Cultivating relationships with existing customers and building rapport can be the most fun part of a sales rep’s job, but those customers had to come from somewhere. Given that one of the best tools high-performing salespeople use to acquire new customers is the cold call, a good cold calling script is critical to customer acquisition success. Enter: these real cold calling examples to learn from today.
Sales managers may encourage their sales development representatives (SDRs) and sales teams to focus on new media or digital sales channels. Cold calling doesn’t discount e-mail, social media, SMS, video conference, or in-person selling. Using these methods in addition to cold calling is an excellent way to qualify leads and turn them into your best customers.
Giving a convincing sales pitch over the phone requires skills, finesse, and guts. You’re going to have to overcome any anxiety about hang-ups or negotiating through gatekeepers. This guide will help you become an expert at over-the-phone sales pitches.
What is a Cold Call?
Cold calling is the solicitation of a potential customer who has no prior interaction with a salesperson and who hasn’t requested a call. It is typically the first step in the sales process.
The most effective cold calls begin before you pick up the phone with some brief prospect research. Familiarize yourself with the person on the other end of the phone. Then, the sales rep calls a cold lead, typically using cold calling scripts to introduce the prospect to their product or service and gauge interest for future sales conversations.
Within a minute, the cold caller determines one of the following outcomes:
- The customer is interested and the call leads to a discovery call
- They’re not interested now. You can mark them for a future follow-up call
- They’re not the decision maker, but they can help you identify the right person and their phone number
- They give a clear and concrete reason for not being interested or a good fit, and you can mark them as such on your list and move on
What Makes a Cold Call Sales Pitch Different?
The cold call sales pitch is different from email and social media sales for two reasons. First, you’re on a phone call, so you have an opportunity to establish an immediate two-way connection with your prospect. You also have to be able to respond to objections a lot quicker on the phone.
When you can pitch over the phone successfully, you set the basis for a stronger connection with leads and a deeper relationship as a future customer.
When making a sales pitch over the phone, you have several things working against you.
First of all, you’re calling a complete stranger and interrupting them while asking for even more of their valuable time. You have just seconds to convince them to keep listening to you. You must show value quickly but calmly, as you build rapport each step of the way.
Second, most people dread making cold calls. Even seasoned sales veterans still feel a pinch of anxiety when they make their first dial of the day, and it takes everyone some effort to overcome their fear of cold calling at some point. Either they’re afraid of facing rejection or they dread sounding like the sleazy salesperson most people associate with phone call solicitations.
With cold calling, you are reaching people who have, by definition, “not already expressed interest in what you’re selling.” Cold calling puts you in the direct line of fire for rejection. It’s important to remember it’s nothing personal, you’re working to qualify leads so a good number of them will come back unqualified. That’s okay.
Lastly, there’s the danger of sounding robotic. According to research, the average sales rep makes 35 cold calls per day. That means you’re repeating more or less the same words 30+ times every day—so it’s far too easy to become mechanical. A good idea is to place emojis throughout your script to remind you to emote.
If any of these issues hold you back from giving a successful sales pitch over the phone, please keep reading. With the tips below, you’ll learn to overcome these challenges with a comfortable and polished sales pitch for the phone.
How to Start a Cold Call
The first seconds of your sales pitch is critical. The lead wasn’t expecting your call, and they’ll need solid reasons to stay on the phone with you within the first few seconds of your call.
Head over here to get much more detail about how to create a sales script that works. But for now, here are 5 easy steps to start your cold call sales pitch on the right foot:
Step 1: State Your Full Name and Where You’re Calling From
While a bit obvious, giving your name and your company’s name in the first sentence is essential, especially when you’re on the phone. Your lead needs to know immediately who you are and what company you’re with: otherwise, they’ll spend the first 20 seconds wondering who on earth you are and will completely miss your pitch, or worse, hang up without hearing you out.
For example, “Hi, I’m Bruce Wayne calling from Penguin’s Paper Products.”
Step 2: Explain the Purpose of Your Call in One Sentence
There’s no need to ask if you caught them in the middle of something. Just assume you did. After telling them clearly who you are, give a one-sentence explanation of why you’re calling them.
Are you calling on a referral? Fantastic, name that person. Are you calling this lead after sending a cold email? Mention that email.
This sentence needs to cover three important points:
- What you’re offering
- Why you’re calling this particular person
- What the goal of the call is
That sentence could sound like this:
“The reason for my call is to speak with the person in charge of ordering paper products for your company, such as toilet paper and paper towels.”
In fact, starting this sentence with “The reason for my call is…” has actually been proven to help prospects stay on the phone longer and even book a meeting.
Step 3: Tell Them Exactly How Much Time You’ll Need
This is a psychological hack to help put prospects at ease.
Telling the other person exactly how much time you’ll need provides instant reassurance, so prospects know that the call won’t take longer than necessary and that you’re respecting their time.
Consider a time you got a call from someone that you know will keep you on the phone for hours. Imagine that every prospect assumes this from the start and counter their objection to “not having enough time” early on. How can they know if they don’t have enough time if they don’t know how long you’ll need?
Always assume your prospects have had bad experiences with lousy salespeople who have kept them on the phone much longer than they wanted and they’re ready to make their excuses and get off the phone with you before you take their whole day.
To stop this from happening, tell them exactly how much time you’re asking for. Try to use odd numbers. Saying “this will only take a few minutes of your time” or “60 seconds” seems generic.
“If you have 9 minutes right now, I can share with you how we saved 73% of our customers more than 20% on their paper needs in the last six months.”
Should you still get the “too busy right now” line from the prospect, sympathize with their busy schedule and ask for a better time to reach back. Be sure to offer a specific time/day.
This is one time an open-ended question is discouraged!
"Are afternoons better for you? How about Tuesday around 2 or 3 p.m.?” is much better than “How about next week?” which is likely to lead to yet another “too busy right now” conversation. If you mutually agree to a time, the prospect will be more likely to take your call because they already agreed to it.
When you log your call in your notes or CRM system, be sure to note that they were very busy so you can reference how busy you know they are, and then point out how your product or service will save them time.
Step 4: Give Your 30-Second Sales Pitch
If the lead agrees to hear your pitch, do not go beyond the time you’ve set for yourself. In 30 seconds or less, give a solid pitch that focuses on the needs and wants of the lead and shows them specific reasons why they should stay on the phone.
Your pitch should include a brief overview of your product/service’s value proposition, and may even include social proof.
Such as, “We base your paper product pricing on volume pricing over the entire year, not order to order. These savings can be significant. For example, we saved Gotham College more than $18,000 last year.“
Step 5: Ask for Permission to Continue
Within the first 90 seconds of the call, your lead knows who you are, where you’re calling from, what you’re offering, and why you called them today. This is all the information they need in order to decide whether they want to keep listening or not.
At this point, you cannot keep pitching without better knowledge of the customer. You need to ask qualifying questions so that you’re not throwing darts in the dark and can keep building rapport with your customer.
But first, you need to make sure they’re willing to continue. It’s time to ask a critical question: “Does this sound like something you’d be interested in?”
If the answer is no, be polite and suggest a future follow-up and then hang up. Document the outcome on your list (using your CRM software if you have one).
This method quickly establishes a basis to continue the conversation and present an effective sales pitch, leading to a closed deal down the road.
8 Video Cold Call Examples to Base Your Calls On
Want to see what a sales pitch over the phone looks like in real life? Check out these sales pitch examples and see what you can swipe for your own cold calls:
1. Sales Prospecting Cold Call Roleplay
While this is a roleplay, Patrick Dang does a great job of going through his cold call script template and showing exactly how to model a great prospecting call.
First, he explains why he’s calling, and once he has permission, he then clearly shows how he’s done his research and is familiar with the business he’s speaking to. Then, he does a great job of going through qualifying questions to discover whether the lead is a good fit for what he’s offering.
How to model your cold calls after this: Know your prospects. Do your homework beforehand. Show them you don’t see them as numbers in a lead list, but as actual people that you’re trying to help with your product or service.
2. The Cold Social Media Pitch
Dan is pitching his social media services to a jewelry business in his area. His calm, natural tone keeps the conversation casual and personal, positioning himself as a LinkedIn and Facebook expert, without bragging.
How to model your cold calls after this: Clearly state the reason for your call at the beginning, and sell them on the meeting, not the offering.
3. The Non-Ideal Customer
This salesperson is looking to sell payroll software to a company. But, by asking qualifying questions, he realizes that the prospect’s company doesn't fit his ideal customer profile.
How to model your cold calls after this: Ask the right questions to quickly jump to the needs of this client. Or, as in this case, find out from the get-go if the person is the decision-maker, gatekeeper, or wrong person altogether. If so, try and discover the correct prospect’s name. When you’re reaching out to a small business, you might even ask how to contact the business owner directly.
4. The ‘Tell Me More’
Mark is selling sales training and does a great job of digging into the real needs of his prospect before pitching his solution. Sometimes your qualifying questions can be as simple as “Tell me more.” This open-ended question shows interest and does wonders for building rapport.
How to model your cold calls after this: Use the "Tell me more" trick to do what Mark did: get the prospect to open up about their needs.
5. The Educator
Ethan's call with a local business goes really well because he shows he's done his research and takes the time to educate the prospect on paid ads tracking. It’s clear that Ethan knows his stuff, which makes him appear as well-informed and trustworthy.
How to model your cold calls after this: Know the businesses you’re selling to as well as you know what you’re selling. That way, you can be an expert advisor that helps educate prospects as you find the solutions they need. Build an ever-growing Frequently Asked Question list and include them at the back of your cold calling script for easy reference.
6. The Exuberant Real Estate Pitch
Mariah's fun and natural tone goes a long way with her prospects, and she's involved in the conversation enough to respond well to whatever these people throw at her. Mariah teaches us that a cold call sales pitch can be fun!
How to model your cold calls after this: To respond well, you need to listen well. The more comfortable you are with your pitch, the easier it will be to listen to what your prospects tell you. Keep a positive, friendly attitude in mind at all times.
7. The Voicemail
While most salespeople dread leaving a voicemail (or simply don’t leave one at all), Morgan shows us what a sales pitch voicemail should sound like. Without rushing, he clearly explains who he is and why this prospect should call him back, all in less than 25 seconds. (Start the video at minute marker 4:30 to watch the voicemail drop.)
How to model your cold calls after this: Give value right away. Treat the first sentence of your sales pitch as the reason why your prospect should stay on the phone (or call you back).
8. The Multi-Objection
In this video, Trent from Qualtrics calls a lead that had watched a recent webinar, and tries to sell her on the software.
This lead presents two valid objections: she’s busy, and her team doesn’t have the budget for this software. But Trent doesn’t lose his cool—instead, he talks to her like a real person and determines whether or not it makes sense to schedule another call.
What’s interesting about this call is that Trent doesn’t make the sale. And that’s okay. Instead of wasting his time trying to call this prospect back, he’s quickly determined that they’re not a good fit and can now move on to other, higher-quality leads.
How to model your cold calls after this: Don't let yourself get thrown off course by objections. Model Trent’s calm demeanor as he faces these objections. Remember that, before agreeing to call back later, make sure that a call actually makes sense for both parties.
These cold calling examples give us a foundation to start with. But, are you ready to take your cold call pitching to the pro level? Read on!
6 Expert Cold Calling Tips for Phone-based Sales Reps
If you want to be more comfortable and get better results from your cold call sales pitches, use these 6 expert cold calling tips for pitching over the phone.
1. Smile (Because They Can Hear It)
This isn’t a myth. There are actually physiological reasons why smiling on the phone changes how you sound. The shape of your mouth and the pull on your vocal cords changes when you smile, so your voice automatically adopts a different tone.
In other words, people can quite literally hear you smiling on the phone.
Tone of voice is extremely important when selling on the phone since your voice is the only link people have to you. With a smile and the right tone, you’ll come off as friendly and helpful rather than pushy, apathetic, or aggressive.
2. Choose the Right Time
You might wonder “Is there a ‘best time’ to call your prospects?”
If you search for that information in Google, you will likely come away confused. Numerous ‘studies’ say that your success rate will soar if you make your outbound calls in the morning... or the afternoon... or right before lunch... or... 3:33 p.m. on a Thursday.
The point? Deciding on the right time to cold call is up to you. You know your prospects: so, what does their typical day look like? When is the best time for phone outreach to your prospects?
If you’re not sure, talk to current customers with whom you have a good relationship. Are these startup founders who begin their day at 5:00 AM and regularly work past 6:00 PM? Are they working remotely and getting to work a bit later to spend time with their kids before school? Do they typically take a full hour for lunch, or do they work through lunch?
Sales call timing goes beyond the hour of the day to the week, month, or quarter in which you call. Take time to understand the cycles that these businesses are going through and the timing of their goals.
Another aspect of timing your calls well has to do with inbound leads. When someone signs up for a trial on your website or fills out a form, how quickly do you respond?
According to one study, your chances of contacting a lead are 100 times greater if you call them in the first 5 minutes than calling them just 30 minutes later.
And the chances of qualifying are 21 times higher.
The point: Contact new inbound leads within the first 5 minutes.
3. Avoid Filler Words and Phrases
Words like “um,” “uh,” “well,” and “you know” slip into our conversations like the dust that’s collecting on your computer monitor right now. Just like that dust, filler words make it difficult to see through to the point of your call. So, cleanse your pitch of filler words (and for goodness sake, clean your monitor already)!
Of course, we know these words aren’t in your script. So, how can you stop saying them?
The best method to remove filler words from your pitch is to practice, practice, practice. And then, go practice some more. The more comfortable you are with your cold calling script, the easier it will be to get through it without adding unwelcome filler words.
4. Pause Effectively
Once you remove filler words, you may notice some gaps in your pitch. These are what we like to call dramatic pauses.
Yes, pausing in your pitch sets a very interesting tone. When you pause at the right time, and for just the right amount of time, you give your prospects a moment to consider what you’ve said and show them that you’re comfortable and relaxed, not in a hurry.
Pausing also gives you the opportunity to breathe. While it may seem a bit obvious that you need to breathe while giving a sales pitch over the phone, it’s far too easy to get caught up in the stress of the moment and speak several sentences without taking a breath. (At which point you’ll sound more like someone who’s about to cross the finish line at the Gotham City Marathon than someone trying to sell paper products.)
By adding appropriate pauses to your pitch, you’ll make sure not to confuse the prospect and actually hold their attention. Learn more about how to speak in a way that makes people listen in this article: Cold Calling? You Lost Me At Hello.
5. Speak with Intention and Clarity
While it’s true that this should be a conversation, it’s important that you, as the sales rep, guide the conversation effectively. In fact, research from our friends at Gong.io found that top performers switch topics 15.6% less frequently than average or poor performers.
This means that, even though top reps seem to cover more ground, they keep their conversations clear and intentional, bringing up the right topics at the right time.
How can you do this? By following an effective call script.
When you have a clear goal in mind for your sales call, you’ll know what you’re saying and how to direct the conversation. Keep in mind 3 points you want to highlight or topics you want to cover, then take the prospect through those one step at a time.
With clear intentions and a path to follow, you’ll stop jumping topics and start having a clear, well-developed conversation.
6. Listen and Repeat
On a cold call, you have much less personal contact with your lead than you would in person. So, when they talk, you need to make sure you hear everything they’re saying and understand it. Without the advantage of body language and facial expressions, this becomes more of a challenge.
So, you need to take your listening a step further.
As you go through your pitch and ask open-ended questions, you want the prospect to feel understood and make sure you understand their answers (and the reasons behind their answers) very well.
Here’s an easy psychological hack to do this: repeat back their answers.
Let’s say you’ve asked about the prospect’s pain points. They respond, “The price of paper products seems to fluctuate all the time among all our different vendors.”
Then you say something like this: “So, price and supplier stability is important to you?”
And the prospect responds: “Yes, exactly.”
Now, the prospect knows that you truly understand their need. This gives them more confidence in what you say from here on out since any solution you offer should apply to this particular need.
Create Your Own Cold Calling Script (Or Use Our Highly Effective Templates)
You know giving a sales pitch over the phone can be scary. This chapter has taught you how to take those calls and make them work for you instead of letting phone fear overwhelm your pitch.
You’ve also seen some incredible cold call sales pitch examples that you can imitate, as well as expert tips such as smiling, pausing effectively, and speaking with intention and clarity.
But to maximize the power of your sales pitch, you need an effective cold calling script.
Learn why scripts are so important in cold calling, and how to create the best cold calling script to use over and over again in your calls.
Check out our guide on How to create a phone sales pitch script.