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What’s the best way for businesses to generate leads even with an empty pipeline?

You guessed it: cold calls. 

That said, cold calls aren't what they used to be. Today's reps often rely on cold-calling scripts to do the conversational heavy lifting for them. Not only does this ensure that reps respect their prospect's time, but it also helps reps overcome obstacles, build trust, and ultimately schedule a meeting.

Related: 10 cold-calling tips & techniques for your sales team

A brief history of cold-calling

Traditionally, cold calls are unsolicited phone calls to prospective customers — with the term cold indicating that you’ve had zero prior contact with the prospect.

So, why do cold calls wind up falling short? Well, there are a few reasons:

  1. Sales reps are not ready for the call 42% of sales reps say that a lack of info and preparation is the reason why they don’t perform well.
  2. Sales reps don’t engage with the prospect’s pain points — According to Salesforce, 85% of prospects expressed dissatisfaction over how sales reps conducted themselves during cold calls.

However, there’s no reason that reps should make blind cold calls. With a little help from the ole internet and the sheer number of prospecting tools at your disposal (e.g., Salesforce, ZoomInfo), otherwise ineffective cold calls are transformed informed, effective cold calls, which is a cold-calling script comes into play. A cold-calling script helps bridge the gap between off-the-cuff and on-the-nose, and in turn, guides the conversation no matter the objection or hiccup.

The benefits of cold-calling scripts

Scripts are essential in successful cold-calling strategies and serve as the foundation in structuring your cold calls and, ultimately, improving conversations with prospects. To effectively leverage scripts, sales reps and teams ought to use them as conversational guides instead of repeating the content word-for-word. Think of cold-calling scripts as you would a foundation for a new home: the design is entirely up to you, but a house can’t be a home without the structural integrity of a foundation.

How to prepare for cold calls

The best cold-calling scripts are the informed ones. In other words: doing a little digging (about your prospect) prior to the call makes all the difference. Jeb Blount, the author of the renowned sales book, Fanatical Prospecting, strongly believes that preparing (also known as prospecting) is the number one factor in successful B2B sales.

Combine prospecting with in-depth research, and you’ll have a recipe for success. The goal of your research is to know your prospects like the back of your hand — nearly 70% of buyers are more likely to make an order if the sales rep has made an effort to build a relationship and rapport with the customer. Be sure to make a note of essential company details, recent developments, or potential pain points that could aid your conversation.

  • Company details
    • Names
    • Industry
    • Product or service offerings
  • Recent developments
    • Social media updates
    • Current events
    • PR notifications
  • Pain points 
    • Company reviews

How to draft the best cold-calling scripts

But before you or your reps hit the Net or phones, there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind when crafting a cold-calling script.

  • Be considerate with your greetings — respect your prospect’s time.

Today the average person has an attention span of 8 seconds — so you want to capture your prospect’s attention right off the bat. Provide your prospect with a brief introduction (name and title at the company) followed by a concise statement to explain why you’re calling. Ideally, in less than 8 seconds, your prospect should be able to know who you are, what your company is doing, and that you’d like to help them solve a pain point.

Sample script:

“Hi, Erin. I’m John from Lucidpress. We’re a brand templating platform that empowers B2B companies to create effective sales materials quickly. I’m calling to see if we can help your company.”

Don’t bother asking filler questions like “How are you?” or “Is this a bad time to call?” Your prospects are busy, so be direct.

If you find yourself being re-routed to an assistant instead of your prospect, be courteous and honest. And remember — know the names of your prospects (and their assistants) beforehand so you can start on the right foot and build trust right off the bat. For example:

“Hi, there. Is this Devon speaking? I’m John from Lucidpress, and I’m looking to get in touch with Erin from sales. Could you connect us?”

  • Communicate value — ask questions to overcome obstacles.

Now that you’ve got the prospect’s attention, it’s time to ask a tailored question. This shows you’ve done your homework and helps build trust with prospects. More importantly, these questions help you confirm pain points and offer potential solutions.

For example, say your prospect is a chief marketing officer, and you’re calling them to talk about your company’s CRM, an ideal question would be as follows:

  • How do you feel about the effort it takes to manage clients with your current CRM?
  • What would you say is the most important benefit you’re looking for in managing your leads?

Avoid closed-ended questions during this stage of the conversation. It’s better to let the prospect spill out their problems than to wrongly assume their pain points. Plus, it keeps the conversation flowing and prevents proverbial doors from getting shut unexpectedly.

That said, should you encounter an objection, don’t dismiss it. Address it head-on by asking an open-ended follow-up question:

“Hi, Erin. I’m John from Lucidpress. We’re a brand templating platform that empowers B2B companies to create effective sales materials quickly. I’m calling to see if we can help your company.

What would you say are your biggest challenges in ensuring your sales team get the content and materials they need to convince leads?

Since your team isn’t experiencing any major content hurdles, would your team benefit from having additional access to branded collateral — like, customizable one-pagers or letterheads?”

  • Come to a mutual understanding — build trust and rapport.

Once you’ve uncovered your prospect’s pain points, leverage your company’s value proposition as a means of alleviating these pain points. Doing so showcases how you’re uniquely poised to solve these problems. 

Be sure to articulate how your company explicitly to solves their problem — so, save the introductory elevator pitch for another day. Your prospect should get the feeling that you genuinely understand and sympathize with their challenges, not that you’re trying to pull the wool over their eyes. For example:

“Hi, Erin. I’m John from Lucidpress. We’re a brand templating platform that empowers B2B companies to create effective sales materials quickly. I’m calling to see if we can help your company.

What would you say are your biggest challenges in ensuring your sales team get the content and materials they need to convince leads?

I empathize with the source of your frustration. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like your team is having trouble finding the right materials to close their sales. A lot of our clients deal with the same hurdle — getting the collateral you need to close a sale can be tough, especially when you don’t have enough resources on deck.

Now that I think of it, we work with a handful of companies like yours. Most have found our platform to be easy-to-use, while the template gallery reduces production time and puts the power of content creation in the hands of your sales reps — that way they can focus on curating the perfect content for their clients. Do you have platforms or services like this in-use?”

From here onward, let the prospect primarily do the talking. Ask a smattering of questions, but you want to ensure they feel heard. Some good questions to ask at this stage include:

  • Tell me more about your problem or current solution.
  • How does this affect the performance of your business/team?
  • What is stopping you from finding a solution to this problem?

By peppering these questions throughout the conversation, your prospect winds up inadvertently emphasizing a myriad of reasons why your company would be a valuable asset to them — teeing you up for the perfect pitch.

  • Be bold — ask for the meeting.

The end goal of any cold call is simple: set up a meeting with your prospect. And there are only two rules in asking for a meeting: set a time and a date. Make it easy for your prospects to say yes. Instead of saying, “Can we connect tomorrow or sometime this week," try saying, Can we connect this Thursday at 1 pm?”

Giving them a specific time and date makes it hard to say no, and it lowers the chance of that meeting getting delayed, which can happen when sales reps don’t have a definite timeline in mind.

A complete cold-calling script example

Curious what a complete cold-calling script example looks like? Check out our example below.

“Hi, Erin. I’m John from Lucidpress. We’re a brand templating platform that empowers B2B companies to create effective sales materials quickly. I’m calling to see if we can help your company.

What would you say are your biggest challenges in ensuring your sales team get the content and materials they need to convince leads?

I empathize with the source of your frustration. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like your team is having trouble finding the right materials to close their sales. A lot of our clients deal with the same hurdle — getting the collateral you need to close a sale can be tough, especially when you don’t have enough resources on deck.

Now that I think of it, we work with a handful of companies like yours. Most have found our platform to be easy-to-use, while the template gallery reduces production time and puts the power of content creation in the hands of your sales reps — that way they can focus on curating the perfect content for their clients. Do you have platforms or services like this in-use?

Can you elaborate more on that?

How are you currently handling the problem?

How is this affecting the performance of your sales team?

Thanks for letting me know about your concerns, Erin. I’d love to swing by and explain how Lucidpress can help you with your sales team’s content concerns. Would this Thursday at 1 pm be a good time for me to stop by?

I’ll also send an email to you shortly summarizing our call today.”

Use cold-calling scripts to boost your sales team’s performance

By now, you should feel confident in your personal or your sales reps’ ability to craft effective cold-calling scripts. Alternatively, we recommend conducting a cold-calling script brainstorm session to customize your reps’ scripts further and boost team morale. As your reps periodically cold call new prospects, be sure to make a note of any objections or obstacles they encounter as these tidbits can further improve your cold-calling strategy down the line. And as always, feel free to share your cold-calling scripts or conversation tips and tricks.

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Author Bio

Monique Seitz-Davis is the Sr. Content Marketing Specialist for Lucidpress. Her areas of expertise include copywriting, content marketing, and brand strategy. When Monique's not writing, you can likely find her trail running or rabble-rousing with her dogs.