I received a cold call from a salesperson that sells payroll processing services and I thought her sales pitch had room for improvement so I thought I would outline how the call went to create a cold call script example of what not to do.


Here is what she said on the call.

I will break down the cold call script example with a little commentary.

Hi Michael, this is [her name] from [company name].

It has been about 6 months since I last spoke with you so I wanted to check in with you.

To have a “checking in” as the purpose of the call is a little weak. I guess if you have absolutely nothing else to say, it is an OK way to open a call. But one way to improve that opening is to pick back up where the last call left off or try to get an update on something discussed on the last call or meeting.

This is what she said next:

How is everything going with your payroll provider?

It is not horrible to ask a “temperature checking” question to see how things are going in a particular area. The problem with this cold call script example is that my answer was “everything is going fine,” and she had nowhere to go after that.

Sure if I had something to complain about to her, she would probably be able to improvise and have something to discuss around my concerns or issues. But I did not have any issues and she appeared to not be prepared for that as she did not have another question to ask. It was kind of like she was betting everything on me having a response where I divulge issues to her, and if I don’t do that, there is no backup or alternate plan.

Another problem with the question she asked is that it is very broad. When she asked me this, even if there was some sort of issue or concern, I would have to stop to think about the entire area of payroll processing and try to think about any areas. That is not only a little difficult to do when being put on the spot, it is actually a little bit of a hassle to stop what you are doing to make a quick assessment.

She could improve this question by either making it a little more specific or sharing with me some common problems to see if I have any of them.

Her next question:

Do you know when you might look at evaluating other providers?

When I said everything was fine, her next response was to ask about when I was going to look at changing payroll providers. Not only is this a bad follow-up question to me saying everything is fine, but if everything is fine, would I have any thoughts or plans to make a change?

The problem here is that she is asking me about making a change, and she has not given me any reason to make a change. Does her company offer value or differentiation over its competition? That is what she should either be talking about or asking me questions about.

My response to this question was that I do not have any plans to make any changes.

When would be a good time for me to check back in with you?

This was the question that she closed the cold call script example with, which, based on our exchange, the real answer is to not check back in, and I said, “I don’t know, I don’t have any plans to change.”

Is it OK if I check back in with you in 6 to 12 months.

At this point, I didn’t want to be a complete jerk, and I said, “sure,” but given that would not be a good use of her time, I probably should have told her to email her info and that I would contact her if I need anything.


Quick Summary

As you can see, this cold call script example did not go really well. And while I am content with my payroll provider and not looking to make a change, this call did not have to be this bad.

Latent Pain
Notice that I say that I am content, but that does not mean that things are perfect or that things could not be better. But maybe I don’t know that, and that would mean that I have latent pain – I have pain, but I am not aware of it.

For example, if my car is getting bad gas mileage and I don’t know that, or I don’t know that there are cars that get better mileage, I may think my gas mileage is OK or that everything is fine.

If she were to ask better questions or share common problems that people have with other payroll providers, it might make me aware that everything is not fine.

What is her value?
What is the reason for me to change from my provider to her? This cold call script example does not communicate that at all.

From what she asked, the only reason for us to talk is if we are planning to make a change. Is that the only reason for us to look at moving to them? Even if we were, there still should be a reason to move to her company over another provider.

What is the value that her company provides? Do they do anything better, cheaper, or more reliable? Do they help to solve any problems that I may be having with my business or other providers? Do they differ in any way?

The Best Salesperson is the One that Asks the Best Questions
Sure, a 2 to 5-minute cold call script example does not provide the time to get into all those details. You would need either an appointment or a presentation-type setting to outline all of that.

But here is the trick for how to get into some of the important details in a very tight window of time. Outline all of your value, pain, and differentiation points. For each point, compose a question that probes to see if the prospect either wants that type of improvement or to solve that particular problem.

Once you have those key questions to ask, you can ask those in that short time window, and if you get an answer that confirms the prospect has an interest or a need, instead of going into a long explanation of all the details, close for the appointment or longer conversation the cold call script example.

We hope this cold call script example gives you some ideas for how to improve your cold calling and sales pitch!