From startups to enterprises, almost every sales team uses cold calling in some form. As one of the most traditional techniques in the sales process, it’s used to gain immediate feedback, build stronger relationships, and create interest in your offering. Even in our technology-centric world, cold calling continues to be the best channel for direct conversations with your potential buyers.
Cold calling is based on a two-variable premise: targeting and messaging. Targeting answers the question, “Who are we selling to?” While messaging answers, “What are we saying to provide value?”
If you aren’t finding success at cold calling, it’s most likely because you don’t have these two points clearly defined. For example, you won’t find much success in cold calling if you are speaking to the wrong audience or saying the wrong thing when you reach them.
Write A Better Sales Script
A well-written sales script is a valuable tool that can help guide the right language, information, and structure needed to have the best conversation possible. Cold calling is about building trust and moving your prospect forward in the buying journey and sales is all about data. A script allows you to have measurable, standardized results you can compare and contrast.
A sales script allows you to provide more value to your ideal customers through micro-adjustments or incremental improvements as you learn more about them or how they use your offering.
We’ve been testing our sales script methodology for the past 5 years, studying the data from over 500,000 cold calls. From that data, we built The H2H (Human-to-Human) Sales Methodology. It focuses on maintaining the highest level of performance (i.e.moving prospects to the next steps) while committing to a human approach (i.e. language and construct) that eliminates customer regret or buyer’s remorse.
The H2H Sales Scripts have a consistent strategy in all channels whether it be a cold conversation over the phone, a gatekeeper conversation, email copy, a sales presentation or demo, a sales closing, or a variety of other sales conversational scenarios. This is the framework we will be using to build your cold calling script.
This conversation structure breaks through the strongest barriers of the “salesperson stigma” and penetrates the shell that has been scarred over hundreds of times – whether that is from TV & Media, personal experience, or societal norms. Developing an H2H Sales Script isn’t just about the first sale, it’s about always selling customer satisfaction.
Who Are We Selling To?
Even if you think you have your ideal customer profile(s) and target audience(s) defined, it is important to take a look at industry competition, and the marketplace and note any changes that could impact your offering or the value you provide. Reevaluate the market and your ideal customer profiles to make sure you are attracting people who will most benefit from your offering.
Cold calling is a one-on-one opportunity, so it is important to know who you can speak with and who might lead you to the decision-maker. Is it one person or are multiple stakeholders or influencers involved that you can contact? Understanding gatekeepers or influencers is important to know before writing your cold calling script.
What Are We Saying?
Even if we compile the best addressable targets, what is the use if we can’t articulate how individuals will find value in your product? Using the right words will lead your prospect down the desired path, putting them in the right frame of mind to listen to what you have to say – so you must choose each one carefully.
The message needs to incite a pain, palpable benefit for the prospect, or an overwhelming reason to move forward. The most important criteria of a quality message or script is to ensure there are at least one tangible benefit and one feature that differentiates the product or service from the competition.
We call the Value Proposition Trifecta, it’s a formula for extracting value from a company’s offering and identifying what the possibilities are for the most poignant message for your prospect. You’ll need to remember these keywords when writing your script later.
- Differentiating Feature- A fact or attribute about an offering that sets it apart or makes it unique to the marketplace
- Tangible Benefit- A result, identifiable value, or an impact to the business that is measurable
- Outstanding Accolade- A ranking, referral, or accomplishment that sets you apart in the marketplace
Cold calling is also about delivery, so before you dial, make sure you understand the key factors that go into a cold call. Understanding pauses, knowing how to mirror or use emotional attunement, and timing are all contributing factors to a mutually beneficial conversation.
3 Strategies of a Cold Phone Call
The first layer of the cold call is the relational or philosophical layer. It answers the question of the cold sales conversation’s purpose – to build trust. We call this the trust umbrella because it covers everything from the start of the call to the end. We’ve developed our trust umbrella to illustrate how each function of a cold call relates to the other.
Critics of the cold call script would say that this is limiting or restricting the creativity within the conversation. In reality, it does the opposite. We can now think outside of the box because we have a construct to work within that moves us all in the same direction towards the same goal.
The second layer is more objective. It covers the different strategies of a cold phone call conversation. These are the goals of the call. We’ve defined them as:
- Spark interest- We have to use words and language that encourage the person on the other end to listen and hear value in what we are calling about.
Here are a few ways we do this:
- Spark interest in the product or service
- Spark interest in how you can help them specifically
- Spark interest in you by building rapport with your prospecting
- Spark interest in the brand
2. Sell the next step, not the product or service-
Building trust slows the sales process. While it’s counter-intuitive, slowing down the sales process in the mind of the prospect can actually speed up their trust in you, your brand, your product, and your process faster.
Understanding the salesperson stigma will help speed trust in other ways, but understanding how to design a sales conversation around a sensible goal is paramount to converting at the highest levels while increasing trust with your prospects.
- Diffuse the salesperson stigma-
Diffusing the salesperson stigma is a strategy for breaking down barriers and rebuilding trust. This manifests itself in quite a few ways along the conversation. Although it’s true that the design of the conversation naturally diffuses more than others may, and that selling the next step rather than selling the product or service diffuses stigma, we’ve found there are still more effective ways.
Objections that arise in many calls have less to do with a product question, and more with the pressure, the prospect feels about committing or being pushed into something that they’ll regret.
The 3rd layer in the Trust Umbrella is the 4CX4 or 4 Components of a Cold Call. This is a framework built for understanding how a human conversation works in an application format. Think of these components as the bone structure of our script strategy. The 4 components are the Quick Prop, the Hone-in, the Next Steps, and the Calling Prop.
- Quick Prop (QP):
- Assumptions. The decision-maker (DM) is not expecting your call & is busy
- Purpose: To move the DM into the right frame of mind to think & keep them on the phone
- Instruction: State what you do and lite feature and or lite benefit
- Hone-In (HI):
- Assumptions. The DM’s business can improve or is experiencing pain
- Purpose: Begin a conversation & identify the use status of the product or service being offered
- Instruction: Ask question directed around pain & ask familiarity with product/service
- Calling Prop (CP):
- Assumptions: There is an opportunity to provide value if the call has gone this far
- Purpose: To spark interest in product or service and speak to their specific pain
- Instruction: Focus CP around answer in HI & use the Value Prop Trifecta
- NXTS – Next Steps
- Assumptions. There is a high probability of interest if the first components completed
- Purpose: Identify next steps
- Instruction: Always ask for the next steps in accordance with the pre-call strategy you’ve already identified
Please note: This specific component order formulates the Consultative Conversation Format (CCF) script which we will talk more about below.
The Conversion Probability Timeline
In the conversion probability timeline, moving from left to right, you see the quick prop, hone-in, call prop, and next steps. The order of the components demonstrates a natural sales conversation progression with a prospect that illustrates the likelihood of a desired next step identified as time increases.
The first two components in the CCF act as a defensive move. Here, the natural law of buyers’ resistance kicks in we assume the prospect feels negative in the first 15 seconds of the conversation. To dig our way out, we must simply get through the first seconds of the call.
Overcompensating and trying too hard to impress them can backfire, so understanding the likelihood of conversion is low in the first few seconds helps us realize how fragile our cold phone conversations really are. It’s about having a clear understanding of the call and being able to properly articulate the goal of the call.
As the needle begins to move to the right, we see the responsibility shift and you’ll have more control over the call. The chances of success increase as you perform well and move through your value proposition trifecta. This is where top cold call performs live – in the calling prop and in the next steps. The more we can live here with prospects, the higher our conversion will be during cold phone calls with decision-makers.