Different cold-calling scripts produce different results.

In a recent Research article, I promised readers if they would send me a script, I would send an individual review.

In this article, I’m going to review two scripts that attempt to set a first call appointment. The first has a chance of success. The second has no chance. I have rewritten them both and posted them online. I have also posted a copy of “The Greatest Script.” After all these years, it’s still the greatest.

First Call With Law Firm Partners

This one has promise. My commentary is in parentheses.

The advisor who sent it wrote: “I only call from 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. They usually pick up the phone and I don’t have to deal with the gatekeeper.”

Me: Hello _____, my name is Adam Ames with XYZ Advisors. How are you doing tonight? (I do not ever ask how they are doing.)

I wanted to see if I could have 30 seconds of your time to explain why I am calling? (I would skip this paragraph altogether. It’s apologetic. Not a good first impression.)

I work on a team here at XYZ. We work with individuals like yourself and we show them how to achieve tax-free income during retirement. Next time I am at your office would you be interested in learning more about this?

Bill’s Rewrite

(Note: You are looking for someone who does not have a strategy. Let the others go.)

I work on a team here at XYZ advisors. I know you’re busy. Otherwise you would not be here at (time). Very briefly, we help partners at ABC law firm achieve tax-free income during retirement. May I ask you two questions? (A sale is a series of successive agreements. Start early.)

If no: Thank you very much.

If yes: How many years from retirement are you?

Is your strategy to provide taxable income, tax-free income or don’t you have a strategy?

No strategy: A tax free retirement income strategy is something you should consider. Next time I’m in your building, could I drop by—if I stay more than 15 minutes it’s because you had some questions, fair enough? (Rule No. 1 in closing for the appointment: Once you begin the close NEVER stop talking until you ask for a commitment. Rule No. 2: Refer to Rule No. 1.)

If yes: I have to be out your way on (Day 1) and also on (Day 2). How does 8:00 a.m. on Day 1 look to you—I’ll bring coffee.

Retirement Planning First Call Script

Good morning _____, this is Roberta Loblaw with Loblaw and Loblaw. The reason I’m calling you today specifically is to set up a meeting to tell you about how I’ve helped families plan for their financial future with confidence.

What kind of planning are you doing now?

Not planning: I believe that families should plan financially for the unexpected and have a personalized approach for addressing goals and concerns.

Planning: I think it’s great that you have something in place. I strongly believe that every plan should also address some of the unexpected needs that arise as a result of getting older.

I usually like to meet over coffee to get to know each other and go into a little more detail; I have open time on (Day 1) or (Day 2). Would either of these days work for you?

Not interested: You know, a lot of my clients had the same reaction before they had a chance to see how my approach complements the strategy they’re currently using. After meeting with me, though, they found my process to be really helpful. We really should get together.

Response: I’m busy.

You know, I really do understand. The only reason I’m calling is to set a time to meet with you. Is next _____ at ___ good for you?

(This is as classic an “old-school” script as any I have seen in a long time. I checked with the FA who wrote it. She tried it for a week and had a really rough time with it. Scripts like this make FAs hate cold calling. Prospects hate it too!)

Bill’s Rewrite: Sell the Advisor

The most difficult to write is one that offers a service. The easiest is a product. I threw out the service approach and instead am helping you sell you.

In my experience, people do not shop for financial plans. They do shop for financial advisors.

I emailed this rewritten script to a rookie FA at one of the national firms. He is an excellent cold caller. I asked him to make 100 calls using it. I have included his complete report with this script, which I have posted to my cold calling website.

  • 102 dials

  • 14 contacts

  • 1 appointment

  • 65 dials per hour (compared to my usual 75)

With this script, you could call three hours a day. Set two first appointments a day. See 10 new people a week. Open one or two new accounts a week. Survive! What’s not to like? Here’s the script:

Hi _____, this is Roberta Loblaw with Loblaw Financial Advisors. I have some important information for families whose financial plan does not include provisions for the unexpected needs that arise as a result of getting older. I presume you do have a plan in place but I’m guessing it does not include provisions for financial contingencies, is that correct? (Unlike the original script, I am not lunging for an appointment when they answer the phone.)

What are contingencies? These can include anything from needing to care for an aging parent to helping your child or grandchild survive this increasingly tough employment market. Let me check this first. Do you actually have a written plan on how you are going to accomplish the important goals in your life and avoid the pitfalls?

No plan: Mr./Ms. _____, one of my favorite philosophers, I guess you could call him, is Yogi Berra, the great Yankees catcher. He said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might wind up someplace else.” In today’s turbulent times, you certainly don’t want to wind up someplace else. May I take just a second and tell you just a little bit more about who I am and how I work? (If yes: Go to self intro. If no: Thank you very much.)

Has plan: When was the last time you sat down with your financial advisor and reviewed the unexpected needs that can occur as you get older?

Never: OK. Good planning not only looks at how you are going to get from here to there but it also takes into account what happens if things go wrong. Part of my job is what I call “financial contingency planning.” I would like to tell you just a little bit about myself; if you like what you hear, perhaps you would consider at least taking a look at my services. May I have another 2–3 minutes?

Self intro: My name again is Roberta Loblaw. My company, Loblaw Financial Advisors, specializes in helping investors make certain that plans are in place for all those financial things that can go bump in the night. Any solutions we propose are always tailored just to you. And we review our solutions at least once a year or more often depending on your circumstances. Is this possibly what you might be looking for in an advisor?

Could I suggest we meet for coffee? You can get an idea if I’m the person who can help you navigate these troubled waters and I can get an idea if I can help you. Where is your favorite spot for coffee?

– More by Bill Good: