What We Have Covered in This Article
- 1 What is a cold call script?
- 2 Questions to gain information
- 2.1 Questions to validate the knowledge
- 2.2 A word to the wise: Asking the right questions
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Last Updated on August 8, 2018 by Editor Futurescope
Despite the rapid development of technology, making an outbound call is still the easiest way to capture leads and add them to a company’s sales pipeline. Oftentimes, companies are using online cold calling software to optimize the workflow of their agents.
To end up with a positive result, every sales call should follow a specific outline — the script. It is an essential element of every outbound call and a fixed rope of every salesman which helps them qualify the lead, clarify their needs, and refute the objections. Good scripts increase a likelihood of positive outcome while great scripts make the sale happen. In this post, we’ll discuss the five essential elements of a cold call script and share with you some other tips that help salespeople all over the world close more deals.
What is a cold call script?
A script of a cold call is a structure of the conversation that sales agent uses as a guide when contacting a prospect for the first time, trying to pitch the product or service, or scheduling a meeting for further interaction.
The script should be viewed as a training guide that helps agents gain experience and implement best sales practices to achieve company’s business goals. It enables them to feel more comfortable every time they talk to a prospect and gives them a sense of control and security. Sales newbies often follow the script verbatim, but the ultimate purpose is to become less dependent on it and develop confidence while selling on the phone. Experienced agents become more capable of improvising, and eventually, some of them consult the script occasionally while others don’t use it at all.
The structure of effective cold call script
A typical script for a cold call has five sections:
- greeting and getting past a gatekeeper (if any);
- establishing the connection (explaining the prospect who is calling, building rapport);
- description of the perks the of product/service on offer;
- scheduling an appointment;
- refuting objections.
Greeting and establishing the connection
Sales agents have around 15 seconds to capture the attention of their prospect. If the latter does not feel intrigued by then, the closure opportunity can be considered missing. Therefore, the introduction or the beginning of a phone conversation is arguably the most important part of every sales call. It must be brief and clear so that the prospect would understand who he is talking to.
The agent needs to make sure that everything he’s going to say is intriguing enough for the prospect to keep listening. A good idea would be to give a little clue about the perks of the product in the introduction already so that the person wouldn’t hang up before hearing the pitch. Also, the first minutes of such conversation give the agent an opportunity to ask questions and gather intelligence about the prospect which can be used later during the sales pitch.
Description of the perks
At this stage, sales agents give more details about the product or service they are selling. The description of benefits is only relevant to people if it gives them the value. One good piece of advice for an agent is to use “you-statement” instead of “I-statement” during a pitch. This will shift the spotlight from the product to the customer and their needs. Also, the agent should research every prospect before making a call. Even the basic information from LinkedIn can be sufficient to understand what benefits would be the most relevant to a particular person. There is much more to sales pitching that this, but one thing every salesman should remember is that they must do their homework before making any outbound sales call.
Scheduling an appointment
Since cold calls rarely presume selling the product or service on the spot, closing a prospect typically means convincing them to agree to a face-to-face meeting, during which the agent’s persuasive skills shall come into a full force. When the prospect is curious about what the sales rep has to offer, finding the right time won’t be a problem. If the people don’t feel any value, they refuse or hesitate. In this case, the agent must try to change their mind during the next stage.
Closing an appointment is a critical part of the conversation. At this point, the agent either moves closer to transforming the prospect into the customer or loses them for good. The script is especially handy at this point as it provides agents with answers to the most common objectives, such as “not interested”, “already have similar product”, “not buying right now”, or “just send me an email”. When the sales agent is ready for that, he knows exactly what to say and how to rebut each objection. Reasonable arguments and confidence in voice can convince the person that the product or service is really useful and worth their money.
Better questions — higher sales
Any experienced salesman will agree that questions are paramount. Asking the right questions is not a rocket science, but there are a couple of things sales agents need to know that will help them establish a meaningful dialogue with customers.
Sales qualification questions: The essentials
Time is money, and it is critical that agents use it effectively. Questions accompany sales at all stages, but they are mostly concentrated at the beginning of a conversation when qualification of the lead takes place. Simply put, lead qualification is the process of gathering intelligence about the prospect. At this stage, the agent verifies the extent to which the prospect corresponds to the ideal customer profile of their company. Based on the received answers, the sales rep can either structure the pitch in sync with the needs of this customer, or move on to another prospect.
Asking questions for the sake of asking won’t work. Only questions with specific intent can lead to positive results. Generally, there are two major types of questions that sales representatives ask. They are categorized in accordance with their ultimate purpose: gaining information or getting validation.
Questions to gain information
This is the “who, what, why, where, when, and how” of each potential client. Such questions are aimed at providing the agent with all the necessary information about the prospect. To find out as much as possible, the agent has to demonstrate genuine involvement and curiosity. It also matters how the sales rep structures questions, whether one focuses on the right things, etc.
Questions to validate the knowledge
The sales rep should ask validation questions to check an understanding of the information that they gathered prior to making a call. Validation questions can be asked individually to confirm an understanding of the customer’s values, needs, available resources, internal structure, etc. Yet, they can also bring on some additional questions for gaining information. Validation questions are crucial because they show that the agent has taken time to learn more about the company’s business.
A word to the wise: Asking the right questions
Be moderate in your efforts
Naturally, you would prefer to talk about the customer’s budget, the structure of their team, who the decision maker is, how they organize the workflow, what tools they use, and why they do what they do, etc. However, an excessive interviewing can make the person feel as if they are being pushed to make a purchase. This is not a good feeling to cause in prospects if you`re looking for a long-term engagement.
Avoid yes/no questions
Sales reps must be journalists to some extent. Try to avoid close-ended questions in cases other than clarification or validation of previous assumptions. The questions that require short “yes” or “no” answer are great for gathering general information, but they don’t usually help in developing engaging conversations.
Favor reflective-listening questions
Such questions, as opposed to close-ended ones, are great for demonstrating interest and engagement. For example, if during the conversation the customer mentions a problem they face, reflective questions may encourage them to tell you more. In turn, you’ll be able to identify their needs much better and structure your pitch accordingly. The more you learn about the prospect, the easier it becomes to close the deal.
Stay clear and coherent
This one is simple. Just make sure that customers literally understand what you’re saying. Very often, salespeople use complicated figures of speech in an attempt to sound more professional. In the best case scenario, the prospects simply won’t get it. In the worst one, however, they will mistake you for a cocky salesman from a pretentious company, and you’ll never talk to them again.
Don’t read from the script
People hear it when you read from the script. As it was already mentioned, the script is not meant to be reproduced verbatim, but you can always take a pen and rewrite some passages. Change questions to something that would sound more like you, replace generic phrases with more human-like language. It is absolutely ok to customize it.
There’s no guarantee that after implementing these tips the sales of your product/service will grow by leaps and bounds in a fortnight. However, following them will significantly improve your communication with leads during calls, enable you to qualify them more accurately, and help you develop the most effective sales pitch.
In this regard, a well-written script is a half of the sale’s success. It serves as a guide for an agent and gives them more confidence during a conversation. Use these tips to improve your script, connect with your customers, and boost your sales.