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Cold Calling Scripts: Your Gateway to an Engaged Prospect

Woman cold calling on a headset phone with graphics of chat
The key to effective cold calling is preparation. Research your prospect's business to show up as a credible caller with something to offer. [Adobe / Studio Science]

Don't sweat making cold calls. When you use the right strategies and tactics, it's easy to land new deals.

Ask a sales pro if they want to do some cold calling, and you’ll likely get some form of, “Do I have to?” For many, the idea of calling a stranger out of the blue isn’t so appealing. But mastering the art of the cold call can spell sales success, and it doesn’t have to be painful.

This guide will explain the nuts and bolts of cold calling, including my favorite frameworks for approaching calls and some script templates you can start practicing with right now. I’ll also explore the importance of preparing yourself, both mentally and physically, to get the most out of every cold calling session.

What you’ll learn:

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What is a cold call?

A cold call is an unscheduled phone call made to a potential customer you’ve never interacted with before. That prospective customer is identified typically based on online research designed to find individuals or businesses that match a company’s buyer persona.

Far from just a sales pitch, cold calling is about exploration and connection. It’s an opportunity to introduce your product or service to a prospect who might not yet be aware of how it could benefit their business.

What is the purpose of a cold call?

The purpose of a cold call is almost always to book a meeting, not to sell anything right off the bat. But that’s not the only reason to pick up the phone. Think of cold calling like shaking hands with a new acquaintance. Once the connection is made, you can learn a lot from the person on the other end of the line. Here’s how:

  • Understanding client needs: Cold calling allows sales professionals to gather insights directly from prospects, gaining a deeper understanding of their challenges and business environment.
  • Building rapport: A well-executed cold call can quickly build a connection, showcase your expertise, and lay the foundation for trust.
  • Customer research: Each call provides valuable information about customer expectations and challenges. This intel is crucial for tailoring your approach and offerings to better meet demands.
  • Lead generation: Cold calling is a proactive lead generation tool. By reaching out to potential clients, you’re actively creating opportunities rather than waiting for leads to come to you.

Nobody likes rejection, and cold calling can mean a lot of “No’s.” But I like to dive in with some perspective. If I know that only 5-10% of my calls are likely to yield immediate results, it’s easier to accept a few “No’s” in a row and keep going. It frees me up mentally to keep “smiling and dialing.” And persistence can pay off down the road – I’ve made cold calls that didn’t result in a second call until two years later. 

Elements of a successful cold call

Sales is fiercely competitive, and in many ways, cold calling is a lot like playing a sport. You can’t just walk onto the field during the Super Bowl and expect to win. If you want to succeed, you have to prepare yourself mentally and physically before game time. That means doing your research, creating a game plan, and putting time in on the practice field so you’re ready to execute when kickoff time comes. 

Let’s break down the elements that can turn a routine cold call into the beginning of a new relationship with a prospect:

  • Preparation: Knowledge is power in sales. Leveraging internet searches and sites like LinkedIn to research your prospect’s business, recent news, and challenges positions you as an informed and credible caller with something to offer. 
  • Personal connection: A comment on a recent company achievement or a shared industry interest can go a long way toward breaking the ice. Make note of these.
  • Listening skills: Active listening is crucial. Don’t just listen but also engage with your prospects by restating key points back to them to confirm you understand what they’re saying. Genuinely understanding your prospect’s needs and concerns helps you offer tailored solutions.
  • Follow-up strategy: Ending the call by asking if you can get a follow-up on the books is my go-to for keeping the momentum going. Track your calls. We like to say, “If it’s not in Salesforce, it doesn’t exist.” Keep track of who you spoke with, what happened (Left a message? Chatted about a certain subject?) and any specifics to dig into on your end. Then schedule a follow-up reminder for yourself. Remember, it’s all about pleasant persistence.

Cold call script examples

There are many approaches to scripting cold calls, but in my experience, these two examples cover most prospects and situations. Both scripts are easily adaptable to fit your individual style and needs.

The direct script

Want to get straight into your pitch? The direct script saves time while getting across key points. Here’s an example:

“Hi Alice, it’s Marcus with Venli Consulting.

The reason I’m reaching out is because I listened to your Q4 earnings call and saw that you are aiming for a 10% topline sales growth while maintaining 30% margins through this upcoming fiscal year.

I’m actually working with the sales orgs over at Stripe, ZoomInfo, and HubSpot right now to help their teams blow their sales targets out as well.

We may be able to help your org as well. Do you have some time to discuss this Thursday at 3?”

Why it works

The direct script is just that: direct. It gets right to the point, engages the prospect with relevant research, and ends with a call to action based on how you’ve already helped organizations like theirs.

The direct script framework

This script has three key components: 

  • A direct opener
  • Some sort of unique selling proposition and social proof
  • A closing question

Here’s what it looks like in template form, so you can try it out right away:

“Hi, [Prospect’s Name]. It’s [Your Name] from [Your Company]. 

I’m reaching out because [Specific Relevant Research/Intel]. 

I’m currently working with [Reference 1, Reference 2, Reference 3] right in your industry, providing them with [Your Unique Sales Proposition Including Benefits].

We may also be able to help your organization with [Unique Challenge]. Do you have some time to discuss this on [Date & Time]?”

The entire script should take 30 seconds or less to speak aloud on a call.

The permission-based opener script

A complementary script with a different approach uses a permission-based opener that starts by asking the prospect if they’re willing to hear you out. Here’s an example:

“Hey Lisa, it’s Marcus with Venli. I know you weren’t expecting my call, but do you have a moment? I promise to be brief.

Great. In chatting with dozens of other HR execs in the SaaS space on the West Coast, one of the largest costs they’re seeing is increasing turnover in their sales departments. Each turnover can easily cost companies up to $100,000, if not more!

How are you handling these increasing turnover costs, and what are you doing to reduce turnover at your company?”

Why it works

The permission-based opener is great for handling, “Why are you calling me?” objections right off the bat. Asking for permission to continue gives the prospect the power to say “Yes” or “No” before you start selling anything. You might be surprised how often this subtle technique makes prospects more receptive to hearing you out.

The permission-based opener framework 

This script also has three components:

  • A permission-based opener 
  • The problem statement
  • A closing question about the cost of inaction

Here’s what this one looks like as a template: 

“Hey [Prospect’s Name], it’s [Your Name] with [Company Name]. [Ask For Permission].”

“Great. In chatting with [Titles in Specific Industry], I’ve learned that they are facing [The Biggest Problems They Are Most Likely To Deal With — Tie To Something Tangible If Possible For The COl].”

“How are you handling/solving [Big Problem]?”

Do it well, and this template can get you into a meaningful conversation quickly. Once the prospect answers with something along the lines of, “You know, this is what we’re trying to do, but this is what we’re kind of struggling with,” the door is open for you to offer meaningful solutions.

Each of these scripts is designed to be adaptable, focusing on the prospect’s needs while remaining conversational and engaging and reflecting the core values of the Salesblazer approach.

Bearing those values in mind, let’s take a look at how you can write a cold call script to fit any situation.

How to write your own cold call script

Crafting a cold call script that resonates requires a blend of authenticity, strategy, and empathy. But it’s a pretty straightforward process when you follow these steps:

  1. Start with a clear objective: Define what you want to achieve with the call. For example, do you want to schedule a meeting?
  2. Research your prospect: Tailor your script based on what you know about the prospect’s business, their industry challenges, and recent achievements.
  3. Open with a personal touch: Use a warm, engaging opening. 
  4. Highlight your value: Clearly state how your product or service can address their specific needs or challenges. Be concise and persuasive.
  5. Include a compelling CTA: End with a clear next step. Whether it’s scheduling a follow-up call or sending additional information, guide the prospect towards the next phase in the sales process.
  6. Use generative AI to hone your script: If you’re struggling to write an effective script, use generative AI. Sales Cloud, for example, lets you auto-generate personalized scripts based on your CRM data in just a few clicks.

Cold calling tips

Cold calling is both an art and a science. Here are some quick tips to refine your cold calling skills:

  • Be prepared: Remember how sales is a competitive sport? Treat each cold call like the Super Bowl. Eat right and get a good night’s sleep the night before. Turn off notifications on your phone and minimize distractions. If you’ve blocked off a big chunk of time for cold calling, break it into smaller blocks and schedule short breaks in between to stretch your legs, sip some water, and shake off rejections as needed. And, of course, do your research, prepare your scripts, and practice!
  • Practice active listening: Showing genuine interest in your prospect’s responses builds trust. Listen actively and respond thoughtfully to their concerns and questions.
  • Handle objections gracefully: Objections are not roadblocks but opportunities to understand and address your prospect’s concerns. Approach them with a solution-oriented mindset.
  • Use P.I.T.A.: This four-parter helps you with the soft side of the call: pace (don’t speak too fast), inflection (emphasize key words), tonality (be friendly and human, not robotic), and attitude (be warm and present).
  • Use technology wisely: Leverage CRM tools and other technologies to track your calls, take notes, and schedule follow-ups. This helps maintain continuity and personalization in your sales efforts.
  • Continuously improve: Reflect on each call, use AI to identify what worked and what didn’t and adapt your approach. Focus on mastering your process rather than counting wins and losses. Nobody books follow-ups from every cold call, but tracking your approach so you can change what’s not working is key to long-term success.

Incorporating these tips into your cold calling routine can significantly enhance your effectiveness and create impactful and meaningful sales interactions.

Increase your deal wins through better cold calling 

Cold calling with skill and strategy can be a powerful way to increase your done deals. And despite what you may already think, making cold calls doesn’t have to be painful. Approach each cold calling session like an athlete or performer by preparing mentally and physically, executing your strategy and tracking the results. There’s a learning opportunity and a chance to start a new relationship in each and every call.

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sales influencers marcus chan
Marcus Chan Founder and President, Venli Consulting Group

Marcus Chan is the Founder of Venli Consulting Group. He helps account executives sell and earn $100,000+ each year through his coaching and training programs. Marcus is an official member on the Forbes Business Council and has also been featured in Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch, and more. He is a 3X Salesforce Top Sales Influencer and Wall Street Journal Best Selling author of Six-Figure Sales Secrets.

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