Let’s face it, if you’re cold calling leads, things aren’t always easy. Today’s leads are harder to reach than ever. Once you do get someone on the phone, you can’t blow your chance to convert.
Even worse: You’ve got less than 20 seconds—maybe even less than 10—to hook your potential customer.
But how do you craft that high-performing cold call script in the first place? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Below, you’ll find some tips on how to guide agents in a starring performance of your Pulitzer Prize-winning outbound sales script.
Alright, we exaggerate. But peruse these call center script best practices, along with the examples of cold calling scripts we’ve provided, and you’ll be on the fast track to boosting your call center ROI—which is its own kind of prize.
10 Call Center Script Best Practices
1. It All Starts with Quality Data
Getting results from your scripts relies on much more than just the right words. So, before we dive into the script itself, let’s back up a moment and look at the source of the leads you’re calling. In the end, your call center will only realize its sales ambitions if it can rely on quality data.
You can have the best cold calling script, but it won’t matter if you’re getting irrelevant contacts or nobody’s picking up.
Outbound call centers need highly targeted lead lists, which can be purchased from a reliable vendor, or nurtured and strategically generated by your in-house marketing department or external agency.
But then how will you know your lead generation practices and outreach strategies are paying off? With effective real-time call center analytics, of course. The best reporting tools will also help you know when a list is a dud, so that you can turn off that list before it hurts your bottom line.
2. Focus on Agent Education and Training
To avoid burning through high-quality (and costly) leads, even when you have the best outbound call script, you need to make sure your team is good and prepared. Here, having a robust framework in place that delivers effective onboarding, initial training, and ongoing coaching to the agents that will be handling outbound calls, including navigating your scripts, is essential.
In addition to this support, dynamic scripting software can provide guidance to agents, in real time, while they’re on the call—but more on that later.
3. Create an Effective Message by Considering Your Customer
What makes a great cold calling script? The short answer is one that converts leads.
But what is it in a script that drives those leads to convert? For starters, successful outbound call center scripts are customizable and well-targeted. They rely on a well-crafted message that doesn’t pitch a product but tells a story.
Find that message that makes an emotional connection with leads by undertaking a little journalistic reflection. Answer the who, what, and why of your sales process to better understand your customers and craft the right message.
WHO are you talking to? Make customer profiles by identifying:
- Interests and hobbies
- Needs and goals
- Most common pain points
WHAT pain point or problem does your product or service solve? How does your product or service help the customer achieve their goals and needs? Identifying these will help you begin to see the world through your target prospect’s eyes.
WHY should this potential customer believe you? Why will your product or service work when other solutions haven’t?
Your message must convince the customer that you understand their problem. So put yourself in their place. Think about the experience that they are seeking, based on what you know about them.
4. Hook Leads with a Compelling Introduction
In the past, while discussing other tips to improve your cold calling, we compared outbound cold calls to bull riding: The first eight seconds are the toughest, but if you can ride it out, you’ll drastically increase your odds of success.With so little time to capture the attention of the lead, your intro needs to hit the bullseye on that first impression. No bull, just get to the point. Okay, no more bull metaphors—just consider the following elements of a compelling introduction:
- End your intro with a question: Asking a targeted question at the end of the intro gives the prospect the opportunity to respond, and the agent the opportunity to listen and learn. Their response will determine the next step in the script for the agent.
- Keep things positive: Train your agents and put it into the script. If the lead you call says they’re not interested or they’re too busy to talk, keep it light, say “no problem,” and see if maybe you can call another time. And at the end of the day, remember the old sales saying, “Some do, some don’t, so what.” Move on.
5. How to Write an Outbound Call Script
As you think about how to write your outbound call center’s scripts, keep these tips on the using the right language in mind:
- Write your script like people actually talk. Pay close to attention to the words you use and make your script resemble casual, natural conversation as closely as possible.
- To that end, avoid overly technical words and catch-phrases. Even if a customer is interested in your product or services, they probably won’t want to feel like they’re on the receiving end of a “hard sell.”
- Use keywords developed in your prep. While you should skip the buzzwords, make sure you hit on the keywords that your customers want or need to hear to be convinced.
- Communicate a sense of urgency, without conveying stress.
- Include clear, concise phrasing around customer needs.
- Use an active voice. People will respond more to the clarity and directness of an active vs. a passive voice. Compare these statements: “Customers save money with our product” (active) vs. “Our product provides savings for our customers” (passive).
6. Script Pathways Starting with “Yes”
Based on your prep work—and once you’ve nailed down your message—you’ll brainstorm and craft multiple potential prospect responses to your initial introduction question. Each of these pathways you design will be automated in your dynamic script so that your agent can guide the lead toward a disposition. (Hopefully, converting to a sale or transfer, depending on your objectives.)
When considering potential customer responses, the positive ones will provide the clearest way forward. Write those first to get the hang of a conversational flow in which everything goes perfectly! Do a victory dance, and then get to work on the portion of the path you need to give the most careful thought to developing.
7. Anticipating Responses and Uncovering Pain Points
When writing your outbound sales script, incorporate attempts to discover your customers’ problems and challenges into the flow. Your agents will be listening for responses based on questions you’ve carefully built into the script and which are intended to help discover this particular lead’s pain points.
Open-ended questions like “What is the biggest challenge you’re facing?” and “We’ve found that our customers often have a problem with X. How do you feel about that?” can help you understand not just what they need but what they need to be persuaded. By anticipating different responses to examples like these, you can design a script that paints a mental picture for customers, enabling them to see and feel what life could be like if their pain points were resolved.
8. Handling Objections: Know What to Say to No
Objection handling (and dealing with the occasional angry call center customer) is simply part of life for agents. Still, you can make life much easier for agents by incorporating effective responses to rejection in your cold call script template.
To do so, pull in everything you know about customers’ objections. List as many as you can think of that may be raised about your product or service. (You’ve probably heard it all, right?) Use these examples to inform a script that’s able to handle those objections.
Sometimes, the best way to handle objections is by getting out ahead of them. For instance, asking potential customers question like these not only shows that you care but can put agents in a position to proactively respond before they jeopardize a conversion:
- Do you have any issues around ______, specifically?
- You mentioned X and seem concerned with this. What do you think about this?
- What’s standing in the way of you making a purchase today?
This last question in particular can help your agent get right to the heart of things. By understanding the biggest obstacles to a conversion, they respond in kind. Teach your agents—and include in your script—effective responses to the four main types of sales objections, which can be easily remembered by the acronym “BANT.” According to Hubspot, this stands for:
- Budget – How much is the prospect willing and able to spend on your solution?
- Authority – Who is the authority figure in this sale? Who makes the ultimate decision?
- Need – Does the prospect have a true need for my product? Is this a universal need on the team?
- Timeline – How much time will the prospect need to come to a purchasing decision?
9. Personalize Whenever Possible
Throughout your script (including during responses to objections!) find places to naturally customize your script with relevant personal information you have about your leads and customers.
Personalizing your calls with information from your CRM will help agents build connection and trust with the prospect. And the data shows that it’s extremely effective. A study by Epsilon found that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences.
As a first step to personalizing calls, use the contact’s local caller ID, which will also increase the chances that the lead will pick up. Ask your call center solutions provider about this capability.
10. Always Test and Tweak
So, you’ve written what you think is a pretty darned good script that accounts for all the objections and responses you’re already familiar with. But once that script is put into play, be prepared to get feedback from agents and to note where things don’t go as smoothly. Are there holes and tributaries on the path that you didn’t anticipate?
You’ll need to adjust. Think of this as a flexible process during which you’ll refine your script as you learn what’s most effective. You may have more than one cold calling script you want to try out to track how each performs.
Outbound Cold Call Script Examples
Still not sure exactly where to get started? Use these outbound call center script examples to get the ideas flowing.
The Initial Approach: Setting an In-Person Meeting
For many outbound call centers, the initial phone conversation with a lead is all about setting a follow-up meeting. That meeting is where you’ll sell your product, not the phone call. For that reason, it’s important to stay light on the product info and focus on setting a meeting. To do so, your to-the-point script might look something like this:
Hello, my name is _____ and I work with [Company Name] . Are you familiar with us? We are _____.
[Note: This moment is a good opportunity to remind a lead how, where, and perhaps why they opted-in to be contacted in the first place. Don’t forget, you’re usually calling your leads because they’ve expressed interest in hearing from you!]
The reason I’m calling is that I’ll be attending a [Event/Meeting] in your city/town and I wanted to stop by to introduce myself and my company. Would you have some time on (Date) at (Time) or (Alternative Time)?
Handling Objections to the Appointment
As we discussed, objections are par for the course. Don’t be discouraged, however. Equip your agents with the right responses. For example, if your prospect tells you to that it’s best to talk to someone else, your cold call script template might include something like:
Great! I’ll be glad to meet with/talk to whomever you recommend, however, my experience suggests that I meet/talk with you for a few minutes. Then, if you’d like to proceed, I’m more than happy to meet up with you wherever you’d like.
As I mentioned, I’ll be in your area on _____ and I’d really like to stop by and introduce myself and my company. I really believe you’ll get value from it. Would you have some time on [Date] at [Time] or [Alternative Time]?
If your lead says that they would rather you send them the information than set an in-person meeting, you might respond to the objection with:
[Prospect Name], great, I’ll be happy to do that. However, the material we have doesn’t cover everything I’d like to tell you in person. It will just take about 15 minutes.
As I mentioned, I’ll be in your area on [Date], would you have some time at [Time] or [Alternative Time]?
Alternatively, suppose your prospect claims they’re not interested, you might respond to that objection by following this outbound script example:
[Prospect Name], I can certainly understand that. Most people don’t have enough info when I call to know whether they are interested or not. In order to give you the most insight for your company specifically, I can put together some material that’s custom-tailored to highlight areas specific to your needs. May I follow up to present that material to you on [Date] around [Time] or [Alternative Time]?
How Dynamic Scripting Drives Engagement
These outbound sales script samples only scratch the surface of potential introductions and responses that today’s businesses can use when talking to their customers. Luckily, with the advancements of today’s call center automation technologies, businesses can use smart, dynamic scripting that accounts for virtually all possibilities.
Dynamic scripting prepares your agents to interact with each specific lead by auto populating dynamic fields you select within the script, such as their first name. It can also prompt agents to a new set of instructions or a different script loaded with CRM data, based on the reaction of the lead.Once you input your script and set up the flow, a predefined page pops up every time a call is connected, prompting the agent to say the correct thing at the correct time. Scripts can be simple with all information on one page, or you can move from page to page based on the lead’s responses.
Dynamic Scripting Boosts Call Center ROI
The automation of dynamic scripting decreases training time, helping to drive call center efficiency, and get agents on calls making money sooner. Managers report seeing agent motivation dramatically improve when using dynamic scripting. With greater call center efficiency, call center agents experience more success more often. The result? More revenue, lower turnover.
To understand the power of this tool, get a demo of Convoso’s dynamic scripting capabilities, powerful predictive dialer software for increased conversations, and other advanced tools for outbound call centers.