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  • Writer's pictureMatt Aird

How to Write a Cold Call Script that Converts 7% of the Time

We make a lot of cold calls. Our client SDR teams are making in excess of 10,000 calls every week. That’s a lot of dials and a lot of conversations with potential prospects. So we like to think we know a thing or two about crafting cold call scripts that convert. If you can get your script converting 1 in every 15 times you speak to a target prospect, there’s nothing stopping you from absolutely dominating your market. What I hope to do in this week’s blog is show you some of the frameworks we use when building scripts for new clients.

The objective of a cold call

The objective of all of the calls we make is to get qualified prospects interested enough in what we’re representing that they’ll show up to a 30 minute meeting with a salesperson. So there are two parts to this, understand whether they’re qualified, and get them to agree to a meeting. Everything we put in the script is designed to help us achieve these objectives.

The anatomy of a cold call

Let’s first look at how a cold call script is designed. At Science we break our cold call down into four main parts, the intro, the hook, the question and the close. This gives us a nice tidy structure for conceptualising how we’ll get a prospect to engage with us. Each part of the script is designed to keep the prospect engaged enough that the call continues. Much in the same way that good copywriting is about getting the prospect to read the next line. It’s all one step at a time.

The Intro

There are a number of intro’s we tested over the years. There are three standouts that all work well regardless of who the prospects are. These are:

  1. Hi {Name}, I haven’t caught you at a bad time have I?

Why it works

This intro is doing two things, the first is asking for permission to continue. All of our intros are structured as a question to the prospect, we want to get permission from them to continue the call. This makes them feel more in control and more likely to hear you out. The 2nd factor at play here is that we’re asking for a “No” response. Notice here that if the prospect says no, that’s a good thing, it means we can continue the call. Prospects feel much more comfortable giving no responses to Sales People than Yes responses. No is easy, yes is hard.

  1. Hi {Name} I’ll be completely honest with you this is a cold call, do you want to hang up now or can I get 30 seconds to explain why I’ve called you.

Why it works

In this example we’re using a pattern interrupt, telling the person it’s a cold call. Salespeople often try to hide their intentions, being upfront with a prospect allows them to feel in control, they know there’s no hidden agenda, all the cards are on the table.

  1. Look I know I’m an interruption but can I get 20 seconds to explain why I’ve called.

Why it works

By pointing out the fact that you’re an interruption, that the prospect didn’t expect your call, you’re showing a level of understanding and insight into the prospect's situation. This is again helps to differentiate you from the other sales people they’ve spoken to in the past.

So in summary here, the key to the intro is to get permission to continue the call. We’ve found the best way to do this is to use an opener that the prospect may not have heard before. Don’t ask how they’re doing, don't ask about their day, just get cut through with a unique statement and ask for permission to continue.

The Hook

The hook is the next chunk of the call script. What we’re trying to do here is to very quickly and succinctly paint the picture of the better future we create for our clients. The two keys here are to make it relevant to the prospect and also clearly describe what it is you can help them to do.

You want to do this in as few sentences as possible. Here are a couple of examples:

  1. We help electricians get paid by their customers within days of finishing the job, not weeks

  2. We help outbound sales teams get 20-30% dial to connect rates

  3. We know the most important factors to engineering firm profitability is resource allocation and managing project financials

The Question

The next part flows directly from the hook and it’s a question that’s designed to highlight to the prospect that there is possibly a way to achieve the desired goal (the Hook), that they have not thought of. This ideally creates some intrigue from the prospects side and will allow us to get deeper into the conversation. Example questions that follow the hooks above are shown below:

  1. What are you doing at the moment to reduce the time it takes to get paid? Have you introduced on-site payments? Have reduced payment timeframes or something else?

  2. What are you doing to improve dial to connect rates? Are you looking for mobile numbers? Do you have a system telling you which prospects will answer their phone? Or something else?

  3. What are you doing at the moment to track project profitability, is this done in spreadsheets or do you do it retrospectively? Or do you have some automation to help with this?

Notice in each of these questions we’re introducing the concept of a new and improved way to better manage their problem. In the first example we introduce on-site payments. In the second example we introduce a system that tells you who will answer the phone. The third we’re introducing an automated way to track profitability.

After the question you need to map the possible directions the call could go. Think about all of the main ones we look to address on the first cut of the call script are:

We use X?

In these responses you’ll want to think about all of the way’s your prospect might think they solve the problem at the moment. Do they use a competitors solution, will they handle this in excel, will they manage it internally? How do they think they currently solve the problem?

Once you have all of the alternatives think about a follow up question you can use to make the point even clearer. Here’s an example:

“We use excel to do that”

“Ah that’s great, yeah Excel is a good solution, what we often hear though is that when things get really busy, keeping these excel sheets up to date gets neglected and when that happens, all transparency is lost. Have you ever run into that issue?”

Not Interested

Here’s a standard response we use to this

“Totally get it. You’d call us if you had this issue right. Just out of curiosity though is there someone else in the organisation for whom this might be a higher priority?

Not Me

Here’s the response for Not Me

“Ah sorry Jane. Any idea who might be better placed to discuss this with? Great, would it be okay if I mentioned you pointed me in the right direction?”

Not Now

Here’s the response for Not Now

“Yeah fair enough. When might be a better time to discuss this kind of thing with you Lucy?”

The Close

After you’ve navigated the question section and gauged that there might be some interest it’s time to transition to the close. We’re fans of making this a soft close. Here an example:

“Well it sounds like what we do might be a fit, would it be a terrible idea to spend 20 minutes on a zoom call with me so I can show you exactly how we’ve helped companies like Acme and Ford reduce the time they spend on that by 30%. Not for now, but just in case it comes in handy at some point?”

So, pull all of these pieces together and you’ve got a killer cold call script that will convert on around 1 in every 15 conversations.

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