Without a doubt, cold calling is one of the most challenging and terrifying tasks for many sales reps. It's filled with rejection, it’s time-consuming, and if you manage to get a client willing to listen, you have five seconds to extend the conversation to five minutes. So why do many companies still insist on hunting for new clients this way? Because cold calling still works.
In fact, cold calling is more effective at getting direct responses than cold emailing, according to HubSpot. Studies have shown that companies that don’t consider using cold calling in their sales process are likely to have a 42% slower growth rate (FinancesOnline). Also, surprisingly, further research has revealed that about 82% of ready buyers are prepared to meet with sales reps they interact with through cold calls (Selling Signals).
Cold calling refers to interacting with a potential customer who hasn't had any prior interaction with you as the salesperson or your products. As a type of telemarketing, cold calling is one of the oldest and most prevalent forms of marketing that salespeople in organizations both big and small rely on.
While other effective prospecting methods like social media marketing, emails, and texts are now available, cold calling remains a viable option. We can see from the data that cold calling is still as effective as ever — but its effectiveness depends entirely on how well you utilize it.
Here are 13 surprisingly effective cold calling scripts you can use to make more bookings and, eventually, more sales.
When cold calling, most clients usually feel that the salespeople talk too much while listening less — it’s one of the biggest snags to success. About 95% of customers generally feel like they're not allowed to talk, with 74% saying they would most likely buy whatever the salesperson is selling if they were listened to (WebStrategies).
The trick here is to ask a lot of questions and listen to what the client says — and then give personalized answers. For instance, if the client says they don't see the need for your services, you can politely agree with them then try other less provocative methods. Here is an example of a cold calling script that offers a more open-ended introduction to your clients:
Hello, my name is (your name), and I’m with (your company). I would love to chat with you about (your industry). Could you tell me about your experience with (products or services you offer) in the past?
Why it works: This cold calling script works because the salesperson used an organic introduction, stated their intent, and invited the potential client to speak. People love to feel like their opinion matters.
If the client states that they're busy, ask them if there's a better time to call. Let them know that they're in control. Emphasize the fact that you want to hear more about their experience and opinions. If they have no experience, go on to mention why you think your products could benefit them.
In some cases, you might call, and the potential client opts to reschedule the call. This means you have to know what to say when the rescheduled time comes — in most cases, you're required to set up a meeting. This cold calling script shows how you can go about this:
Well, I'll get straight to the point. Our company currently offers discounts and limited 14-day free trials for 20 customers. If that sounds like something you would be interested in, I’d love to schedule a short meeting with you to show you a demo that will help you learn more about our offers. Is there a day this week that would work better for you?
When they say which day works best, your next step should be to schedule a time. Having efficient CRM software can be beneficial to cater to the numerous prospects that may ask you to call later.
Why it works: This cold calling script works because it transforms an on-call communication into a face-to-face meeting using very few words. The goal here is to show your potential client that you value their time. You want them to have the information they need without sacrificing too much time out of their busy day.
While you might be using more time to follow up on leads, you'll see the results more when you start boosting your sales. This script works well for businesses selling locally with a strong qualification process before the first contact.
Sometimes getting to the decision-maker requires going through other people like the HR manager or a personal secretary. This cold calling script allows you to reach the right person without conflict:
Hello, this is (your name), and I’m with (your company). I'm trying to reach the CEO of (the target company).
At this point, they'll likely let you know how you can reach the decision-maker or your target party. If they ask what the call is about, here is a script you can use.
I heard they were interested in (services you offer), and I think we can help. We offer (services) that we think you could use. Have you heard of our platform (your business name)?
After they reply, politely ask if they can connect you to the person you wanted to talk to initially — in this case, the CEO. For negative responses, ask if there's an alternative way you can reach them.
Why it works: More often than not, your call will have to go through several people before getting to the ultimate decision-maker. To improve your chances of success, don't be afraid to grease some wheels. Make them your allies rather than obstacles you have to overcome.
This simple cold-calling script aims to establish a good connection with everyone you encounter before finally getting time with the person you actually want. It's perfect for businesses that depend on companies that have upper management decision-makers.
Even if your potential client doesn't have any idea who you are, you can take the initiative to know more about them. For example, if you're targeting the HR manager of a company, you can find out what social media groups they belong in — and maybe even join them.
When you start your cold calling process with a statement like “I saw on LinkedIn that we're both a part of the same entrepreneur networking group,” this can boost your chances of setting up a meeting. This cold calling script shows how establishing a connection can help:
Hello (lead name), my name is (your name), and I’m with (your company). I specialize in (products or services). I noticed that we're both members of (group name) on LinkedIn.
I was excited to see that we have similar opinions on that topic. I loved your post where you were asking about tools you could use to improve productivity and efficiency in your workplace. I want to reach out and let you know that our company has some solutions that I think could help.
Why it works: At this point, chances are good that your potential client is listening to you only because you mentioned that you're from the same group. Continue to give details about your services together with your sales pitch. Ask questions on the potential clients' challenges, then offer solutions. Ask questions like, “Does this work for you? Can we schedule a demo?”
This cold calling script shows that the potential client is more open when the salesperson connects with them about shared interests. A bit of research about your lead’s likes, needs, and preferences will give you an upper hand when cold calling.
Sometimes simple greetings and introductions just don't cut it when you're cold calling — you need a personal touch. Some of your potential clients may not even recognize that they need services similar to the ones you offer, and if they do, they may not have sufficient background knowledge. It's on you to find these loopholes and use them as your conversation starters.
Here is an example of a cold calling script that illustrates this:
My name is (your name), and I’m with (your company). I was visiting your website, and I was so impressed by (one or two things that stand out to you). I also noticed that you don't have a (software/tool name). I think that could (point out a potential problem that this tool could solve). Do you think that might be helpful for your customers?
Depending on the potential client's answer, you should be able to build a conversation from there. Follow it up with your offer.
(Your company name) actually has an affordable and effective option that we can customize for you. We have a (product name) that (describe specific features or selling points). If you're interested, we can set you up with a free trial today so you can see how it works. What do you think?
Why it works: This cold-calling script helps you prove that you have done your research and know what the client needs, even if they might not be seeing it that way initially.
Continue to build on the conversation and problem solve until you get your desired response. As a salesperson, the more you keep your potential client engaged, the higher the chances that you can finally convince them to try your products or services.
In every field, market trends govern the wave of customers. Avoiding or not noticing these trends can allow competitors to get ahead and eventually gain more customers and boost their sales. Coming up with a cold calling script that enables companies to keep up with their competitors is another way of capturing the attention of your potential clients. Check this out:
Hello, my name is (your name), and I’m with (your company). I have been going through your website and have noticed that you have an excellent design for your practice. I didn't see any information on how you're dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. I would love to hear about what you're doing.
After listening to their response, you can say something like:
People want to know that they're safe in your facility. I think you might make more patient bookings if you include a blog section on your website explaining how you're working so hard to protect your patients. How do you think your patients would feel about that?
This is a great opportunity to offer your services and help them to see a way forward. For example, you might follow up with examples of how your product or service can help them to make that happen.
Why it works: This cold calling script works because you have helped the potential client identify that they're lagging in keeping up with trending issues. Helping potential clients keep up with their competitors will leave them appreciating your services. The key here is to remember that you're not their savior, stepping in with the solution to all their problems. You're more of a guide, helping them pinpoint a solution — and you happen to have the tools they need.
The challenge with cold calling is the limited time to sell. With other salespeople probably targeting the same potential clients as you are, you have to help them see what makes you the better option. This cold calling script shows how you can make your solutions unique, giving you an edge over other companies:
Hello, my name is (your name), and I’m with (your company). Have you heard about our Company’s product/service that (unique marketing position)?
Depending on how the potential client replies, schedule an appointment or demo — anything that will take your conversation to the next level. This can also be a great doorway to explaining the other selling points of your company or service:
We specialize in helping companies grow through social media marketing, influencing, managing campaigns, and keeping up with the latest trends to help you make more sales and meet your financial goals.
Why it works: This script works because the solutions offered are unique, hard to find, and specific to your customer's needs. It captivates their attention faster and has a lot of options for keeping the conversation going. You can use it in instances where you want to create a sense of discovery.
Let’s face it. More often than not, if a potential client tells you that they will call back, they most likely won’t. On the other end, you can't blame them, given that they have busy schedules and the services you're offering may not be an emergency for them.
In that case, when someone says that you should call them later or they don't have the time, here is a sample script to get your foot in the door:
I was hoping to continue discussing how we can help your business grow through our automation tools. I'm sure you're extremely busy. All I need is two minutes of your time to get your thoughts on a few key details.
Why it works: When most people ask if they can call you back later, it's usually a polite way of saying they aren't interested in whatever you have to say. Because many people’s first reaction may be to reject a cold call, the best way to avoid failing is by preparing for it. The sample script above shows how to turn a polite, negative answer into a yes.
Knowing when to back down and when to insist is a must-have skill for most salespeople. This method is great for any business with a high rejection rate that wants to reach its targeted sales quotas.
If you listen to a song for the first time, chances are you'll forget the lyrics as soon as it stops. But if the song keeps playing repeatedly, you might end up liking and remembering it. Similarly, if you pitch once, your lead might forget about what you said as soon as the call is disconnected.
Where does that leave you? You end up waiting for a call that's never going to come. This sample cold calling script shows how regular follow-ups can improve your chances of success:
Hello, this is (your name) from (your company). I'd love to continue our previous conversation about (the topic) right now. Can you spare a minute to chat?
At this point, the potential client can choose to continue with the conversation or schedule an appointment at a time that you both agree on.
Why it works: From this short follow-up cold calling script, you can see that the previously pre-arranged conversation wouldn't have taken place had the salesperson not followed up. Also, the potential client might agree to listen to the salesperson out of courtesy — but for the right salesman, that's all they need to convert. As time goes by, that lead might turn into a long-term customer.
Every salesperson will tell you that rejections are just a part of cold calling. It's how people handle rejections that determine who's a good salesperson and who's not. In these scenarios, you can choose to push the conversation or provide deadlines and move on if they aren't met.
For example, if you want to drag the conversation forward after a rejection, you can say,
I get that this may not be on top of your bucket list at the moment, but I really feel like this could be valuable for you. We have so many satisfied customers — our testimonials say it all. I would hate for you to miss out on something that could be really helpful for you and your team. Can I just give you a basic rundown?
If they say yes and you're able to share a few details, the key to moving forward will be in the questions you ask. If the client continues rejecting your offers, you can use the following cold calling sample script to handle the rejection:
Hello, it’s me again, (your name) from (your company). I just wanted to follow up and see if you were still interested in our offer. I would love to talk with you about possible next steps.
Why it works: This cold calling script makes the client feel comfortable with a quick discussion. After they're comfortable, you can slowly ease them into a longer conversation or schedule a meeting instead. The second script is a respectful way to gauge whether a hot lead has turned cold. In some cases, the potential clients might be sure that they don't require your products or services. Either way, this script helps you save time and make informed decisions.
Once you get them talking and connecting, you'll be surprised by how quickly their time limit goes away. Try to get them asking questions as well, which is a great sign of engagement.
When cold calling, look for ways to offer value to prospective clients. For instance, if you can find a video, book, or article that you believe is a great resource, you can share it with them. If your company has a content team, you can customize something for your potential clients as a gesture. The following cold calling script shows how putting the person before the sale can help you establish a good connection:
Hello, my name is (your name), and I’m working with (your company). I had our content creation team put together a customized article for you about social selling. The piece is filled with research-backed insights that we believe can help you learn about the latest market trends, empowering you to make more informed decisions in the process.
If the potential client is interested, they'll ask you to schedule a demo or meeting that can allow you to present your sales pitch. You can also ask for a meeting directly:
I would love to schedule a time when we could meet up and go over this together. That way, I can answer any questions or give you a few other ideas. What's a good date and time for you?
In general, the goal here is to show the potential client a gesture. Let them know that you value their business, and you're here to help them succeed.
Why it works: Most businesses usually operate on a quid pro quo basis — meaning that they want something from you, and it's usually from your wallet. Yes, you ultimately want their money, too, but money doesn't have to be your main motivator. What if you were motivated by helping, serving, and problem solving? When you have this attitude, the money follows.
Present yourself as someone who cares about your customers by offering something (i.e., the article) without expecting something in return. You'll find an easier segway into your own pitch, and this option tends to spark a lot more questions. Don't be surprised if they reach back to you inquiring about your services after this cold calling script.
It isn't a guarantee that you will get through to your customer every time you cold call them. When you call a potential client and you find them on voicemail, the message you leave will determine whether you get a call back. Here is a sample cold calling script for voicemail sales:
Hello, my name is (your name), and I work for (your company). I'm calling to discuss some new features of our (products/services) that would be really helpful for your team. Right now, we have limited-time offers available, so I want to make sure you have the chance to enjoy those if you're interested. Give me a call back, and we can set up a time to talk that's better for you.
Why it works: This script works because it gives every detail they need to know regarding why you were calling. It says who you are, what you want, and how they can get back to you. This method is appropriate when you try to reach your potential clients and find them on voicemail.
If you don't have hard statistics or congratulatory messages to pass across, starting a conversation with a stranger can be hard — and this is where creativity kicks in.
One of the most successful ways to build that connection is by telling a short, engaging story. You could talk about how a previous client struggled with a particular problem (related to the one this person might be having) and then explain how you helped solve it.
You could also answer any questions that the potential client may have and make them feel comfortable. It might also be a good idea to try asking them a few small talk questions to break the ice. It can also be helpful to share a little bit about yourself, so they feel like they're talking with a person. Whatever you do, your first impression should leave a lasting impact.
Here's one example of effective, engaging script starters:
● I heard you're having trouble with (problem). You know, I had a client once who...
● How's the weather where you are?
● Did you enjoy your holiday break?
● When you were looking around at our product, you may have been wondering about...
Why it works: Some people are social enough. They won’t turn down a good conversation, especially if they're approached formally. As a salesperson, reaching out to your leads with engaging cold calling scripts can help them figure out problems that they didn’t know they had. Once they trust you, you become their go-to person.
There are chances that the sample scripts provided here might not satisfy your needs. Try to learn the basics of cold calling rather than cram a sample and run with it — different scenarios require specific reactions. The basics of developing successful cold calling scripts include:
● Make formal introductions that set clear intentions
● Help your potential client feel safe and heard
● Do your research about their angle
● Be creative
● Avoid stammering during conversations
● Always practice your script
● Have a laid-out strategy
● Review your calls periodically
With the current growth in technology, cold calling isn't always a preferred option, but it's still effective. Even though it’s not always easy to pull off, learning the basics like proper introductions, doing your research, practicing your scripts, and having a strategy can help a lot.
The scripts we've provided can give you ideas of where to start or how to go about the cold-calling experience. You don't have to use the exact words or phrases; your own creativity and personal touch are probably your most powerful tools. At the end of the day, your goal is to take a completely impersonal relationship and build enough of a bridge to help your customers see the value in crossing.
You also have to know when to press for a sale and when to take a step back. Some of your potential leads are going to be rude — that's how the game is played. But you have to be prepared to react positively and respectfully, no matter the situation.
Smith.ai is a platform with unified solutions to answer and act on every lead. We understand what it means to build relationships with prospects and help you make the most of interactions with your potential customers. Our professionals can help you screen your leads, take calls after hours, and integrate all your engagement through a CRM.
With 24/7 phone answering, live-staffed website chat, SMS texting services, and appointment scheduling, you don't have to worry about your prospective clients. They're in good hands. We even offer outbound sales calls and help you fulfill your campaigns so you can reach your goals.
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