If you’re doing inside sales, you know that a phone call can be an incredibly effective tool to reach out to potential customers and close deals.
One hour after coming up with the idea for ElasticSales—the on-demand sales company we launched before Close.io—we had already created our first sales script.
We didn’t waste time on market research, a website, or a name. We wanted to validate the idea as quickly as possible, so we got on the phone.
Our goal was to close 1 deal in 4 weeks. Instead, we landed 7 paying customers in 14 days. We even had to reject customers because we didn’t have enough capacity to service them.
What was our secret? A great sales script.
Hi, my name is Steli Efti. I’m calling some startups in the area to find out if they are a good fit for our beta program.
What we do in a sentence is we provide companies with a sales team on demand.
Does this sound generally interesting to you?
We established context right away. It seems like a no-brainer to start with your name, but you’d be surprised how many people ignore this step. Forget your pitch for a second. You need to let prospects process who you are—otherwise, there’s zero chance they’ll pay attention to anything else you’re saying.
Some salespeople recommend small talk after the introduction—“How’s your day going? Is it raining there, too?”—but that’s bullshit. Maybe small talk sets a friendly tone, but who has time for that? You’re interrupting prospects on a busy day. Get to the point. Prove that you value their time.
We chose these words carefully. In one sentence, we were able to let our prospects—Silicon Valley startups who’d raised a few million dollars in venture capital—know:
We chose “good fit” over “customer” for a reason: these were exploratory calls. And “beta program” because many prospects were in tech. It was a subtle way to let them know that we spoke their language.
The details of your script will ultimately depend on your target audience, but keep these ideas in mind as you write your own.
This was our elevator pitch. No bullshit. No fluff. The key to a great elevator pitch is clarity and brevity. Try to keep this to one sentence. If it takes thirty seconds to explain what you do, that’s a problem. Prospects don’t have patience, especially during cold calls.
We cared how they responded to this question, but it never really mattered what they said.
The truth is that neither of us had enough information to decide whether the call was a waste of time. I still had a few qualifying questions (see below) to decide if they were a good fit for our beta, and they still had time to decide whether to continue or hang up the phone.
Here’s the other reason why this question was important: it gave prospects an opportunity to say no. If the pitch didn’t sound interesting and they weren’t able to verbalize a quick objection, they’d be thinking, “How do I get off this call?” for the rest of the conversation. I’d never get any information out of them. The early no actually allowed me to keep the conversation going, even if it was only for a few more seconds.
Now that we’ve covered the opening lines, let’s take a look at the overall cold call script structure:
You’re not using sales scripts correctly. When you mindlessly read your lines, you’re going to sound like a robot. But scripts aren’t meant to lock you into a conversation. They’re meant to help you:
My advice? Learn to love the no. When you understand what kind of no they’re giving you, that’s half the battle. Make a lot of calls, so that you get really exposed to a lot of prospects. (The right technology can help you accomplish this with less effort—which is why we built our predictive dialer right into our sales CRM.)
Be sure to create an objection management document, so that you’re ready to address any objections they send your way. You’ll hear these two pretty frequently:
To work around the time objection, provide value early and often. If you use this sales script, you’re already doing so in your opening lines.
And when you’re asked to send an email, say: “I certainly will, but so I know exactly what to include in that email, can you tell me…”
Then just follow up with your first qualifying question.
There are few things more important to your long-term sales success than a winning script, so apply what you’ve learned here.
And remember: creating a winning sales script is a never-ending process. If you regularly revise your script, you’ll keep finding new ways to close deals. This doesn’t have to take a lot of time—just set aside 15–30 minutes every month for a focused sales script session with your team. Even if you only do it once a year, that alone can make a huge difference to your bottom line.
Download your free sales script template and get started right away.
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