If the idea of a sales script brings up visions of telemarketers reading their lines with robotic precision, you’re not alone.
Sales scripts might have a bad rap, but that’s mainly just due to misuse. See, scripts function as an outline for your outreach efforts. They outline your goal for the call—and leave some room for improvisation.
Instead of locking you into a few generic lines, a well-crafted script frees your mind from the stress of, “what do I say if they ask X?” and instead, allows you to focus on connecting with the human being on the other end of the call.
In this article, we’ll go over some basic but versatile outbound sales scripts that you can tweak based on prospect and industry, including:
- The fundamental elements of an outbound sales script,
- A sale script for booking appointments,
- A sale script for discovering pain points,
- A sale script for bypassing the gatekeeper,
- A sale script for warming up the listener by name-dropping a mutual contact, and
- A sale script for getting a voicemail callback
The bones of an outbound sales script
Your outbound sales script should do a few things. At minimum, it needs to explain who you are and why you’re calling. This graphic illustrates that the reason behind how your call plays an outsized role in the outcome.
Second, your script outlines your call so you have a framework to build from—meaning you’re not reading your lines like some kind of robot. Instead, you’re creating an outline that has room for some on-the-fly tweaks.
- Intro: You need a strong opener that lets the prospect know who you are.
- Make a connection: A good outbound sales script contains a strong connecting statement. Why is it that you’re calling, what prompted the call. For example, you noticed an article the prospect published, saw an announcement about their company, or you’re following up after they downloaded an ebook.
- Context: This is your elevator pitch—how is your solution relevant to the problem at hand? Ideally, this part builds on your initial connecting statement.
- Ask: Go in for the “ask.” Every call should end with a call-to-action. Consider the ideal outcome. Do you want the prospect to book a demo? Complete a free assessment? Be sure to close with some kind of “next step.”
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Below, you’ll see some specific examples for using outbound sales scripts in a variety of settings. Keep in mind, you can easily adapt any of these scripts by following this formula and adjusting the goal based on your industry and where this prospect falls in the sales pipeline.
1. Goal: Book an appointment
This script is ideal for reaching out to someone that has indicated some kind of need. You might find this information in a social media post, a job board, or within a piece of industry news.
In this case, you’re basing your call around contextual clues gathered before the initial outreach. For example, if you see that a prospect’s company has finished up a round of seed funding or announced an expansion, you might assume they need a solution that helps save them time.
Here’s how you might approach a situation where the prospect announced that their company is hiring:
“Hey Chris, this is Deb from X Company.
I noticed one of your recent Twitter posts says you’re looking to build out your customer experience team. Is that correct?
(Adapt to the response)
Could I set up a 15-minute call to talk about our product? We help CX teams do A with B and C features.
Are you available on Thursday this week?
Great. Thanks a lot, Chris, I’ll send over a calendar invite to confirm.”
Why it works
While this is the first actual conversation, Deb has reviewed Chris’ social media profiles and knows that he’s looking to hire some CX reps. That need to hire more reps suggests that the company might have a need for Deb’s software solution.
The purpose of this call is to present a solution that entices Chris enough that he wants to take the next step and learn more.
What makes this script more effective is, Deb will reach out again, right after the call with a calendar invite. She might even provide some additional resources such as a guide to some of the features included in her solution, allowing her to provide value before the scheduled demo.
2. Goal: Discover pain points
A little context: this script is designed for reps making their first point of contact.
You might have some background information going in, but ultimately, this call is all about learning more about how you can help this person.
This is Sam from XYZ company. We help hundreds of B2B companies like yours generate more high-quality leads on social media.
I sent over an email this morning, with [resource, could be an eBook, white paper, whatever] because we’ve seen a lot of X Type companies dealing with lead gen problems.
We’ve been helping Y company (a competitor or similar company) and I wanted to ask a few questions to learn if you’re dealing with similar issues.”
Why it works
This script allows you to connect with the prospect by asking open-ended questions that you can use to follow up again later. For example, if the prospect is receptive to what we just outlined above, try probing deeper. Some ideas for what you can ask next:
- What’s your plan for dealing with problem X?
- When is your deadline for solving this problem?
- Who is involved with this process?
In this stage, your goal is to listen more than you talk, trying to collect as much information as possible.
When you do go in for the ask, the purpose is likely to move the prospect from the top of the funnel and into the consideration phase.
So, your call-to-action should aim to get the prospect to book a demo or schedule a meeting. In the meantime, send over additional resources that speak to the pain points outlined in the call.
3. Goal: Bypass the gatekeeper
Ah, the gatekeeper. They might give you the brush-off or coldly ask, “What is this about?” but the goal here is to be respectful and try to learn more about what it takes to get through to your prospect.
Keep in mind that this person likely fields several sales calls a day and has other tasks they need to focus on. Try something like this, which treats the gatekeeper like a person rather than an obstacle.
“Hi there, my name is Ash from Company X. I’m hoping you could help me. Just took a quick look at your company’s LinkedIn page but didn’t see your name.
Do you usually answer the phone?
(If yes) What’s your name? I’d feel much better if I knew your name before asking you to help.
Thanks, Brent. I’m looking for Susan, the VP of Finance. What’s the best way to get in touch with her?”
Why it works
When dealing with a gatekeeper, actually listen to what this person has to say—they might have some valuable intel. Also, you want to be friendly and build some rapport with that person, too.
They might not be the decision-maker, but if they don’t like you, odds are slim that they’d patch you through to the boss.
It’s also worth noting that it’s in the gatekeeper’s best interest to help you connect with the prospect, so you can stop bothering them
4. Goal: Warm up a cold call by name-dropping a mutual contact
According to Facebook, we’re all separated by an average of 3.57 degrees, so there’s a good chance you have a connection in common with the person you’re about to call.
You can find mutual connections by clicking on your prospect’s LinkedIn profile. Scroll down the page and click on “Mutual Connections” to see if you have any contacts in common.
Scan your LinkedIn page for mutual connections you can use to generate a sense of warmth over the phone. If you both know the same person, mentioning that connection can help the prospect see you as a person, not just a voice on the phone.
Of course, you should familiarize yourself with every company and prospect, making notes on potential ice breakers as you map out the conversation.
This example shows how you can name-drop without making it “weird.” Notice how we casually mention a mutual contact, Sarah, from Company A.
Sarah from Company A and I are getting some great results with [mention client company]’s social media strategy. We discussed who else this might benefit and your name came up.
Congratulations on securing funding, I saw the news on my LinkedIn page. It looks like you guys are doing some impressive work!
I’d love to show you how we’ve helped Sarah grow Company A’s Instagram presence and how we could expand Company B’s reach as well. Would this be of interest?”
Why it works
Name-dropping in a cold call is a classic tip for warming up a cold lead by capitalizing on a familiar connection.
The script outlined above works best in the case that you both know a client. While the rep reached out first, the dialog feels more like “Sarah” recommended the caller’s service. For Jane, this approach feels friendly (that’s the goal), with a hint of social proof.
It’s important to note that this script is different than one where your mutual connection is a college friend in a different business or your brother.
In that case, highlighting the connection is more of a rapport-building tool which you could incorporate into a cold email:
“Hey Jane—Small world; I saw on LinkedIn that you and Mike know each other, I’m David, Mike’s friend from X College.”
From there, you can launch into what prompted your call.
Now, keep in mind that some types of name-dropping are no-gos here. You should actually know the person, be it a client or a mutual friend. For example, if you haven’t helped Sarah’s company at all, Jane can contact her and the whole thing can blow up in your face.
5. Goal: A voicemail that gets a callback
Sometimes, you’re stuck leaving a voicemail. For more on that subject, we’ll direct you to our piece on leaving voicemails that don’t suck. But, for now, here’s one that gets straight to the (pain) point in under 30 seconds.
"Hey Robin, this is Jen from Company Z.
We help teams develop a strategy and implement X, Y, Z to bring sales tactics into the digital age. Sales managers often tell us that:
- It takes too long to train new reps
- Implementing a new strategy is too demanding
- Marketing and Sales have completely different ideas of what qualified leads look like.
Despite the investments they make in hiring, managers often tell us that it’s still hard to find the best employees.
I’ll try to reach you again next week, in the meantime, feel free to reach out at (phone)
Again, this is Jen calling from Company Z [phone].
Thank you, and I look forward to talking with you soon."
Why it works
It’s short, sweet, and highlights how this solution can help Robin and her sales team. In this case, you might want to follow up with an email to reinforce your key selling points. The benefit is Robin can decide to reach out by calling you back or sending an email, whatever she prefers.
Oh, and don’t forget to practice your lines.
The idea of writing an outbound sales script might make you roll your eyes, but hopefully, you’ll rethink your stance. A good sales script is a key piece of a larger sales strategy, not some cheat sheet designed to help green salespeople make it through their first few calls.
Remember, a sales script should not be read, line by line; instead, think of it as an outline—and work on your improv skills.