In my May article, “I Love to Cold Call,” I asked for your best cold-calling scripts. I received 65 scripts. I sent everyone who responded an e-mail asking for additional information, and got 24 responses to that. Of these, I have picked some “best scripts” and reproduced them in this article. More scripts and additional tips are in electronic form at www.billgood.com/coldcalling2009. This way you can tweak them and more easily submit to Compliance, and you’ll be on your way to mastering this tough but highly effective prospecting tool.
With that said, most people seemed to be struggling. There is no doubt in my mind that it is much tougher today than it was five years ago. And it was tougher then than it was 10 years before that. The world has changed.
There are some mistakes people are making when they attempt to cold call. In my new book, Hot Prospects, and in my two previous books, I have identified Basic Mistake No. 1: Get a bad idea and stick to it.
Twenty years ago this mistake reduced rookies to rubble. It is doing so today.
With that as a caution, try out some of my “best scripts.” I cannot tell you they will work for you. The script is only one of five ingredients in a recipe that makes up a successful cold-calling campaign. To be effective, all the ingredients have to be there and in the right proportions.
The other four ingredients are:
List. Practically everyone who responded to my request for additional information is using a store-bought list. The first law of lists is: The easier a list is to get, the more competitors have it, the less likely it is to be any good.
Sound. There is such a thing as a professional sound. If you sound wishy-washy, uncertain, tired, bored, sour or have any of a host of other unprofessional sounds, you lose … even if you have the world’s best script.
Numbers. When I am debugging a failing cold-call campaign, my first question is always, “How many calls do you make an hour?” If it’s below 40 per hour, I won’t even discuss anything else. I have to fix that one first. If you’re lolling along making 10 or 12 calls per hour, guess what? You will fail even with the best script, an optimum list and a great sound.
Style. There is certainly more than one way to skin the cold calling cat. I refer to this as “campaign style.” The style is determined by what you want to accomplish on the call. Do you want to sell something? Virtually none of the scripts I received are trying to sell something on the first call. That’s good, because it is a colossal waste of time. Do you want to get an appointment on the first call? A substantial number went for an appointment on the first call. That is almost always doomed. However, I did say “almost.” Or, do you want to offer information? In my opinion, after having trained tens of thousands of people to do this, the best way is to offer information and then “develop” that cold-call lead into a hot prospect.
With this as a frame of reference, take one of these scripts. Get a list, get organized so you can pound out calls, put a smile on your face, and go to work. After a few hours, if it’s not working for you, change one of the ingredients. It does not take forever to find out if a prospecting idea is a good idea or a bad idea. Eight or 10 hours and you should have an excellent idea if you have a dud, or something you can take to the winner’s circle.
Best Scripts 2009
Jason Clowers is brand new in the business and has attacked one of the toughest markets around, “C-Level” executives. Here’s the script he’s using:
This is __________I work with __________ in downtown (City).
How are you?
FirstName, I specialize in working with C-level executives and have become an industry expert in addressing the needs of executive professionals with our suite of services tailored to each client’s specific needs.
What I would like to do is set up a twenty minute introductory meeting to learn more about your business and explain a little more about the value I can provide to you and your financial assets.
I have Thursday or Friday afternoon open. Which day works best for you?
Mark Van Houton with Janney Montgomery Scott uses the following script in calling high-income prospects within a 5-mile radius:
Hello, this is (Full Name) calling from your local, (Place), (Company). May I speak with Mr./Ms. Prospect please? [This is s/he.] Good evening, Mr./Ms. Prospect. The purpose of my call tonight is to help you make your hard-earned retirement income last throughout your retirement years. Many financial advisors are great at helping you to accumulate retirement income; I specialize in making it last for you. With that in mind, could you briefly describe for me your plans for the distribution phase of your retirement assets?
[If open:] I want to make sure you have money to live on in case you live to 95 or 100. Let’s get together next [e.g.] Tuesday and talk about that.
[If resistance:] I am going to send some information about retirement income and call you a week from today.
The following script is compliments of Brooks Canavesi of the Canavesi/York Group in Beaver, Pa. He has a great opening question. I would imagine most people who answer that question will at least request information or set an appointment.
Hello my name is (name) from (Company).
I work with businesses in your area to understand their financial concerns in order to ensure that our services are in line with the current market’s needs. Do you have a few minutes to speak to me about your top 2 financial concerns facing your company?
No: Would there be a better time that I could reach you, or could I send you an email that you could reply to when you had a bit more time?
Top 2 Concerns:
Thank you so much for your time, If I were to come across anything that may solve your financial concerns or at a minimum save your company some money, could I send you that information?
What would be the best way to deliver that information?
Email or Physical Address:
Email: Would you prefer I send this to your business or personal email address?
I have your physical address as: (Address). Is that correct?
Leo Alapon uses Zillow and WhitePages.com to target neighborhoods/streets. He wrote: “This cold calling technique is designed for a second call in person at the doorstep of the prospect. It certainly seems to be doing the job.”
Leo is in a small town. So I cannot tell you this would work in a metro area, but it’s gotten excellent results for him.
May I speak with Mr. Prospect please?
Hi Mr. Prospect, my name is (Name) and I work for (Company) right here in town. Have you heard of (Company)?
Yes: That’s great. Are you already a client of ours?
Is client: Well you are in great hands. Thank you and have a great day.
Not client: Do you work with a good financial advisor?
Happy with FA: I am glad that you have a professional working for your best interests. However, a second opinion is worth your time. I will be in your neighborhood on Tuesday and Thursday of next week, what is better for you? Two or three o’clock?
No FA: Very well, my firm’s service may be a good fit for you. I will be in your neighborhood on Tuesday and Thursday of next week, what is better for you? Two or three o’clock?
No: Well at (Company) we help people in the community just like you reach their financial goals.
Great. I will see you next week!
[Editor’s Note: This article was updated on April 11, 2011 to match Bill Good’s July 2009 column, replacing an online version that omitted some material.]
Read Cold Calling 2012 on AdvisorOne.