Is Your Cold Calling Script Effective?

Last Updated Jan 15, 2010 3:03 PM EST

Here's a quick way to test whether any cold-calling script will actually convert sales leads into sales prospects.

Call up your cold-calling script on your screen. Call up a clock application (or just use your wristwatch.) Read the script aloud as you would say it over the phone, while keeping half an eye on the clock.

Then ask yourself the following five questions:
  • Question #1: Does it, within the first 5 seconds, politely identify you and your firm?
  • Question #2: Does it, within the first 10 seconds, establish respect for the prospect's time? (E.g. "Did I catch you at a bad time?")
  • Question #3: Does it, within the first 20 seconds, give the prospect a compelling reason to speak with you?
  • Question #4: Does that compelling reason consist of a quantifiable customer-oriented benefit?
  • Question #5: Does it, within the first 30 seconds, obtain permission to continue the conversation?
Here's a real-life example:

Hi, John. Jim here from Acme Cost Control. [Question #1=YES] Did I catch you at an okay time?

John, I'm sure you're busy and I want to respect your time, so I'll be brief." [Question #2=YES]

The reason for my call is this. We just saved Universal Transport an additional 12 million dollars in shipping costs, so I thought it was important to reach out to you, since every company has an obligation to their customers and shareholders to reduce expenses as much as possible. [Question #3=YES, Question #4=YES]

I don't know if you have a need for our services, but with your permission, let's talk for a few minutes to determine if there is anything we're doing that could benefit you. Would you be comfortable spending just a few minutes with me on the phone right now, if I stick to this timetable? [Question #5=YES]
Because the answer to all five question is "YES", this is an effective cold-calling script.

The above is based upon a conversation with Keith Rosen, author of Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions. His thoughts on sales motivation were recently featured in the post "Sales Goals Can Be Your Worst Enemy."

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