3 Steps to Building a Winning Cold Calling Script


Figuring out how to write a cold calling script that actually converts leads into customers can be tough. You don’t want to come across as pushy or sales-y, but you also need to ensure you’re getting your message across. 

At times, cold calling can feel like you’re walking on eggshells when you’ve interrupted an agitated prospect in the middle of their busy day. You don’t want to sound too scripted or fake, but at the same time, you need to make sure you cover all your bases.

We’ve put together this guide to help you build a cold calling script that will supercharge your sales success. With our tips and advice, you’ll be able to create a call script that feels genuine, confident, and witty while still getting your message across loud and clear. But before we can explore the steps to building a winning cold calling script, we need to dispel a popular cold calling myth:

The Cold Calling Myth

When many salespeople think about cold calling, they imagine someone shamelessly calling prospects and aggressively pushing for a meeting. Although some cold callers certainly do behave this way, effective outbound sales callers understand that generating leads and closing deals requires a bit more nuance.

One of the most common myths about cold calling is that it’s just about booking meetings. Yes, in some situations the optimal result of your call is getting a meeting scheduled with the prospect, but there are also other forms of cold calling success. In other words, not booking a meeting doesn’t mean you failed and the opportunity is gone.

Every contact you have with a prospect is, first and foremost, an opportunity to gather information. Rarely does a lead say “no” to booking a meeting without a legitimate reason. Perhaps they’re busy, or they don’t have time to book one right now, or they’re locked into a contract with one of your competitors until the following year and aren’t looking for other options just yet. Writing the prospect off as a bad lead just because you didn’t book a meeting means you lose the opportunity to gather that valuable information and come back stronger next time. Cold calling is a tough business, so keep your head up and never give up on a client just because they said no to a meeting.

Changing Your Mindset – Cold Calling vs Outbound Phone Prospecting

Before you can start creating your winning cold calling script, you need to change your mindset about cold calling. Firstly, don’t think of it as cold calling – think of it as outbound phone prospecting. What’s the difference, you ask? Cold calling is about prodding leads until they give in and agree to a meeting. Outbound phone prospecting is about collecting the information you need to generate and segment leads.

The main difference between cold calling and outbound phone prospecting is that the latter recognizes the fact that contacts you get today can become completions in the future. From bad timing to budget constraints, there are many reasons why a prospect may not want to book a meeting or close a deal right now. Outbound phone prospecting means recognizing unbooked meetings as an opportunity to gather more information rather than as a cold calling failure. Want to get better at cold calling? Stop cold calling, and start outbound phone prospecting.

3 Steps to Building a Winning Cold Calling Script

Now that you’ve changed your mindset, it’s time to build a winning cold calling script. The script needs to be structured enough to give you direction for your pitch but also relaxed enough to be adaptable when your prospect inevitably does something unpredictable. As you become more experienced at cold calling, you’ll develop a unique style and script; but using the three-step Opening – Personal & Purpose – Close framework is an excellent place to start designing your script. 

1. The Opening

Remember when you were a kid, and your parents told you not to be afraid of spiders because ”they’re more afraid of you than you are of them?” 

Well, your cold calling prospects are the same. As much as you’re nervous about calling strangers and trying to get their business, those people are just as nervous about getting calls from you. After all, they don’t know who you are, what you do, and what intentions you have for their business. Modern access to technology has made scammers more creative and prevalent than ever before. So, it’s crucial that your cold calling script begins with a strong opening, disarming their fear and turning it into trust and curiosity.

The best way to do this is by starting a two-way conversation. After introducing yourself, don’t just talk at your prospects. Ask questions in a genuine effort to learn about their business, its needs, and the goals they want to accomplish. By shamelessly pushing your product upon the prospect and “Pitch-Slapping” them, you show that you’re more interested in helping yourself than improving their business with a legitimate product or service.

Your cold calling script opening is also an opportunity to immediately schedule a meeting. If your prospect says they’re too busy, take that as truth, not as an objection. After all, you did call them out of the blue – they weren’t sitting around doing nothing and waiting for your call. Respect what the prospect says, ask when you can follow up, and let them go about their day. 

2. Personal & Purpose

Once you’ve established a bit of rapport with the prospect, and they’re still on the line, you can start getting into the meat of your pitch. The best way to get your point across without making your call feel intrusive is by taking a two-faceted approach: Personal & Purpose.

Personal means using personalized value statements to spark the prospect’s curiosity. A phrase like “I know you probably already have something in place to solve this problem, but let me ask you a question…” demonstrates your ability to put yourself in the prospect’s shoes and understand their business from their perspective. This personalized statement also creates curiosity by taking an unusual approach – acknowledging your competitors instead of trying to make the prospect ignore them.

Purpose means being straightforward about the reason for your call. One of the main reasons why cold callers have a bad reputation is that they tend to use deceptive tactics to get clients. By being honest about who you are and why you’re calling, you can continue building rapport and trust with the prospect. It also allows you to ask if they’ve heard of your company, address concerns, and paint your organization in a positive light.

3. The Close

You’ve created trust, used personalized statements to build curiosity, and have introduced yourself and your product honestly. Now, there’s only one thing left to do: get that meeting!

Start off by telling your prospect that the purpose of your next call will be discovery. The motive behind scheduling a meeting is trying to see if your companies are a good fit for each other and whether you can actually benefit their business. You’re not just trying to trick them into signing the dotted line so you can take their money. Make sure you’re explicit about the fact-finding nature of the meeting.

Once you’ve established the reason for your meeting, you can ask them which time works for their schedule: “How’s next Wednesday at 2 PM?” If that time slot works for them, you’ve got yourself a meeting. Otherwise, ask them if they’ve got a calendar handy and go from there. If they’re not willing to schedule a meeting, you can always grab their email or contact info and add them to your lead funnel for later.

Other Tips for Cold Calling Script Success

Be Consistent

Just because your first few calls didn’t succeed with flying colors doesn’t mean your script is garbage. As much as salespeople hate to accept it, there are countless uncontrollable variables which can determine the fate of your cold call. Pick a script and stick to it for at least a week – don’t switch up your script when the first handful of calls end with the prospect hanging up.

New cold calling scripts require a bit of warming up. Sticking to the same script for a little while will help you identify patterns and determine where you’re losing your prospects. Then, you can start taking steps to improve your script and supercharge your results. Remember, you can’t fix your script if you’re always mixing it up!

Be Confident

Looking and feeling confident is crucial to your cold calling success. When you feel confident, it shows in your tone and in how you speak to prospects. Having a timid and shaky voice makes prospects think that you may be hiding something or your product is no good. 

How can you feel confident even if you aren’t, you ask? Put on your power outfit, sit with good posture, and keep your head high. Making your body look confident creates real changes in your brain chemistry that make you feel and sound more powerful. So, if you’re not confident, fake it till you make it!

Beware the Gaphonetekeeper

Many cold calling and sales coaches encourage their students to befriend the gatekeepers and build rapport. This is horrible advice. Being remembered by the gatekeeper will result in you getting labeled as a salesperson. Then, if you ever call back in the future, you’ll likely get rejected during your introduction. 

Getting transferred by the gatekeeper is the most valuable number you can have. It’s like getting a referral from a trusted member of the prospect’s team – it turns your cold call into a not-so-cold call. When you run into a gatekeeper, ask for a transfer. If that’s not possible, exit gracefully and be as unremarkable as possible. If you’re not remembered, you can call back at a different time with a different strategy and start fresh.

Track Your Results

Take a scientific approach toward your cold calling. Even the most disastrous calls can be valuable if you use them as an opportunity to learn and optimize your cold calling. Document how your conversations go, what happens, and where you lose your prospects’ attention. For example, if you keep running into the same gatekeeper, you may have to pivot to a different approach.

Tracking your results lets you monitor your performance over time and identify what you’re doing right/wrong. From there, you can take concrete and informed steps toward improving your cold calling, rather than just guessing your way through the process. Take the time to track your performance, and your results will improve dramatically in the long run.

Conclusion: Cold Calling Doesn’t Have to Be Cold

No matter how excellent your cold calling script becomes, there will always be some prospects that slip through your fingers. Even the best cold callers in the world rarely have a call success rate higher than 3%. Many salespeople waste hours weekly talking to bad leads, leaving voicemails, and calling wrong numbers. 

Phone Ready Leads® (PRL) helps you save time and supercharge your sales by giving you validated and verified contact lists of responsive prospects whose businesses are ideal for your services. With PRL, you only call people who pick up the phone – spending less time hunting down contact info and hitting voicemails and more time having real conversations with real decision-makers with the power to close deals.

For daily content to help on your cold calling journey check out daily video drops here. We are regularly on YouTube and LinkedIn for some live cold calling, so follow along and catch us in real-time!

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