Sales calls where salespeople read from generic cold calling scripts convert at an abominable rate: Less than 1 percent. That means if you make 100 calls, you’ll only get one meeting. Unsolicited cold calling sucks for the salespeople but is probably worse for the prospects.
The phrase “always be closing,” popularized in the 1992 film Glengarry Glen Ross has no place in today's world of informed buyers. In 2019, salespeople have to follow a totally different mantra: always be helping.
In the age of always be helping, salespeople need a new type of sales scripts and to completely change their way of using them.
When you only connect with companies when there's a data-backed reason for you to be in touch and tailor your offer according to your potential customer's current situation and needs, you'll significantly improve your call to meeting hit rate. At Vainu, our salespeople book on average 8.5 meetings per 100 calls. Every third call is usually answered, meaning Vainu's salespeople have a hit rate from actual conversations to booked meetings on just over 25 percent.
What is a sales script?
A sales script is your guiding light to navigate your prospect discussions. Sales scripts should be used as a map to help get you to your intended destination of making a sale or setting an appointment, preparing you with questions and lines to say and ask.
A sales script is not meant to be, nor should it be used, like a robotic monologue. If you are reading directly from the same script when calling all your prospects, essentially pushing your product–just stop.
Before we look at how to pen a winning cold call script in 2019, let’s go through three key strategies that help you maximize the impact of your sales script. (If you're in a hurry, skip to the script.)
3 strategies to maximize the impact of your cold calling scripts
1. Cherry-pick the companies you reach out to
The first step to cold call effectively is to never cold call.
Selling to people who can't or won't buy is a huge drain on your sales productivity, budget, and team. A well defined ideal customer profile helps you target prospects that genuinely want to hear about what you have to offer.
All the information you need to determine if a company is likely to have success with your product is already out there–it’s finding it when you need it that’s the key. Using a sales intelligence tool will help you find all the relevant information about your prospects.
When you connect with companies that you've proactively identified as a good fit although they haven’t demonstrated an interest in your product or service yet, you’re not really cold calling anymore. This extra work will pay off as you see your hit-rate go up in every step of the sales process.
2. Research the prospect before you reach out
You’re stressed about reaching this months quota, your manager is breathing down your neck, and your dog ate your ... There are no real, or unreal, good excuses for not researching every company you reach out to beforehand while prospecting. You can’t deliver value if you don’t know your prospect's pain-points and needs.
If you’ve followed the step above, you should know that the company has a problem that your offer can help solve.
At a minimum, you should know:
- The company's basic firmographic data. For example, how many years the company’s been in business, the number of employees, their location, and their value proposition.
- Characteristics that suggests that the company will get significant value from your product or service. If you’re selling software that integrates seamlessly with Salesforce, you should know if your prospect is using Salesforce or not.
- Recent buying signals. Also, recent significant events that you don’t consider being clear buying signals are good for you to know about. Even by just briefly mentioning that you know what’s going on in the company, you’ll come out as more trustworthy.
- The title of the person you’re reaching out to.
Knowing these things will help you determine the type of pain points the business is likely to have and tailor your pitch accordingly.
3. Prepare good questions to establish rapport
The best salespeople are those that ask the best questions. Look at each pain point you identified when doing your research and prepare questions based on them.
If your prospect recently announced that they are looking to increase the headcount of their sales team and you’re working for a company that specializes in recruiting and staffing for organizations with an active sales force, you can ask:
“How are you feeling about the number of quality candidates you have to choose from?”
“What would it mean to your business if you could decrease the amount of time it takes you to fill an open position?”
“What’s your biggest challenge related to filling positions quickly and with the right quality talent?”
Asking questions that show that you’re familiar with the company and the person you’re talking to helps you establish rapport.
4 parts of a killer cold call script
When you’ve winnowed down your calling list and done some homework on the companies that you’ve identified as likely to be successful with your product or service, you’re ready to pick up the phone.
Now, let’s look at the four components that make up a killer cold call script and which you should add to your sales playbook.
First, say your name and which company you’re calling from.
Believe it or not, but when you say your name and the name of your company and deliver your pitch all in one breath, you’re not very easy to hear. This is not the way to make a strong first impression.
"This is [your name] from [name of your company],"
Then, pause for a few seconds before you speak again. You’ll sound powerful and in control.
2. Ask a tailored question
Your goal is to make the person on the other side of the line talk while proving that you’re familiar with them and their company.
It’s time to bring out the questions you’ve prepared based on the prospect's business current situation and/or pain points.
If you’re calling a newly appointed chief marketing officer, you might want to say:
“Congrats on your recent promotion. What do you consider your biggest challenge related to ensuring that you attract qualified leads to be?”
Or if you’re calling the head of sales at the fictitious company that’s in the process of recruiting new sales talents we discussed previously, you can say:
“I’ve seen that you’re currently looking to hire a number of new sales talents. Do you feel like you can choose from top caliber talent?”
When you’ve asked your question, wait for the prospect’s response.
3. Positioning statement
Instead of doing what most cold callers do and talk about yourself, deliver a positioning statement that shows your prospect you work with companies and understand their challenges.
“I work with [customer type] in [industry] with [X pain-points/goals]. My customers are typically looking to [execute on X goal]. Is this something you can relate to?”
Since you’ve prequalified them, the answer you receive should always be “yes”.
Ask the prospect to elaborate.
“Tell me more about that.”
Listen, while the prospect talks about their challenges and needs.
4. Schedule a meeting
Repeat their pain points and offer to set up a discovery call or book in a meeting.
“So what I’m hearing is [established pain point]. I hear that a lot. I’d love to set up an X-minute call to learn more about your goals this year, and share how [name of your company] might be able to help you. What about this Wednesday? ”
Prospect: “Sure, how about 10:00?"
Always be helping
With these tips, you should be ready to create a sales script adjusted for every one of your prospects. Remember, being a salesperson is understanding a potential customer’s needs and helping them solve an existing problem. It’s about removing headaches, not creating them.