Before I started sales coaching, I worked the phones to book more than 2,000+ C-Level appointments in diverse industries. That experience, and working with sales teams over many years, has identified several problems with sales scripts that prevent them from being as effective as they could be. Thought it would be helpful to provide a list of major factors to review when seeking to punch up phone script effectiveness.
1. Absolute clarity about “what you do.”
If qualified prospects cannot instantly grasp “what you do” they can’t decide if you can help them. Miss this point and they don’t pay attention to whatever else you say.
2. Why are you a better option than a google search?
People who are going to write a check to you or one of your competitors have options. They can easily find and pick those they deem worthy of their time. If you are not perceived to be “top tier” and better than an option they could find themselves, you will not get a meeting.
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3. Do you include hype words?
Cold prospects do not know you. When you throw around words like “best,” “superior,” “#1” or make exaggerated promises, they don’t have enough information to agree or disagree with you, so they drastically discount what you say.
4. Do you use specifics, numbers and facts?
Numbers, client names, truthful representative results. Specifics, which you can later back up, paint a picture for a prospect as to your credibility.
5. Does the script refer to “bottom line benefits” delivered?
Does your script appeal to benefits that matter? Employee productivity, margin, profits, client retention, net new clients and other bottom line type benefits speak to core needs.
6. Are the benefits you offer better use of resources than the other 20 “good ideas” competing for their time and money?
It is not enough to be “better.” Top decision makers have many competing interests for their time. You must be a better investment of time than all the other options on their plate.
7. Do you sound like all the rest?
Do you make it easy for them to lump you in with the idiots? If you say what so many others that have wasted their time say, guess what? You are done. Approach prospects in a fresh way.
8. Are you a peer?
You don’t have to be a CEO to be a valuable resource to a CEO. Neither do you need the same depth of knowledge of those you speak to? As to the issue of whether it is a reasonable use of time for a CEO, VP or check writer to meet with you or a representative of your company, as to that issue, you should speak as a peer.
9. Are you worth their time, even if they don’t do business with you?
Do you convey a value which will be delivered at the first meeting or during the discovery call, that is worth their time, even if they do not do business with you?
10. Do your script paths identify those that won’t meet now, but will write a check to a competitor within 15 months?
Very very important. If you are setting discovery calls, you are probably offering something that companies do not buy or change vendors for very often. Even if you are doing everything right, with long sales cycle sales, the odds of you bumping into someone at exactly the right time is minimal. When prospects say “no,” do you have a plan to identify those that will write checks to competitors shortly?
11. Do your scripts try to sell the meeting, your service or both?
Your scripts can attempt to sell a meeting or your service. But not both. Stay focused on selling meetings, and you get more chances to sell your service. Move beyond that to try to sell your service, and you will sell fewer meetings.
12. Do your scripts appeal to those who already recognize a need?
Appointment setting and prospecting are not about appointment setting and prospecting. It’s all about net new clients and closing deals. Don’t offer a scratch to those that don’t feel an itch. You won’t get far.
13. Are your scripts based upon a “pile of words?”
Many hard working companies and reps will invest hundreds if not thousands of hours using scripts which inadequately communicate their value, credibility and benefits delivered. Insanity. Have your brainstormed the best verbiage to use to communicate your message? Is each component part of your scripts as impactful as can be?
14. Do your scripts give qualified prospects sufficient reason to listen to just a little bit more?
Qualified prospects don’t know you. They have been burned too many times. They are primed to knee-jerk reject you. Even if they have a need, you can solve, and you would be the vendor offering the most value, they are primed to knee-jerk reject you, as they don’t know that yet. Do your scripts in the first crucial 7 seconds make them choke on “we are all set” and keep them listening? In the end, do they feel meeting with you would be worth their time, even if they don’t do business with you?
15. Are your scripts 100% focused on “buyers?”
Some scripts seem to be more focused on having more comfortable conversations with non-buyers, than being focused on enabling “buyers,” those that recognize a need and will write a check to you or a competitor within 15 months, to conclude that you are worth a meeting. When a prospect says “Hello,” your scripts must assume they are buyers and say the things buyers need to hear to conclude that you are worth more time.
16. Bonus Tip. Good scripting is only 25% of the reason why your appointment setting or setting discovery calls program will be successful.
Contrary to popular opinion, good scripts alone cannot get you enough discovery calls. Your scripting is part of an overall effective system. List priorities, coding and segmentation, prospecting velocity, efficiency, call process, knowing when to let go and other factors determine whether you are working an overall process that will deliver more appointment setting or setting discovery call results. Your scripts are just one part of that process.
Good sales scripts will not save you if you are not working a system or your system stinks.