Your agents are the frontline of your sales and lead generation operation. Call center sales scripts need to prepare them to handle all the action effectively and efficiently. They need to help them make every single call count.
Despite the stakes, you’d be surprised by how many contact centers (even high-volume ones) have their reps more or less winging it with their costly leads. But how can you optimize when all you do is improvise?
If this sounds at all familiar, or you just need to freshen up your messaging, this guide’s for you. Below, we break down 10 outbound call center script best practices, each of which is essential for creating scripts that not only engage and persuade but reflect the unique voice and objectives of your call center.
Dig into these business-critical calling tips to build winning call center sales scripts from the ground up. (And don’t forget to stick around to see the technology that will help you bring it all together and start scaling your growth.)
10 Best Practices for Outbound Sales Call Scripts
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 outbound sales 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.
3. Create an Effective Message by Considering Your Customer
What makes a great call center sales 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, we’ve compared outbound sales 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 to stay positive—and put positivity right 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 how to use the right language in mind:
- Write your script like people actually talk. Pay close 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 catchphrases. 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.
- Create 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 develop.
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 call center sales 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? Everything from the “I’m too busy” objection to “it costs too much.”) 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 questions 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 outbound sales script you want to try out to track how each performs.
Supplement You Call Center Scripts: 4 Tools to Make the Most of Your Outbound Sales Calls
You can have the best scripts in the world, but without the right contact center technology, you’ll still be leaving sales on the table. Bring your call center’s outbound sales strategy full circle by supplementing your top-notch call scripts with these must-have technologies for today’s teams.
Comprehensive Caller ID Reputation Management
If you can’t get leads on the phone, your scripts aren’t going to matter. They’re also not going to matter if the leads that do answer the phone do so thinking that you’re a spammer or scammer.
Boost your contact rates, protect your business’s reputation, and start the calls off on the right foot with the help of dialer software offering effective caller ID reputation management solutions that:
- Allow you to monitor the health of your phone numbers across major carriers
- Manage the resting, remediation, and replacement of your negatively affected caller IDs
- Enable call cadences and intelligent strategies that help you avoid Spam Likely labels in the first place
Granular, Real-Time Reporting Tools
The best DID management tools give you transparency into your caller IDs’ health. But how your DIDs are faring is far from the only thing you need maximum visibility into.
Today’s call center sales teams need to be able to change directions on a dime. That means having deep reporting and analytics tools that deliver granular insights—we’re talking list-by-list reporting and more—in real time, as the action is unfolding. Make data-driven decisions and drive complete contact center optimization with reporting solutions that help you understand how your leads, agents, and dialer are performing at all times.
AI-Driven Quality Assurance
Can you understand how effective your scripts are? What about specific parts of your scripts? Are your agents actually following them?
If you can’t answer this question—or the answer is “only partially”—then you’re missing out on some of the most powerful use cases of artificial intelligence in today’s call centers. AI-powered QA software can monitor, record, transcribe, and evaluate all of your calls, not just some of them. And it can identify trends, empower better agent coaching and training, and drive drastic improvements in call center productivity.
Even if you’re maximizing your contact rates, in today’s world, you’re likely missing out on many customers. That’s because customers now interact with businesses over an array of channels—and it’s up to you to reach out to them on the ones that they prefer.
Implementing an omnichannel outreach strategy, with calls, texts, and emails all working in tandem is crucial to success for today’s outbound contact centers. And using automation in the process can be crucial to making it happen.
On the one hand, sales call centers can utilize automation on dialer software that offers intelligent workflow dialing tools. Build effective, rules-based cadences that incorporate multiple channels seamlessly, and then let your dialer automate those cadences as your agents focus on sticking to scripts and making sales.
On the other hand, teams can go one step further with the help of AI. An intelligent virtual agent (IVA) like Voso.ai can help teams not only automate their cadences but also their routine conversations. Use conversational AI SMS and voice capabilities to take repetitive conversations of agents’ plates and schedule appointments, drive callbacks, and even pre-qualify leads.
The virtual agent will deliver more quality leads to your agents—and your agents can close them with their new and improved call center sales scripts.