Can you imagine a good movie without a solid script?
You could have Christopher Nolan behind the camera with Tom Hardy and Tilda Swinton killing it in front of it. But, if they don't have a strong script to serve as the diving board, they are more likely to crash than fly.
Guess what, it’s not too different for a sales rep.
A good script does more than provide words in movies and B2B sales conversations. It clarifies the goal plus the tone, words, and orientation one needs to reach that goal. Without a strong cold calling script, your B2B cold outreach efforts will not reach their potential.
Why are cold calling scripts essential for salespeople?
Although the abysmally low success rate of cold calls should be convincing enough to write a sales script, here are two additional reasons why salespeople should not go blind in a sales call:
It cultivates confidence in sales reps
Talking to strangers is nerve-wracking enough in a relaxed, informal setting. Conversing with them in order to sell something so you can meet your sales targets is another level of daunting. The tension compounds into fumbling over the phone call and messing up any chance of making a sale. In fact, 48% of B2B salespeople are afraid of making cold calls.
The best solution? Before attempting to solve your prospect's pain points, take a moment to resolve your own.
With a cold calling script in hand, you're equipped to lead the conversation. You know exactly what you want and have spent time carving a path to get there. The outreach phone call feels less like throwing something at the wall to see what sticks and more like aiming for the bull's eye with the right words, tone, and segues that you've spent time getting right. In addition to increasing your confidence, this also...
Kicks your success rate up a notch
Ideally, the cold calling script is not something you prepare once and then never change again. As you repeatedly use it for B2B sales calls, you need to keep updating it according to buyer personas, value propositions, where a prospect is on the sales funnel, etc.
As you make these changes, observe the success rate of your cold calls. Does it go up, down, or remain the same? Use CRM or call recording software to analyze the performance of your cold calls.
The confidence that a sales script gives combined with the tweaks you make to it after analyzing the performance of your cold calls has the power to increase your success rate. The constant cycle of test-analysis-change can help you arrive at the perfect sales pitch faster than you could've anticipated.
How to best structure a cold calling script?
You can't get down each and every line that your sales call script will contain, but you can have a consistent template to rely on and steer the conversation. Here's a glimpse of how some of the best cold calling scripts are structured:
Intro and elevator pitch
Conversations that begin with 'how are you?' are 3.4x more likely to book meetings. 'How have you been?' have a 10.01% success rate in comparison to the 1.5% baseline. Following either of these questions with 'the reason for my call is...' increases your success rate by 2.1x. It also gives you the opportunity to give a small introductory pitch about your company that doesn't feel forced. The numbers clearly indicate that keeping the intro friendly and upfront is best.
The purpose of engagement questions is to get the prospect to relax, open up, and be willing to spend time conversing with you. You can do this by either asking open-ended questions about their business or something that relates to their hobbies and values. The spotlight is firmly on the prospect with these questions and not 'I, me, myself, and the company.'
Once you've asked open-ended questions and listened to the prospect's concerns, you want to spend time explaining how your product/ service/ approach is the answer to their concerns. Give evidence, examples, and case studies to demonstrate the quality of your solution. Make sure to mirror them when you address objections by paraphrasing them or quoting them directly. It will show that you're paying attention to their hesitations and not bulldozing ahead with your agenda.
Deep dive of the pitch
Addressing the prospect's objections gives you a perfect opening for pitching your solution fully. Don't be arrogant, but don't hold back either. As a cold caller, your ultimate aim is to showcase the value of your company's solution in order to make the sale. Not to mention, 62% of buyers who are actively looking for a solution are open to hearing from sellers. So, put on your confident salesperson hat and share the merits of your solution unhesitatingly.
Closing with a call to action
This is essential. Be clear about establishing next steps if the phone call has been successful. Will you follow-up with an email for a meeting? Will you send your company deck or a brochure with the full list of your services? Determine the next step so that there is no lull and the momentum that has been built is not lost. Remember- 82% of buyers are willing to meet the salespeople who cold call them. Don’t let the opportunity go.
Tips for writing cold calling scripts that lead to meetings and conversions
Although there is no fixed formula for writing a cold calling script that works every time, there are a few enduring principles. Following them each time you make a cold call will ensure that your outbound outreach efforts have the highest possible success rate.
Do your homework
You might be tempted to make the phone call directly and get your daily quota of calls done. But, now that you're going to be working with a cold calling script, it's best to slow down and spend time researching your possible new customers.
Use LinkedIn and other social media platforms to get to know your prospect and their company. Dig up the following specifics:
- What the company does
- The role your prospect plays in the company
- The company's current focus and areas of challenges
- Any fun, extraneous facts you can find
Combined, this information will help to make a good first impression on your prospect by indicating you've put in the time and effort to get to know them and their company. 82% of B2B decision-makers can pick up on a cold caller’s unpreparedness. Make sure to stand out by doing your research.
Adjust based on your buyer persona
Sometimes, different companies have different job titles, roles, and responsibilities for some of the most common positions. Research helps you to learn this. The next step is to use that research and craft a personalized cold calling script for the prospect.
Before you begin worrying about the number of sales call scripts you will have to create or edit- stop. It won't be that many. Most of the prospects you try to contact will share goals, concerns, and responsibilities. Keep what’s similar and change what needs to be changed.
Open with a hook that shows familiarity
Think of the opening like a headline or email subject line. It has to capture interest and attention, else the prospect will end the phone call before you can even complete your first sentence.
The best way to do this is to sound like a friendly, professional human and not a robotic, monotonous sales rep. To add the element of familiarity, use the research conducted in step one. What common points did you discover between the prospect and yourself? How can you weave them in? Do you share some hobbies and values? Use them in the conversation.
Additionally, you can also follow and engage with the prospect and/ or their company on social media before dialing their phone number. This will increase the likelihood of them knowing you beforehand and being responsive to your first-time call.
Use open-ended questions
Simple yes-no questions will kill the conversation faster than making a direct sales pitch. Avoid them.
Instead, ask open-ended questions that give the prospect room to speak. The best cold calling scripts are full of them. They help you to gather meaningful information, earn credibility, and build trust.
Some examples of open-ended questions include: 'What are your priorities in this area right now?' 'How have your processes and strategies affected the ROI of the company?' 'Is there anything else about this situation that frustrates or worries you?' 'Can you tell me more about that?' 'How did you feel about that?'
The reason why open-ended questions work is that they make the prospect feel heard. When you listen, you're not just being a salesperson, out to make the sale no matter what. You demonstrate that you actually care about the problem they are experiencing, and the solution you provide would be the best for them.
Give the prospect room to speak
This follows directly from the suggestion about asking open-ended questions. Once you've asked them and the prospect is answering, listen. Let them speak.
You might think the aim of a B2B cold sales call is to sell. In reality, it's to build rapport. Until and unless someone is already a fan of your product/ service, no one will jump at the chance to close big business deals with you. So, the best thing to do is to use your cold sales call to build rapport.
A big part of this is letting the prospect speak. Ideally, they should be talking for three-fourths of the conversation. This indicates that some level of trust has been established and they see you as a possible ally in problem-solving rather than a sleazy, opportunistic salesperson.
Ensure the sales script is flexible
Imagine you'd prepared your cold calling script to head in the direction of poor lead generation and its effect on the ROI of the business. Midway, though, the prospect changes gears and begins talking about social media and how their LinkedIn presence is faring. It isn't a big digression, but to keep winning the prospect's attention and favor, you need to show you can go where the client goes. You need to demonstrate empathy and knowledge.
Research helps you here. When you know what your prospect is responsible for, you can draw up a list of areas that would concern them. You can determine the direction you'll take the sales call in should one of these topics arise. You might have a B2B sales call script, but the prospect doesn't. Keep your own script flexible so that spontaneity doesn't derail the phone call. Tough times like the recent pandemic call for extra sensitivity and thoughtfulness. Ensure your outreach efforts reflect both.
Use short sentences and simple phrases
The goal of the cold calling script is not to show off your eloquence in the English language. Your prospect is likely running on a tight schedule. Don't waste precious time using convoluted or fancy sentences. Make it easy for them to understand you by using short sentences and simple phrases.
Although they are likely to be familiar with the typical industry jargon, keep it to a minimum. You want to show that you're knowledgeable about your prospect's industry, but you still want to keep the conversation simple in terms of language so they don't have to strain themselves to understand you.
Script your way to success
This is the age of inbound. To ensure the highest levels of success, though, outbound efforts need to be a part of the sales strategy, too. Lead generation cannot happen solely through referrals and the social proof that inbound requires. You've got to grease a few elbows and attempt to reach for what isn't currently a part of your sphere. That's how a business grows and scales.
A cold calling script can be the tool in your arsenal that enables growth and scale.
So are you ready to script your success story?