Eric Wolfram's Writing, How To Sell -- Cold Calling

Getting appointments by Cold Calling and Scripts

The scripts below are based on a book called "Cold Calling Techniques that Really Work" by Stephan Schiffman. To understand the scripts, you'll probably want to read the book. BOOKMARK THIS PAGE NOW.

Tracking data

When selling, it's important to keep track of the numbers. It is important for many reasons. Keep track of:
  1. The number of dials you make
  2. Messages left
  3. People you reach
  4. First appointments made
  5. Number of people who give three "No's".
  6. Messages returned
  7. Number of new leads added to the intranet
We will also be tracking total number of sales visits and number of sales. Eventually, we'll get a handle on the value of our pipeline. Then we can work out how many calls we need to make each day to reach our goal.

Elements of a cold call

  1. Get the person's attention -- saying their name is enough
  2. Identify yourself and your company -- give a commercial for the company
  3. Give the reason for your call -- the objective of the call is to get an appointment
  4. Make a qualifying/questioning statement -- give an opportunity for the lead to respond in kind (ie. favourably)
  5. Set the appointment

Sample scripts

It's important to follow scripts. Here are some sample cold call scripts that we are currently using. Please add new scripts below if you find them to be successful.
  1. Eric's Version
    Hello Ms. XXXXX, this is John Doe from AcmeSoft here in San Francisco. We have helped CitiView Property Management Group improve their customer service to\ the point were they are increasing their portfolio of clients at a rate of 2 properties per week for the last two months and it's not stopping. The reason t\ hat I'm calling you today specifically is so that I can drop by and tell you about our new customer relationship management strategy and how it can increase \ your portfolio of clients. I'm sure that you, like CitiView, are interested in having more properties to manage, right? (wait for positive response) That's\ great, Ms. XXXXXX, I think we should get together. How about Thursday at 2pm?

  2. Initial contact
    Good morning Ms XXXXXX, this is John Doe from AcmeSoft. The reason I'm calling you today specifically is so I can stop by and tell you about our new issue tracking system that helps property managers keep track of their work orders. I'm sure that you, like CitiView, are interested in improving your customer satisfaction.

    (Positive response.)

    That's great Ms XXXXXX, let's get together. How's Thursday at 1pm?

  3. Third party endorsement
    Good morning Mr XXXXXX, this is John Doe from AcmeSoft. We provide a computer system that helps property management companies keep track of the all the outstanding service requests and work orders. The reason that I'm calling you today specifically is that we've just completed helping CitiView Property Management Group here in San Francisco and we were extremely successful in increasing their sales and customer satisfaction. What I'd like to do is stop by next Thursday to tell you about the success we had at CitiView. How's 1pm?

    OR

    "Hi, My name is ... and I've helped CitiView property management get three new customers every WEEK for the past month and it's not stopping! I'd like to se\ t up an appointment to tell you all about it. Is 10am on Tusday good?"

  4. Referral script
    Good morning Ms XXXXXX, this is John Doe from AcmeSoft. We provide a computer system that helps property managers keep track of their work orders. The reason I'm calling you today specifically is that XXXXX just suggested I give you a call to set up an appointment. I wanted to know if Thursday at 1pm would be okay?

  5. Follow-up script
    Good morning Mr XXXXXX, this is John Doe from AcmeSoft here in San Francisco. The reason I'm calling you today specifically is, when we spoke last _________ \ you asked me to call back today to set an appointment. Would Thursday at 1pm be good for you?

Dealing with the gatekeeper

Tell the gatekeeper what you want to speak about to the lead. (eg. I would like to tell Ms XXXXXX about the success we've had with our computer system that helps property management companies.) If you can't get through, call someone else.

Turning around common responses

People generally don't say no outright. They will give a response. The first response is probably not going to be their real reason. It's the second that really matters. Here are some tips for turning round first and second responses. Don't try to turn round more than three answers. At this point simply say: "Okay, I'll call you back later."

No thanks, I'm happy with what I have
It's great that you have XXXXX system. We recently spoke to EBMC and they said that what we had would really complement their current software. You know something, we should get together. How about next Thursday at 1pm.

I'm not interested
Well Mr XXXXX, a lot of people had the same reaction you did when I first called -- before they had a chance to see how what we do will benefit them. We should get together. How about next Thursday at 1pm.

I'm too busy
Ms XXXXX, the only reason I was calling was to set an appointment. Would next Thursday at 1pm be okay?

Send me some literature
Can't we just get together? How about next Thursday at 1pm?

Any other response
Well that's okay; let's get together anyway.

The Ledge

The main reason for calling is to get an appointment. In general, you don't want to spend more than 2 or 3 minutes on a call. What happens if the lead asks a question that leads into an extended conversation? Here are some examples:

Tell me about what you do?

You describe what you do. The lead then says something like: "oh, we don't need that". You reply:

You know, that's what other people said who decided to work with us. We really should get together. How's about next Thursday at 1pm?

We don't want to use a computer system to track issues

You say: "Well, what is it that you do use?" Whatever the lead replies, you can say:

That's great Ms XXXXX, Then we should get together because we work with other companies that have done the exact same thing. How about next Thursday at 1pm?

I don't make that decision.

You say: "Well what do you do? What's your role there?" Whatever the lead replies, you can say:

You know something. We should get together, because we really complement those things you are doing.

I'm the wrong person to talk to?

You say: What do you do? When they reply to that, you either ask for the appointment again or you ask who the right person is.

Leaving a message

This message works 80% of the time for business to business cold calling. That is, leave this message on your prospect's answering machine and the prospect will return your call 80% of the time if you do it right. The following script presuposes that Acme Property Management is a competitor of the lead (that is, the person your calling is in competition to Acme Property Management.)

This is John Doe. My telephone number is 415 641 0342. This is in regard to Acme Property Management.

You can also do that similar thing with a receptionist (a really sharp receptionist will ask for more detail right away.) If you start leaving those messages, just be prepared when they call back. Don't use the cold call script when they call you - they probably think you're a potential customer so let them down slowly :-) Basically tell them that you met with the people at Acme Property Management and they liked what you have so you thought the prospect would want to set up a meeting to talk with them about it.

About This Page
I keep this page to for my own maximum effectiveness. Please feel free to use them and please let me know if anything on this page is misleading, needs updating or additions.

eric@wolfram.org

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