Few professionals seem to appreciate getting a cold call. As a sales rep, you know this already.

And with a 2% success rate, it’s not the most productive form of outreach either.  

Still, making unsolicited phone calls to someone you’ve never spoken with remains an important part of the sales process. Thankfully, with the advent of the internet and social media, you can gather a lot of information about a prospect before you start dialing phone numbers. 

A little preparation can make the cold-calling experience better for both parties — and more fruitful for you, the sales rep. Using proper phone etiquette and having a general cold-calling script for specific situations helps too.  

We’ll go over some scripts and tips that will help you get your prospect’s attention and secure the next step: scheduling an in-person meeting or videoconference.

The cold call has warmed up

Thanks to customer relationship management (CRM) solutions and the treasure trove of information on the internet, cold calling isn’t what it used to be. 

Instead of leafing through business directories, or worse, the Yellow Pages, your CRM may deliver a list of visitors to the product information page on your website. Or you might use LinkedIn’s advanced search capabilities to create a list of top prospects in your territory. Maybe your company pays top dollar for targeted marketing lists. 

However qualified a prospect may be, that first contact is cold in the sense you’ve never spoken before. And when you’re calling a stakeholder or the person who holds the purse strings, the last thing you want to do is go in cold without warming up and preparing. 

3 Things to do before you make a cold call

Before you start dialing, it’s a good idea to do a little recognizance. It will inform your approach for securing an in-person sales call.  

1. Read up on company news 

Searching recent news, press releases, and LinkedIn can help uncover potential opportunities and prospects for your solution. Information you could only gather in the past by calling around within a company is often readily available on the internet today.

2. Identify potential pain points

Suggesting you can solve a specific or potential problem is another way to secure an appointment. 

Of course, you can uncover either through discovery calls with other people in the company. 

But you can find some pain points with tools too. Monitoring your prospect’s social media mentions with a tool like Social Searcher can reveal problems that are impacting their customers. And sales intelligence tools will detail the business processes and technology they already have in place. 

3. Uncover a personal connection 

Spending a few minutes on LinkedIn can help you establish a personal connection with your prospect. Being able to mention you went to the same school, grew up in the same town, or share a volunteer interest can go a long way. 

Or maybe the prospect received a recent award or posted a useful article you can reference. Taking a personal approach when building rapport can differentiate you from other sales reps, especially if you’re offering similar solutions. 

7 Cold calling scripts and tips

When it’s time to start dialing, these tips and script templates will help you get that face-to-face or virtual meeting. 

1 . Make friends with the gatekeeper 

If you’re selling solutions at an enterprise level, you’ll have to get through a gatekeeper before you can talk to anyone at the C level. And as you can imagine, gatekeepers have to talk to sales reps all the time.

But you can differentiate — even endear — yourself by being kind, showing a bit of your personality, or making a connection.  

Here are a few scripts you could try.

Step into the gatekeeper’s shoes:

“[Gatekeeper’s name], I know you spend a lot of time fielding calls from people like me. But assuming I have something great to share that would benefit your organization, how would I best approach [CIO’s name]?”

Give an extra nudge:

“[Gatekeeper’s name], it’s me again. How’s your day going? Any chance for me to grab a minute of [CFO’s name]’s time today? I’ve confirmed with [name/department] that our solutions align with a strategic initiative in your company. 

Inject some personality:

“[Gatekeeper’s name], yep, you guessed it. It’s your favorite sales rep. Thanks for not blocking my number. Any suggestions for another route to take? Is there someone else I should approach on [CTO’s name]’s team?  

2. Start off on the right foot

This first tip’s obvious, but it’s a great reminder when prospecting for potential customers. Make your outbound calls from a quiet place where you know you’ll have a good connection. And when you get someone on the line, speak slowly and clearly. Say your name and the company you represent.

Then pause for a beat to give your contact a moment to recognize that this is indeed a cold call — not a long lost friend or former work associate.  

Here’s your standard introduction.

“Hi [prospect’s name],

This is [your name] with [company name]. How’s your day going?”

3. Respect their time

You can imagine how many cold calls your prospect receives every day, especially if they’re a decision-maker. 

Some marketers would suggest trying to make a personal connection right away — even before explaining the reason for your call. You can certainly make the decision on the fly once you’ve gauged the contact’s tone and demeanor. But it might be better to say: 

“Hi [prospect’s name],

This is [your name] with [company name]. How’s your day going?

I know you’re busy. Do you have a minute for me to tell you what I am calling about?”

This approach shows you respect their time and that you’re not a pushy salesperson. 🤑 And if you called at a bad time, they might be more willing to set a time for a follow-up call. 

4. Be clear about why you’re calling

Assuming your prospect’s given you the go-ahead, give your brief elevator pitch — not for the product or service you sell, but for the solution you provide. Tell them specifically how it would benefit their organization. Sharing the name of a customer of a similar size and industry may pique their interest even more. Here’s an example:

“[Prospect’s name], [prospect’s competitor] also recently migrated their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system from SAP to Oracle. They’ve implemented our [name of product/service], and it has eliminated costly downtime. From what I understand, you don’t have a solution in place for this purpose.”

Then, stop talking and listen. Your minute is up. ⌚

5. Show you’ve done your research

If the conversation continues, ask open-ended questions (related to what you already know about their organization) that will help you uncover potential pains or problems, such as:

 “[Prospect’s name], I see you just got another round of funding. Congratulations! 🎉

I understand that you plan to expand your remote sales force with this latest infusion. Tell me about your plan to support their need for [XYZ].”  

6. Try not to sound scripted 

Although we’ve shared a few sample “scripts,” they’re very general. You really don’t want to sound like you’re reading something word for word. 

The best way to avoid sounding scripted is to write down a few bullet points for each prospect. Here are some examples.

  • Is there anything you wish [name of current solution] would allow you to do? 
  • What are the biggest challenges you’re facing?
  • What are your top strategic initiatives this year?

And then engage in conversation. When you ask open-ended questions, listen for the answer. Ask appropriate follow-up questions and handle common objections like a boss.  

People do business with people, not robots, right? 🤖 

7. Follow up with a thank you 

Once you’ve identified a potential need for your solution and the prospect is interested in learning more, set up that face-to-face appointment or videoconference. 

Later that day or the next, send a follow-up text or email thanking them for their time and reiterate the agreed upon next step. Firm up the details for your meeting.  

“Hi [prospect’s name],

Thanks again for taking time to speak with me this afternoon. I look forward to meeting with you and the other team members on [date/time].” 🙏

Cold call like a pro

Cold calling scripts: Screenshot of the OpenPhone desktop and mobile apps

Cold calling isn’t easy. Thankfully, with so many resources at your fingertips, you shouldn’t ever have to do one. There’s so much you can find out about your prospect before you even pick up the phone that will warm up the call. 

And once you’ve done your homework, the above scripts and tips can help you uncover pain points to shape a value proposition that potential customers can’t wait to learn more about. 

When it’s time to place a call to potential customers, OpenPhone can make the process bearable — some would even say delightful. So check out the No. 1 business phone system that thousands of professionals literally rave about. You can sign up for a seven-day trial in about a minute.

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Amy is a professional B2B writer who drives results for SaaS and marketing brands. Like a chameleon, she instantly assumes a brand's unique voice and delivers content that never bores readers.

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