I actually modified it to add a 5th sentence. I believe this modification works for me based on dialogue with prospects and because my solution has a clear fix to the prospect’s problem (I’ve pitched some products where that’s not the case; I think Steli’s version works better in those cases).

  1. Hello <Prospect Name>, my name is Nikolai Markovich.
  2. I’m calling from Echo Lake Technologies which has created a <type of product/service>.
  3. What we do in one sentence is <what’s your 1-line pitch>
  4. I’m calling <type of businesses> in the area such as yours to find out if they’re a good fit for our FREE beta/trial/pilot program for this <product/service>.
  5. Does this generally sound interesting to you?

In this version, sentence #2 is new and sentence #4 is the same as sentence #2 from the first version – it’s just moved down to #4. The reason for the change is because I know what my prospect’s problem is and that my solution with fix it.  It’s still cold-calling but with a “warm” understanding of my prospect’s issues.

By adding sentence #2, you’re introducing your prospects earlier with keywords that you know will resonate with them. Sentence #3 remains the same. This is important because you don’t want to wait too long before giving the 1-sentence pitch. This sentence also uses similar but different keyword terms as sentence #2 which will resonate with your prospect. At this point your prospect will have heard the keyword (or phrase) twice. Then sentence #4 is used to tell your prospect who you’re targeting (them), what area you’re located in (their area), what you’re looking for (beta customers) and what you’re offering (a product or service).

The last sentence basically gives your prospect an opportunity to commit to going forward or not. They’ll say “yes”, “maybe” or “no”. Let’s look at each of these.

Prospect says “Yes”

If they say “yes”, then you can then ask them how they achieve whatever goal or how they solve their problem today. This helps you better qualify the prospect and learn more about them. Having a prospect talk about their challenges is important because it allows you to learn more about them so you can help them.

Prospect says “Maybe”

If they say “maybe”, then you have the chance to ask them about their challenges. Note that sometimes “maybe” means they’re interested but the timing isn’t right. They may be in the middle of a project and don’t have time or they don’t have the funds within the current budget cycle. If they say that, you can re-iterate that your beta/pilot program is for free and that you’d love to have them participate and get their input.

Prospect says “No”

If they say “no”, then you can ask them about how they solve their problem today. By keeping your prospect talking about their problem, you might find an opportunity on how your offering can help them. Or you might uncover a new problem which may be opportunity to add to your product’s roadmap.

Wrap-up

Regardless on how the conversation is going (“yes”, “maybe” or “no”), at some point you need to wrap-up the call. It’s important to identify next steps with your prospect. For “yes”, you must get a day and time for the follow-up demo or whatever the next step is.  For instance, you both agree to meet at 10AM on Tuesday at the prospect’s office for a 30-minute demo. Don’t be ambiguous on when and where.

If the answer is “maybe” or “no”, you still need to follow-up, initially with a “thank-you” email and then touch base with the prospect in another month or whenever makes sense for your market. Sending them a follow-up “thank you” email with some info is important. You can also tell them you’ll touch base in another month – but put it in your calendar or CRM tool to make sure you follow-up.

Remember, you’ll need to get thru a lot of “no’s” before you get to a “yes”. So the faster you get thru the no’s, the quicker you’ll get to a yes! And having a script can help reduce any anxiety and get you more comfortable making those calls. Cold-calls and selling is not easy but it is a skill you can learn. And it’s critical to your company’s success.

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