“A script is a conversational combination of well-planned words that, when delivered naturally, elicit the listener response we desire” – Art Sobczak, Smart Calling.

Cold calling is not for the faint of heart. Many factors outside the caller’s control can conspire to prevent him from accomplishing his goals. To mitigate these factors, preparation is the key.  Since  no one likes to have his/her daily routine interrupted by a stranger with a sales pitch – in addition to make you or your reps more successful  – you owe your prospects the courtesy of being well prepared, so as not to waste their time.

Opening Statement

When cold calling, the first 10-15 seconds are critical in capturing the prospect’s attention. Consequently, the script’s opening statement is a vital first step in the successful completion of a call. And thinking that winging it will work is likely to lead to a very rude awakening.

It must be understood that prospects only care about what is in it for them.  What products or companies are about is of little or no interest, but they are enticed by knowing how their jobs can be made easier or their company more profitable.

The opening statement’s goal is two-fold – first, to put the prospect in a upbeat frame of mind, then to get him/her talking. This is accomplished by clearly conveying the value prospects may receive by using your product/service. Therefore, when beginning to prepare a script, the writer should step into the prospect’s shoes and consider responses to following questions:

1. How will a business benefit from using your offer/product?
(Profit margins, market share, productivity, ROI etc.)

2. What advantages would a business experience if it changed how things currently stand?
(Increase, improve, save, eliminate, etc.)

3. How can your product/service positively affect how the prospect does his/her job?
(Makes look good, lessens work load, etc.)

4. How can your claimed benefits be supported by numbers, case histories or testimonials?
(Metrics, percentages, case studies, testimonials, etc.)

Answers to the above questions will generate a compelling Value Proposition.

The next step is to compose a text that delivers the message in the most economical and conversational way. Then, be ready to tweak it if the feedback from the floor requires it.

Phrases to avoid

The tone of the script should not be too familiar or salesy. It should be professional, concise and respectful.

The questions below have a great chance of sabotaging your efforts.

How are you today?” Since the prospect is a stranger it sounds fake and immediately broadcasts the sales nature of the call. However, it is ok to inquire about the weather if you know that the prospect’s location is being hit by a major snow storm.

Do you have a couple of minutes?”  The verdict is open as to whether or not if permission should be asked. The prospect’s work is being interrupted and this question gives him/her the opportunity to say no. Navigate as fluidly as you can from the opening statement to the qualifying questions without directly asking for permission.  One might say “I know your time is valuable and I will be quick” and continue with implied consent.  But be prepared to stop and ask to reschedule if your timing is bad.

Closing the call
For a multitude of reasons the first call may not be successful. The contact may be inappropriate or the company is not a fit, among others. There are however many situations that that will merit further communication but the outcome of subsequent calls is rooted on how the first call was terminated. Make sure that script requires a concrete reason for continuing the conversation so as avoid ending with “We will call you in a couple weeks.” If the prospect is receptive to another call, the script should prompt the caller to set the day and time for it to happen.