You have your list of names and phone numbers. Before the end of the day, you need to make 100 calls. Your sales manager has given your team a big pep talk encouraging you to dial, dial, dial.

Now all you need is a cold call script. And not just any script … the best cold call script ever.

Once you have a list of prospects to call, it’s time to reach out. If you’ve never spoken to these contacts before, your outreach would be considered a cold call.

Cold calling is a way to engage prospects one-on-one to move them to the next step in the buying process.

In the past, cold calling meant using a “spray and pray” method, spending time making intrusive calls with no prior qualification, hoping that your message would resonate with someone.

Plus, you may not always have an abundance of inbound leads. Even as an outbound tactic, with enough research and qualification, a cold call can be executed in a way that’s no longer “cold.”

So, what does a typical cold call look like in sales?

**The prospect’s phone rings**

Prospect: Hello?

Rep: Aja Frost, my name is Dan from Outbound.

(1.5-second pause)

How are you doing today?

I am calling about our software that helps you with the strategic implementation of your biggest problems from Outbound Company.

Is this a priority for you today?

Prospect: Actually, this isn’t a great time …

Rep: Are you interested in a product demo of how we are in the magic quadrant? We have won all these awards.

Prospect: We’re not interested.

Rep: Are you the decision-maker? Give me two hours, and we can get you going — unless you don’t have a budget.

**Click**

Here’s another typical cold call script example.

**The prospect’s phone rings**

Prospect: Hello?

Rep: Good morning, is this Rita?

Prospect: Yes, this is her. With whom am I speaking?

Rep: My name is Bill from DCall. I found your information while searching for business consultants in Wichita and I think you could be a great fit for our services.

(1.5-second pause)

Do you have a moment to talk about your business’ call service provider?

Prospect: I already have one.

Rep: But if I could borrow ten minutes of your time, I can tell you how quickly we can take your business to the next level.

Prospect: Look, I really have to go…

Rep: No problem. When will be a good time to check in with you?

Prospect: I’m not sure.

Rep: Is it okay if I check back in six months?

**Click**

Don’t laugh. There are lots of calls like these taking place every day. And you probably won’t be surprised to learn they convert at an abominable rate: Less than 1%.

That means if you call 100 people using these kinds of scripts, you’ll only get a second call with one of them.

Now, if you are calling your prospects and saying the same thing to all of them, essentially pushing your product — just stop.

It probably sucks for you, but it’s worse for your prospects, brand, and productivity.

Instead, create your own cold call script.

While cold calling isn’t the most effective strategy, you can increase your chances of success by doing a bit of research about your prospect first. Tailoring your pitch to each prospect is key. Use the simple script above as a framework and personalize it so it flows naturally for you.

The typical cold calling script most salespeople use clearly doesn’t work. Here’s how to create the best cold call script ever (we might be a little biased) to improve your connect rate.

First, you need to cherry-pick who you’ll call. Your time is valuable — don’t waste it on prospects that aren’t a good fit for your product. Think about who your best customers are (or who you’ve had the most success calling in the past) and look for common attributes.

For example, maybe your verticals are hospitality and retail. Or perhaps they’re finance and banking. Once you’ve figured out which verticals to target, you’re ready for step 2.

It should now be much easier to find specific companies or people who could use your product or service, especially when using a tool like LinkedIn.

Let’s say you’re looking for US-based hotel companies who might benefit from your on-site goat yoga classes (who doesn’t want to do Shavasana with a baby goat while they’re on vacation?).

Search “General manager” with the “Hospitality” filter.

Voila — a list of potential customers.

Bonus points if you look for local or regional companies, as people love to do business with other locals.

I know, I know, you’d rather just pick up the phone and call. But trust me, spending just a minute upfront will make you wildly more successful. So do it!

Since you’re already on LinkedIn, check out each prospect’s profile to personalize your approach. You’ll want to know:

Here’s one thing I never fail to do: I look up how to pronounce the prospect’s name.

Nothing makes people more annoyed and less likely to listen than hearing their name butchered by some fast-talking rep, so this step is crucial.

And if you’re still out of luck? Simply ask, “I want to be sure I’m saying your name correctly. How do you pronounce it?”

If you’re having trouble coming up with a cold call script of your own, try this one. Here, the sales rep keeps it simple by focusing on introducing themselves, establishing rapport with the prospect, and using a positioning statement.

Hi [prospect’s name], this is [your name] from [your company name].

I’ve been doing some research on [prospect’s company name] and I’d love to learn more about [challenge you’ve discovered in your research].

At [your company name] we work with people like you to help with [value proposition 1, value proposition 2, and value proposition 3.]

Is this something you think could help with [common challenges/pain points]?

Option 1: Yes, tell me more.

Great! [This is where you’re going to ask them to attend a demo, or continue the conversation with an Account Executive, or take whatever next steps are part of your sales process.]

Option 2: Objection

I understand. Is it ok if I send you a follow-up email to review at your convenience? Then I can follow up with you tomorrow.

If yes, send the email and set a reminder to follow up. If not, thank them for their time and ask if there’s another point of contact they can connect you with. Make sure to include resources that clearly explain what your company does and ask to continue the conversation.

Now let’s get to the script.

First, say your name and which company you work for. You need to sound confident and energetic. I can’t tell you how many cold calls I listen to that begin with, “This is mlkjdkfj from mnxcmvn.”

The prospect goes, “What? Who??” Right from the start, the call is going poorly.

You don’t need to yell your greeting, but you do need to articulate the words.

After you say, “This is [name] from [company],” pause.

This is hard for cold callers. They want to jump straight into their pitch. But I want you to take a deep breath and say nothing for eight whole seconds.

While you’re pausing, your prospect is searching their brain for who you could be. It sounds like you know them — are you a client? A former coworker? A current one?

Here are some sample questions:

A good question is topical and makes someone smile. If they seem receptive to chatting, ask them a follow-up question.

For instance, if they say, “I loved going to Cal Poly; the English department was fantastic,” you can respond, “That’s great. Should I recommend it to my niece who wants to be a writer?”

Eventually, they’ll say, “Alright, why are you calling?”

I cackle. Seriously.

They’ll laugh because you’re clearly having fun.

Answer, “Sometimes I forget.” Laugh again.

Trust me, this always lightens the mood. (Unless your prospect is in a major hurry, in which case, you should get to the point.)

Here’s a hypothetical positioning statement:

“I work with sales managers in hospitality with five to eight reps on their team. My customers are typically looking to increase rep productivity. Does that sound like you?”

Since you’ve pre-qualified them, they’ll always say “yes.”

Simply say, “Tell me more about that.”

As a sales leader at HubSpot, I love assisting newer reps close big deals, because I’ve been in their shoes. It’s good for the company and the reps’ careers. And to do that, I use a slightly altered process and script.

This allows me to quickly familiarize myself with the person and company I’m about to call. Once the phone rings and the prospect answers, I use the greeting from above, “This is [name] from [company],” then pause.

If you’re calling a C-level executive or even a mid-level employee at a large organization, it’s likely you had to get past an assistant or front desk, which is where your senior title helped. Gatekeepers are more likely to pass along “Dan Tyre, Director of Sales at HubSpot” than “[Name], sales rep at HubSpot.”

They’ll know who you are, but they’ll still be curious why you called. Keep them in suspense a bit longer. As in the script above, I’ll spend a few minutes asking about them. Here are a few more questions I turn to:

When the conversation turns to why I called, I say, “I called to help.” This line usually stops the prospect in their tracks.

Then, I follow up with, “My sales rep asked me to start a conversation with you.” This allows me to easily hand the conversation off to the rep if the conversation goes well.

From there, I use a positioning statement like the one above:

“I work with sales managers in hospitality with five to eight reps on their team. My customers are typically looking to increase rep productivity. Does that sound like you?”

Usually, the prospect agrees and throws out a time weeks or months in the future. I often reply with, “How about tomorrow?” Most of the time, prospects respond with, “Sure, what time?”

I’ll then check the junior rep’s calendar and schedule the discovery call.

Everyone wants to have a better day. By making your prospects smile or laugh, giving them a chance to talk about their problems, and showing them you might have a solution, you’ll improve their day. That means stronger relationships and, ultimately, more sales.

Ready to start cold calling? Here are some cold calling script templates you can use to get started.

This downloadable resource contains 10 templates, including the examples listed below. Each script can be customized to fit your specific needs and scenarios. As stated previously, the more research you do on your prospect prior to calling, the better your results will be.

The best script for getting more information out of your prospect.

The best script for navigating screening conversations with administrative assistants or office managers.

Shows you the most effective way to use a recommendation from a mutual colleague.

If you’ve already tried reaching out to a prospect, this script will help you follow-up and get a response.

Failing to connect with a prospect? This script provides an alternative route to reaching out.

Now that you have your script, here are some tips to keep in mind.

At HubSpot, we live and breathe inbound marketing and sales and rely on our strong sales teams to close deals.

We know that a 100% inbound method might not work for your business — at least not overnight. So be selective with your prospects to mimic the success of inbound sales. That means you’ll need to get creative with whom you add to your list. If you can find hand-raisers (people already interested in the product or service your company provides), prioritize calling them first. If they’re interested in what you have to offer before you call, you’ll be well on your way to closing them on the solution you sell.

While you don’t want to sound robotic and rehearsed, you do want to repeat your script so you don’t forget it.

The better you know the goals of the script, you’ll be able to think on your feet if the prospect comes back with a comment or question you hadn’t planned for.

With each call, you’ll get a chance to practice your cold calling script — and you’ll learn strategies to make future cold calls more effective.

When crafting your cold-calling script, it’s easy to fall into the me-me-me trap:

Instead, you should be putting your focus on the prospect using “you” language:

Doing so centers them in the conversation, making it personalized and relevant.

Before you even think about picking up the phone, you should have plenty of information about the prospect you’re reaching out to.

You should know what the company does, the prospect’s role at the company, whether you’ve worked with a similar company in the past, and any additional facts you can use to build rapport with them.

Where did they go to school? Do you know a friend or colleague? Did they recently attend an industry event? These are some rapport-building topics you can use to start the conversation.

However, the more cold calls you make, the more you’ll get a feel for days and times that have the most success. Once you do, prioritize your calls and make the most important ones during those windows.

While it’s essential to establish rapport and start the conversation off on a positive note, be mindful that cold-calling is somewhat intrusive. You have interrupted their day, and you should get to the point quickly to respect their time.

Use your positioning statement early on in the call or make a transition like this one: “The reason I’m calling is to…”

These will signal to the prospect that you’re about to be quick and to the point.

You could say:

Hi [prospect’s name], this is [your name] from [your company name].

I’ve been doing some research on [prospect’s company name] and I just wanted to ask you a few questions about [insert chosen topic].

What roadblocks have kept you from finding a better solution to [insert chosen topic challenges]?

(They answer)

I’d love to continue the conversation because I think [your company name] would be able to help you figure out a solution. [Then take whatever next steps are part of your sales process.]

Asking open-ended questions will help you get more information out of the prospect and will help you tailor a solution to their specific challenges.

It can be easy to get lost in the conversation, but ensure you’re listening carefully to the prospect’s responses.

When appropriate, repeat back what they said about their company or goals. This helps you clarify what they said and shows the prospect that you truly care about what they’re saying.

Often, eliminating pain is more powerful at incentivizing prospects than adding value. As you get the prospect to open up about their organization, role, and situation, listen for current struggles, points of contention, or problems they may be experiencing.

This may give you an “I can help with that” moment with the prospect.

You can build off of the open-ended questions script:

Hi [prospect’s name], this is [your name] from [your company name].

We’re a [type of company] platform that helps companies like yours [problem you solve]. I’m calling to see if we can provide assistance.

What roadblocks have kept you from finding a better solution to [insert chosen topic challenges]?

(They answer)

I can totally understand your frustration with that. It sounds like your team is having trouble with [summarize their pain points/issue]. We work with a few companies like yours and most have found our services to be [how your product/service helped]. Do you have something similar in place?

This script helps you nail down their challenges and presents your services as a remedy.

The more calls you complete, the more you’ll get a feel for the types of objections you’ll get.

For example, the prospect may already be working with a competitor. You could respond with:

“Yes, I am familiar with them. Why did you choose [company name]? What’s working? What’s not? Allow me to explain how [your product/service] is different.”

Certainly, there will be some cases where you don’t want to waste the prospect’s time.

Your prospect identified themselves as your ideal client.

Why not guide the conversation in a way that allows them to continue seeing themselves in your offerings?

The goal of each cold call is to introduce yourself to the prospect and set up a discovery call with them. Remind yourself of the desired end result. This will help you stay on track as you’re cold-calling prospects.

Before each email you send and phone call you make, identify the close you’ll use to encourage more streamlined and focused communication.

Regardless of which ‘close’ you end up choosing, focus on selling just that ‘close.’ The more complicated you make it for the prospect, the easier it is for them to say ‘no.’

For example, if the big goal is to sell a turn-key software package in the four figures, but you know that your demo will blow them out of the water, just sell the demo.

Make it easy for them to commit to the demo, no strings attached, and make it easy for them to schedule and show up to the demo. Don’t fuss with the details about software packages in this initial step when you can deal with those details later (presumably after the demo). Doing so will plant objections in their mind before you get your foot in the door.

If your prospect isn’t available to meet with you again until the next week or so, follow up with them within a day after your initial cold call. Go beyond the traditional “Thanks for your time” and offer some valuable information that could help them in the period between your conversation and their decision about your product.

You could try something like:

Hi [prospect’s name], this is [your name] from [your company name].

Did you get a chance to take a look at the materials I sent over?

If they say yes, follow up with some discovery questions or the next step in your sales process.

If they say they’re not interested, you could end with:

Thanks for letting me know. Just out of curiosity, could you tell me why you aren’t interested? [Try to use their answer to overcome this objection].

In today’s digital world, voicemails can seem like an old-fashioned method of communicating with your prospect, but they’re a smart way to keep yourself top-of-mind with them when they check their messages. When your prospects have overflowing email inboxes daily, stand out with a voicemail.

Hi, this is [your name] from [company name].

I’d like to learn more about [chosen topic] to see if [your company name] can offer a solution.

You can reach me at [your number]. I’ll also follow up with an email [specified date/time]. I look forward to speaking with you.

Have a great day

You can even adjust your cold calling script to work with voicemail. Remember to address the prospect by name, introduce yourself, your company, and the need you’re planning to address with them. Don’t sell in the voicemail; provide just enough information to pique their interest.

You should never let your cold call script or etiquette get stale. As your business and product or service evolves, so should your cold call technique.

Conduct a call or “film” review with your sales team on a monthly or quarterly basis. Select a few recorded (with permission) calls, sit in on a few live attempts, and have reps provide constructive feedback on what went well and what could be improved for the next time.

Automate these responsibilities with software that can do the work for you. These platforms streamline manual tasks so you can spend more time doing something technology can’t — researching your prospects, building rapport, and closing deals.

Cold calling gets pretty robotic pretty fast. Dialing, reciting your script, asking for the next call, and doing it all over again can start to wear on your enthusiasm, but don’t let it. When you’re struggling to make it through those last few calls of the week, remember why you love to do what you do.

Whether you keep your family’s picture on your desk, an inspiring note from a colleague, or an encouraging quote from a leader, always keep your “why” in mind. On those amazing days where you’re closing left and right, and those slower days when you can’t quite get into your groove, your “why” will keep you motivated.

This script and these tips will help you be a more effective cold caller. Just remember that it’s all about providing value. By piquing their curiosity and solving for their needs, you’ll build rapport and win prospects over, even if the conversation began “cold.”

The work doesn’t stop here. You’ll need to tailor your new script and template to fit your business, prospects, and personal style. Once you do, you’ll see a much higher return for your efforts.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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