You start breathing shallow as the phone dial tone rings. A small voice in the back of your head hopes that the person on the other end doesn’t pick up the phone.

Then it happens.

“Hello?” You’ve just connected and your prospect has answered your call. It’s your opportunity to shine, confidently show your value, and get them begging to hop on a discovery call with you.

But, your worst fears present themselves.

You fumble your intro, you speak gibberish when you try to recover, you hear a long sigh on the other end of the line as your prospect realizes what this is….a sales call.

Just as you begin to gather your composure, they utter the dreaded words…”not interested.”

The silence is deafening as you run through several different scenarios.

You can feel your co-workers staring at you as the warmth of embarrassment fills your face and then your body.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could approach every cold (or warm) call with a calm, confident tone and demeanor?

Imagine persuasive words just pouring out of your mouth as your sales call turns into a serenade of your prospect. You can hear the excitement on the other end of the line as they think and then verbalize…”This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!”

Cold calling doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, cold calling can be effortless, rewarding, and even….fun!

In this article, I’ll explain how you can turn dreaded cold calling sessions into an activity that generates a predictable pipeline by writing and using an engaging cold call script.

What makes cold calling hard

If you go into a cold calling session unprepared, you’re destined for failure. First off, most people won’t pick up the phone when you call.

Second, once they do pick up the phone you have only a short amount of time to capture their attention.

Once you’ve captured their attention you have to quickly demonstrate value and convert the call into a meeting on the calendar.

How you use the short amount of time that you’re offered on a prospecting call is what separates great prospectors from everyone else.

How you can make cold calling easier on yourself

The #1 reason people don’t use their time effectively when cold calling a prospect is because they aren’t using a script.

Would you ever give a presentation or a speech on stage without having some form of a framework for what you’re going to say? Of course not.

So, why would cold calling be any different?

Even if you do have a script it most likely isn’t good. A lot of sales scripts tend to be old and outdated.

Sales scripts need to be written in a particular way to gain the attention of a prospect, keep them engaged, offer them something valuable, and compel them to take action.

Although the best sales script in the world won’t be of any use if it isn’t delivered well. Tonality is the most underrated aspect of selling on the phone and perfecting your craft as a salesperson.

Since the majority of interpersonal communication is non-verbal, tonality is the 1–2 punch of your delivery. This is especially true for inside sales because you don’t have the added benefit of being able to use body language to influence your prospect.

But, more on tonality later.

Right now let’s get into what makes a great script.

What all great cold call scripts have in common

You must focus on practicing sound fundamentals during your cold calling sessions by using a well-crafted script. Without a solid script, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

Great script + Great delivery = Success

All great scripts have one thing in common — They are structured in a way that gets the prospect’s attention, keeps them interested, persuades them to desire what you have, and compels them to take action. That’s it. That’s all there is to a great script.

The only thing you need to focus on is keeping them on the phone and earning more time so you can get to the next step.

How to write an engaging cold call script

Now we’ll walk through the building blocks of an effective cold call script.

The first part of your script should quickly capture the attention of your prospect. You need to fill them in on who you are, why you’re calling, and why they should care within the first 3–5 seconds of being on the phone with them.

As soon as you cold call someone they are looking to put you into a box as soon as possible.

The A pile = I should care about this

The B pile = I shouldn’t care about this

You want to get into the A pile as fast as possible.

If you’re not able to hook them within 5 seconds or less, you’re going to get turned down.

Do you like the person at a party who only talks about themselves and any time you attempt to bring up a different topic they steer the conversation back towards them? No one does.

The same thing goes for when you’re cold calling a prospect. To be interesting to others we have to be interested in others.

The best way to capture a prospect’s interest is to talk to them about things that they care about and could be of value to them.

If you’re cold calling someone you should have a general idea of the type of value you can provide to them and you should use that to get them interested.

A great way to get someone interested is to use specific facts, examples, customer success stories, use cases, etc. that you have in your arsenal.

You have a short amount of time to keep your prospect hooked and engaged. People don’t want to hear about theory and platitudes.

People want to hear specifics and concrete evidence about what you can do for them. Anything else is just “fluff.”

After you’ve got their interest you want to build desire in the prospect. You’ve gotten their attention, piqued their interest, and now it’s time to get your prospect to want what you have to offer.

Manufacturing desire in a prospect out of nowhere isn’t possible. You must channel existing desire and build it to a point where the prospect is deeply engaged and is seriously interested in what you have to offer.

A great way to build desire in a prospect is by using future pacing. Future Pacing is a technique where the client is asked to imagine him or herself in the future in a given desired situation.

The given situation is the topic, problem, challenge, or limitation that you worked with your client on.

You want to get the prospect thinking, feeling, and experiencing what their lives (personal and/or professional) would be like after they have used your product/service.

Straight up asking your prospect to imagine themselves in a certain situation may be a little cheesy.

There are two ways that you can handle this:

1. Ask them to explain what the positive result you can provide would do for them

When you do this you allow the prospect to explain to you in their own words exactly how what you have to offer would help them.

2. Tell a story about a similar prospect you’ve helped

This will allow you to avoid making assumptions about how you can help your prospect. They’re giving you the answers!

When you tell a story about how you’ve helped a client who’s similar to them, they have no choice but to put themselves in the shoes of your success story.

When you tell a story, have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Explain the problem the client had when you encountered them, the client’s goal(s), how you helped them, and their results.

If you can explain that clearly and succinctly then you’ve all but persuaded your prospect to move onto the next step.

Even the best delivery up to this point can be ruined with a weak or non-existent call to action. Once the prospect desires what you have to offer you need to get them to take action.

The best way to do this is to make a strong, low-risk ask of your prospect. If you’re cold calling someone, you most likely want more time from them.

Instead of asking for a 30-minute meeting, ask for another 15–20 minutes where you can give them more information about what value you can bring to them and then tell them that they can make the decision on whether or not it makes sense to continue the conversation.

This is a strong call to action because it is direct and specific. It also is low-risk for the prospect because it gives them an “out” in case they want to end the discussion in the future.

Make sure that you always end the conversation with definite next steps and that you manage expectations with your prospect.

Your Delivery — Tonality, Confidence, Objections, and Rebuttals

Using a strong script that’s written the right way is critical to success. What’s even more important isn’t what you say but how you say it.

The best script in the world will do nothing for you unless you deliver it in the right way. Using the proper tonality in your delivery of the script is crucial and can make or break how successful you are with cold calling.

Using the proper tonality and confidence as well as being able to handle objections with effective rebuttals are also skills that you must develop to be effective at cold calls.

Wrapping Up

You should never cold call without using a script. Whether it’s written down or memorized you should have a specific talk track that you follow when you start a conversation with a potential client.

Using the wrong script can be as bad or worse as not using a script at all. A proper cold call script grabs the prospect’s attention, gets them interested, encourages them to desire what you have to offer, and then compels them to take action.

Do you use a script when cold calling?

Let me know in the comments below!

Originally published here.