“I don’t need to use a cold call script” is what a lot of sales people will say or think when the subject of a cold call script s mentioned. And when someone says this, it is usually because they either think that scripts are for junior sales people or for those that work more in an inside sales role.
But the reality is that all sales people can benefit from using some sort of a script and this includes those that have years of experience and/or work in outside sales.
If I thought like those that oppose cold call scripts, I could easily conclude that I do not need a script as I have a lot of experience and I am more of a business owner than an inside sales person. But we can actually take that conclusion to the next level for me as my business is centered around cold calling. I teach others how to cold call better. I wrote a book on cold calling. I developed a software application centered around what to say and ask when cold calling. I have made and analyzed thousands of cold calls.
Based on all of that, I surely don’t need to use a script when I cold call someone, right? – Wrong, we all can benefit from using a sales script and here is a breakdown of recent cold call of my own to demonstrate this.
I was calling a Director of Inside Sales looking to create establish a conversation that might lead to talking about SalesScripter (generate a lead). I have built a cold call script for this campaign in SalesScripter but was making calls without having that script in front of me or without reviewing it prior to making calls.
Here is the intro and I am OK with how this went.
Me: Hello [Prospect], this is Michael Halper, I am with SalesScripter, have I caught you in the middle of anything?
Prospect: I am just reading some emails before me next meeting, what do you have?
I began to get off of course with the value statement that I delivered.
Me: OK, well the purpose for my call is that we help Directors of Inside Sales to shorten the ramp up time of new sales hires, improve under-performing sales staff, and decrease sales staff turnover.
Me: I am not sure if you all need help in those areas and that is why I am reaching out.
Prospect: We are actually good in all of those areas.
What I said here was OK but it is not the value statement that I have in my cold call script and this is a good example of how you can begin to get off track when not using any type of guide when making a call.
In my script, my value statement is:
We help sales managers to improve the performance of every sales person on their team.
In what I ended up saying, I listed out some of the main benefits of SalesScripter for a Director of Inside Sales. And that is good but what I ended up giving him is an opportunity to easily object to continuing by scratching off everything that I listed out off his list of things that he needs.
Maybe the shorter, more vague value statement in my script would have created more intrigue and/or presented less of an opportunity to shut me down.
Dealing with His Objection
One of the key things that having a phone script can help with that it can often help you to be more prepared for how to respond when a prospect has an objection.
My response to this prospect’s objection was:
Me: Oh, you are not concerned about any of those areas.
Prospect: No, we have a team of good people that are all performing really well. We are not real concerned with getting resources trained or turnover.
Me: OK, well sounds like you all are doing pretty good over there. I will let you get back to it then.
The problem with what happened here is not that I got shutdown by an objection; the problem is that I did not respond in the way that my cold call script suggested I respond. Here is the response in my script:
(OPTIONAL) And I want you to know that we are not trying to sell anything at this point.
(OPTIONAL) I am not even really sure if what we have is a good fit for you. That is why I had a question or two, if you have a couple of minutes.
(Redirect to one of the qualifying questions)
If I could ask you real quick:
- Do you feel like it is challenging to get new sales hires ramped up and performing?
- Do you feel like all of your sales resources are saying and asking the right questions when talking with prospects?
- Are you concerned about the amount of under-performing sales resources that you regularly have?
- Do you feel like you know how to get all of your sales resources consistently saying the right pitch when prospecting?
- Do you feel like you are getting everything out of your sales resources that you can in terms of sales performance?
- Are you concerned with the amount of time and cost that it takes in order to get new sales resources trained and ramped up?
- Are you content with the level of leads that your sales resources a generating?
- Are you concerned with the impact that sales staff turnover is having on your results and costs?
- Do you feel like your resources are performing well enough to consistently hit your sales targets?
- Do you feel like you are getting the most out of your comp plan?
- Would getting more recognition in your organization be of interest to you?
- Do you find it difficult having to deal with under-performing sales resources?
- Do you ever find yourself stressed and challenged by managing your sales resources and trying to get them on the same page and producing?
Would that response of created a lead for SalesScripter or closed the deal? No. But what it likely would have done is kept the conversation going, or more so established a conversation.
From his answers I could have possibly found great opportunities for more discussion and that could potentially present a reason to create a lead and schedule a deeper conversation. Or I might have validated that he was correct in that they do not need the help that we can provider. Either of those outcomes are much better than him shutting me down without and having a brief conversation.
Focus on the Right Goal
One of the main mistakes that is made while cold calling is that we try to focus too much on selling our product or service. This is not an optimum path as there is not enough time to effectively do this. A better goal to focus on is to simply try to have or establish a conversation.
I bring this concept up because I know how important this principle is and this is one of the first things that I focus on when training sales people. And yet, since I did not have my cold call script in front of me, I forgot to maintain this mindset and that led to the call being brought to an end by the prospect.
You can see this with how I responded to his objection.
Me: Oh, you are not concerned about any of those areas.
This type of response is basically me having this type of mindset – “I have product to sell. Do you need to buy me product. You don’t need to buy it. OK, there is no reason for me to keep talking to you then.”
This is the wrong mindset as I my goal is not to sell SalesScripter, it is to have conversations with Directors of Inside Sales. That is what I should have been trying to do and with that in mind, that would have impacted how I responded to the prospect’s objection.
If I would have simply had my cold call script either in front of me or at least fresh in my mind, I would have likely stayed closer to the right path. This might not have changed much on this call, but when you spread that approach across a number of calls, you will end up with better results.
The Key Takeaway
As you can see by going through that reflection, I would have performed better on this call by using a cold call script. And if a guy who has years of experience, has made thousands of cold calls, has trained people on how to cold call, has written books on cold calling, and has developed cold call script writing software, if he can be better by using a script, just about any sales person can benefit from incorporating a cold call script into their sales process and methodology.