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Common Questions and Answers
Cold Calling scripts are widely derided by salespeople who’ve heard too many bad ones. In reality, a well-written script can be a powerful cold calling tool. It gives you the safety net of always knowing what to say during the call, which leaves you free to focus on the important part: selling to the prospect.
A good Cold Calling script has five different sections. First is the greeting, then the identification section when you introduce yourself, then a brief description of your product’s benefits, then asking for the appointment, and finally your answers for the objections that you frequently encounter. During a cold call you typically have just 10-15 seconds to pique the prospect’s interest, so the greeting, identification and benefits sections are the most important — if you don’t intrigue the prospect by that point, he will hang up before you can get to the rest.
Your greeting should be quick and concise. Don’t bother asking “How are you today?” or otherwise make the typical phone small talk greetings, because the clock is ticking and you can’t spare the time. Instead start by asking for the prospect by name (“May I speak with Mr. Smith please?” or just “John Smith, please.”). Once he comes on the line, greet him by name. Whether you refer to him as Mr. Smith or as John will depend on whether you’ve already met him, and on the type of sales you do.
The introduction is possibly the most crucial part of the entire call, because it’s the moment when the prospect will realize that you’re a salesperson. If what you have to say about yourself isn’t interesting enough you’ll probably have missed your opportunity to proceed further. So your introduction should include a hint about the benefits that you can offer the prospect, which you’ll then go into further in the next section. Start your introduction with your name and company name, then throw in a brief “elevator speech” – a sentence about what you or your company does for your customers. For example, you might say, “My name is Jane Doe and I’m with XYZ Company. We’re known for helping customers get the technology they need.” Feel free to give yourself an intriguing title that positions you as an expert. For example, sales expert Wendy Weiss, “The Queen of Cold Calling,” launched her business at a time when the only people selling by phone were telemarketers. She didn’t want to be a telemarketer, so she decided that she was a ‘Marketing Consultant Specializing in New Business Development’ and used that as her introduction during cold calls.
During the benefits section, you’ll expand on the bit of information you gave in your introduction. If you know a bit about the person or the company you’re calling — always a good idea — you can talk about a benefit that you’re sure will be of interest for that particular prospect. For example, if the person you’re calling mentioned on LinkedIn that he’s so swamped he never has time to get all his work done, you can talk about how your product “saves time” and will simplify his job. The benefit or benefits you choose to showcase should always do something to answer the prospect’s eternal question, “What’s in it for me?”
At this point in the call it’s time to close the prospect on giving you an appointment. Remember, the goal of cold calling is almost never to sell your product on the spot. Your job is now to get a face-to-face meeting with your prospect, or for inside salespeople, it’s to schedule a longer phone call during which you can make a full presentation. The process of closing an appointment is very similar to closing a sale, as you’ll hopefully do later on in the sales cycle. Your appointment close can be as simple as, “I’d like to meet with you for 20 minutes and tell you more about what this product can do for you — how about Tuesday at 2 PM?”
Closing the appointment is the time when you’re most likely to hear objections from your prospect. Common objections might include “I already have a vendor for that,” “I’m not buying right now,” “Just send me a brochure,” or simply “I’m not interested.” Having good responses to these objections listed at the bottom of your script allows you to handle them easily and with confidence. And once you’ve responded appropriately, go back to your initial request – “So, are you available Tuesday afternoon?”
About the author
My first sales position was a summer job selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. I continued through a variety of sales jobs ranging from retail sales for a storage company to selling bank products for a Fortune 500 financial institution.
As a small business owner, I now focuses on selling for my own company, Tailored Content, a website content provider. I write on a wide range of topics but my primary focus is sales and how to sell effectively.