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16 cold calling scripts and what you can learn from them

One of the most effective tools you have in your arsenal as a sales rep is cold calling. It’s a direct line to finding out what’s important to prospects, what challenges they face, and what they need to convert.

By Stephanie Lee, Staff Writer

Published September 14, 2021
Last updated September 29, 2021

Contrary to what you might expect, potential clients are often receptive to cold calls. A study by Rain Group found that 82 percent of buyers are open to booking meetings when sales reps reach out.

Nevertheless, cold calling and discovery calls can be terrifying for many sales reps. You’re trying to sell a new prospect on a product they know little or nothing about. And you don’t know if you’ll upset them by calling or if they’ll shut down the conversation before you get a chance to explain.

Cold calling scripts: 16 actually useful ones

To help you figure out what to say to prospects, we’ve gathered 16 cold calling scripts from a number of our favorite sales resources, including Rain Sales Training and First Round Review. These scripts cover a wide range of scenarios, so you have a template for all types of cold-calling situations.

  1. Gauge interest before diving in

    Before launching into your script, check to see if it’s okay to proceed with your potential buyer. Giving them the option to say no shows that you respect their time.

    Throughout the following script, the sales rep checks in by asking sales questions.

    Sample cold calling script

    Hi [PROSPECT NAME], this is David from [COMPANY NAME]. How are you?

    We’re working on some solutions that will help you to recruit and train new members of your marketing team. Is that something that you would like to learn more about?

    (Prospect says yes).

    There are two different ways that companies can work with us. We can help you find new marketing talent for a percentage of the base salary, or we can help you train new members of your marketing team without online virtual digital marketing training programs. These programs teach your new team members the ins and outs of digital marketing and allow your teams to define the channels they study. Which one of these would you like to hear about?

    (Prospect chooses the option they are interested in).

    Great. I have a few questions that I will need to ask before we get started. Is that alright?

    (Prospect says yes, and you ask predefined qualifying questions so you know what aspects of your products and programs to present in your sales presentation.)

    I’ll tell you a bit more, and then we can schedule an appointment before we end the call today to go over our solution in more detail. Does that sound good?

    Source: RiseFuel

  2. Set time expectations

    From the beginning of your call, let the prospect know the expected length of the conversation. Knowing how long the pitch will last, prospects will be more likely to commit to the call. Make sure you stick to the time limit you mention to avoid losing the prospect’s trust.

    This script leads with the time expectation of two minutes.

    Sample cold calling script

    [PROSPECT NAME], have I caught you at an okay time? (If they say yes): Great, thank you. I would like to take two minutes to tell you why I called. If at the end of two minutes you have any questions, I’d love to answer them. If not, you can just let me go. Okay?

    (If prospect says okay):

    OK, great. The reason I called is that I read through your website, and I know you are recruiting sales staff. It can be a challenge to, number one FIND the right people, and two, to KEEP them on board once you have them. Because of our experience (using our proprietary software) and the skill of the people we hire to do all preliminary screening, we have a slightly better than 90-percent success rate—helping our clients hire sales staff who become top-tier producers within the first year. And as you might guess, successful salespeople tend to stay put for a long while. Do you currently have a system in place that gains you the salesforce you need to meet your company’s demand?

    Source: Eventual Millionaire

  3. Identify the prospect’s biggest challenge

    Start your pitch by asking questions about the prospect’s pain points. You’ll be able to identify specific ways your product could help this prospect and tailor your sales pitch accordingly.

    In the following script, the sales rep asks about the prospect’s challenges first. Later, the rep explains how the product could solve their unique problem.

    Sample cold calling script

    Hi, Erin. I’m John from [COMPANY NAME]. We’re a brand templating platform that empowers B2B companies to create effective sales materials quickly. I’m calling to see if we can help your company.

    What would you say are your biggest challenges in ensuring your sales team get the content and materials they need to convince leads?

    I empathize with the source of your frustration. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like your team is having trouble finding the right materials to close their sales. A lot of our clients deal with the same hurdle—getting the collateral you need to close a sale can be tough, especially when you don’t have enough resources on deck.

    Now that I think of it, we work with a handful of companies like yours. Most have found our platform to be easy-to-use, while the template gallery reduces production time and puts the power of content creation in the hands of your sales reps—that way, they can focus on curating the perfect content for their clients. Do you have platforms or services like this in use?

    Source: Lucidpress

  4. Highlight product benefits

    Introduce examples of how your product or service solves a pain point. For example, reference current customer data to determine common pain points prospects face. Also, review buyer personas and their corresponding pain points. Match prospects to each persona to figure out which product features to talk about.

    This cold calling script highlights three key benefits that the sales rep’s company offers.

    Sample cold calling script

    My name is John Smith and I am with [COMPANY NAME], we’re a [INSERT TYPE OF COMPANY].

    We’ve been scheduling brief phone calls to introduce ourselves and share best practice information. We’d like to tell you how other [INDUSTRY] companies are:

    1. Protecting their global shipping operations and ensuring continuous cash flow

    2. Achieving the best possible efficiencies by connecting all [BLANK] disciplines

    3. Using to create competitive differentiation and capture market share

    Do you have 30 minutes this week to discuss these benefits further?

    Source: Rain Sales Training

  5. Showcase what differentiates you from the competition

    Incorporate key points that set you apart from your competitors. Know your competition so you can offer rebuttals and showcase what differentiates you. But always be respectful of your competitors—prospects may have used them in the past (or currently be using them)—and leverageconsultative selling.

    The script below shows a way to handle questions about how you compare to the competition.

    Sample cold calling script

    If the prospect asks, “Is this like [COMPETITOR NAME]?”

    Oh! You’re familiar with [COMPETITOR NAME]. TalentBin is similar but is actually the original pioneer in the industry—with the richest functionality, the best data sources, and the most automation—which is why TalentBin has won the most industry acclaim and awards! Given your familiarity with the space, it seems like a demo would be very helpful for you to further complete your knowledge.

    Are you available [DAY] or [DAY] next week for a 30-minute demo? I promise it will be worth it.

    Source: First Round Review

  6. Use social proof

    Social proof, like testimonials and reviews, is a compelling sales tool. According to Nielsen, 70 percent of people trust consumer opinions posted online by strangers. Pretty basic sales psychology.

    The following cold calling script highlights current customers, similar to the prospect, that already use the product being sold.

    Sample cold calling script

    “Hey there! [SALES REP NAME] from [COMPANY NAME] here.

    You’re hearing from me today because it looks like your organization loves to focus on honest, superior customer service. At [COMPANY NAME], we’re all about that, too. We’re backed by awesome customers like [Customer 1] and [Customer 2], and [Social media proof].

    These organizations typically see [Results] (Consider prospect needs/wants, such as increased sales, cost savings, etc.) within [Time] after implementing with us.

    [Prospect’s first name], I would love to connect with you about your specific needs and what your resources currently look like. I also have a suggestion for how to [Result]. Give me a call back at [Number] if it’s convenient for you, or feel free to reply to the email that I will be following up with. Thanks!”

    Source: G2

  7. Mention if it’s a referral

    Ninety-two percent of people trust recommendations from peers. Get prospects to take an interest in what you have to say by sharing the experiences of people they know.

    This template not only showcases benefits but also names the referrer. An approach like this makes the benefits more meaningful—the prospect knows the referrer and hopefully trusts their judgment.

    Sample cold calling script

    Hi [PROSPECT NAME],

    [NAME OF REFERRER] and I are seeing great results with [YOUR COMPANY]’s marketing and sales force automation at the moment and, when talking about who else would benefit, your name came up.

    Congratulations on securing investment/your new acquisition/[ACHIEVEMENT]. What you’re doing at [PROSPECT COMPANY] is impressive!

    I’d love to show you how we’ve helped [NAME OF REFERRER] generate [RESULT] and how we may be able to do the same for you. Would this be of interest?

    Source: Keap

  8. Show that you did your research

    Prospects don’t know you well, so you need to give them a reason to trust you. One way to gain trust is to show how much you know about the prospect’s business. Find creative ways to learn about your prospect’s company and their needs. For example, use LinkedIn or the company’s website to learn about current events. Show that you’re interested in their business.

    Use the script below to put prospects at ease and build instant rapport.

    Sample cold calling script

    Hi [PROSPECT NAME],

    “I notice you used to work at [PAST COMPANY]; how did you find the culture there?”

    “I saw that you studied at [UNIVERSITY]. A friend of mine also went to school there!”

    Source: Keap

  9. Share powerful stats

    Share data that relates to your prospect’s pain points. For example, if a prospect wants to improve their productivity, tell them how your product helps them do this.

    The following script features an impressive stat early in the conversation. Once the prospect hears how much the product has benefited other companies, they will likely be interested in learning more and ask questions.

    Sample cold calling script

    “Hi, I’m [SALES REP NAME] from the office of [COMPANY NAME], and [FOUNDER’S NAME], the owner, asked me to call and give your company a tool he created that has increased sales at companies like yours by as much as 40 percent. To be sure that I’m not wasting your time and that I can actually help you, tell me, how many salespeople do you have?” (Wait for answer.)

    “What are your two biggest recurring problems you’ve experienced with salespeople?” (Wait for answer.)

    “If I could accomplish half of what I’ve stated, a 20-percent increase in sales, would you make time to see me?” (Wait for answer.)

    “Other than yourself, who else would be involved in the order to understand how you might use this product?” (Wait for answer.)

    “When is a good time to get your full attention for about 18 minutes?”

    Source: Grant Cardone

  10. Ask questions

    Ask key questions to understand each of your prospect’s needs better and show that you’re genuinely interested in helping them. By asking questions, you’ll be able to tailor your pitch for the prospect you’re speaking to.

    In the following cold calling script, the sales rep asks the prospect a question to gauge their hiring needs.

    Sample cold calling script

    Hi there!

    This is [SALES REP NAME] at [COMPANY NAME]. I wanted to reach out because we’ve been helping staffing agencies like yours identify backdoor hires.

    Are you familiar with backdoor hires, or have you had many at your agency?

    Prospect: Yes, we are familiar with them, but we don’t do much about it because we don’t know how we’d go about it.

    Yeah, we hear that quite a bit. It sounds like a demo with our Account Director [NAME] might make sense—do you have 20 minutes on [DAY] or [DAY]?

    Source: First Round Review

  11. Highlight product efficiencies

    Show prospects they’re missing out on efficiencies by not using your product. Explain which product features address these inefficiencies, and give examples of current customer wins.

    This next script uses a shocking stat to show prospects how much companies lose by not using the product.

    Sample cold calling script

    Hi there!

    This is [SALE REP NAME] at [COMPANY NAME]. How’s your day going?

    The reason I’m calling is that we develop software that notifies recruiters when clients hire their candidates and forget to tell them. Last year, we found over 4,200 missed fees across just 120 customers.

    I’d love to set up a time for you to speak with our Account Director [NAME] because I think we can identify fees you’ve already earned. Do you have 20 minutes on [DAY] or [DAY]?

    Source: First Round Review

  12. Tell an engaging story

    Capture the attention of your prospects by sharing the outcome of a customer success story. Talk about the problem they experienced—choose a problem similar to the prospect’s—and explain how you worked with the customer to solve it. Only use this approach when the prospect says they have time to discuss. They won’t be receptive if they’re pressed for time.

    The cold calling script below tells the story of an industry issue and how the product helped find a solution. The language is descriptive and paints a vivid picture for prospects.

    Sample cold calling script

    Hey there!

    It’s [SALE REP NAME] from [COMPANY NAME].

    (Pleasantries. Weather. Sports team. Personal tidbits.)

    So, I’m calling because I know that [ACCOUNT NAME] hires quite a few (software engineering/design/health care) professionals.

    Monster recently acquired a company called TalentBin. Did you see that news?

    Prospect responds with, “Yes, I did.”

    Got it! So TalentBin develops tools used by recruiters to find talent. And it does this by crawling the entire Internet for activity that those folks engage in. Because these sorts of candidates are highly employed, recruiting them often requires a passive-candidate outreach approach.

    But at the same time, these folks tend to not spend time on professional social networks like LinkedIn. Finding them there can be problematic. Unlike recruiters and salespeople, they just don’t spend time there.

    However, these sorts of professionals do spend time other places online, leaving trails of information about what they do professionally. TalentBin scoops up all of that information and makes it recruiter-ready.

    As a result, TalentBin identifies more of these professionals than any other sourcing tool on the market. It makes it easy for you to reach them directly by providing personal contact information (like personal email addresses) and social communication vectors (like Twitter, Meetup, Facebook, and so on).

    Pretty nifty, eh?

    Source: First Round Review

  13. Utilize your industry expertise

    Prospects want to work with a salesperson who understands the industry and offers relevant solutions. Show off your expertise by referencing recent customer successes and industry awards.

    The following script mentions developer platforms, which indicates the sales rep’s knowledge and experience.

    Sample cold calling script

    TalentBin identifies more professionals than any other sourcing tool on the market. It makes it easy for you to reach them directly by providing personal contact information (like personal email addresses) and social communication vectors (like Twitter, Meetup, Facebook, and so on).

    Pretty nifty, eh?

    Yeah, what’s more: In a given geography, for instance, say TalentBin will have five to 10 times the number of Ruby, Java, .NET, iOS, and Android developers compared to LinkedIn and will have oodles of personal email addresses for those candidates. This is because TalentBin has crawled GitHub, Stack Overflow, Meetup, Twitter, and many other sites where those engineers hang out.

    Source: First Round Review

  14. Explain next steps

    Even if a cold call goes well and the prospect was engaged and asked lots of questions, you can still lose the connection. Don’t close the sale—instead, explain the next steps so prospects know what you need from them.

    The sales rep in the script below explains the next step—booking a demo—at the end of the call.

    Sample cold calling script

    Because of [ACCOUNT NAME’s] current hiring characteristics, I feel that this is something that would be very impactful to your business. I would love to set up a walk-through demo for your team with myself and my TalentBin product specialist colleague to dig in more.

    Are you available [DAY] or [DAY] next week for a 30-minute demo? I promise it will be worth your time.

    Source: First Round Review

  15. Be polite yet persistent

    If the prospect says they’re not interested, don’t immediately lose hope. Restate the benefits of your product or service for their company. Prospects will voice more common sales objections, but calmly explain what you can do for them. Don’t be aggressive or pushy.

    In the script below, the salesperson reaffirms their belief that the product will help the prospect. They’re polite but direct.

    Sample cold calling script

    Are you available [DAY] or [DAY] next week for a 30-minute demo? I promise it will be worth your time.

    If the prospect responds, “I’m not interested,” deflect and articulate value. Drive them towards a demo.

    [PROSPECT NAME], I wouldn’t be on the phone with you right now if I didn’t strongly think that this could help [ACCOUNT NAME] hire more people faster, with less cost and less work on the part of your recruiters. [In the case of an agency, “And ultimately make ACCOUNT NAME more money.”]

    I promise you that this sort of technology is going to be industry standard. By deferring consideration of it, you’re putting your business and your ability as a recruiter at a disadvantage.

    Source: First Round Review

  16. Prepare for strategic follow-up

    Try to set up the next meeting during your call. Sometimes, prospects will deflect and ask to connect through email when they can look at their calendar. If you follow up by email and they don’t respond, be persistent. Following up multiple times is normal–63 percent of prospects have to hear your pitch three to five times before they trust it.

    The example below shows how to capture email addresses and book sales follow-up meetings in the call.

    Sample cold calling script

    In case the prospect deflects and asks for an email or says it’s not a good time:

    “Can we find [AMOUNT OF TIME] next week to talk more?”

    If the prospect says to send an email in order to get off the phone:

    “Yeah, that’s not a problem. What’s the best email to send that to?”

    The prospect gives you their email address.

    “Great, I’ll send you an email and include some possible times. Just so I send over reasonable times, is there a day that works better for you?”

    The prospect tells you day(s) that are most ideal.

    “Typically, mornings or afternoons?”

    The prospect chooses either morning or afternoon. Pick a specific time on a day mentioned in either the morning or afternoon.

    “Great, [DAY] at [TIME] works for me. I’ll send you a calendar invite as a placeholder.”

    Source: G2

Use cold calling scripts to build your customer base

Cold calling scripts are an incredibly helpful tool for introducing your products to prospects in a friendly, informative way. Start by following the templates closely to minimize nerves. As you get more comfortable, take note of the language that seems to resonate well with the prospects you call. As you find opportunities to refine the scripts, you’ll find that your cold calls lead to more qualified prospects.

The sales landscape is evolving. Leaders recognize they need to shift the way they support teams.

Our 2021 Sales Trends Report surveys leaders of 800 companies on what they think the most important sales trends are right now.