B2B Sales Blog
Back to Blog Index

Sales Scripts for Cold Calling: Are Scripts Really Needed?

Sales Scripts for Cold Calling

Sales Scripts for Cold Calling

Are Sales Scripts for Cold Calling Really Needed?

Watch this video interview with Michael Pedone and find out.

Sales Scripts for Cold Calling by Michael Pedone

Gabe Larsen: Now, a couple questions coming in. Well, we’ll get to this in a minute but quick thoughts on the scripts –

Michael Pedone: I see, I see that. I see Jim asking that. So, you have to have scripts. I’m sorry.

Everybody says, “don’t have scripts.”

GL: (chuckling) Those are fighting words, Michael! Those are fighting words, man.

Michael Pedone:  Well, I’m the one- listen, all I can say is this:  I’ve built and sold companies –  seven-figure companies – I have no college background, never even went to college! I know how to sell. And I built the company and marketing before and then sold it for a seven-figure deal. You know? And that was in the middle of the dot-com bomb. And that was only successful because I knew how to sell, and I mapped my process out. I hired people, taught them to follow this process, and once they followed it we made money. Same thing when I teach other people. So, let me ask you a question.

It’s for those people that don’t want to use a script. Let’s say you go to your list. Let’s say you have 20, you have 20 people that made it to your final list. And now you’re going to call them. Are you going to say something different from every stage?  Every step of the way on all 20?  You’re going to come up with 20 best ways to reach out to them? No, no. The problem was- here’s the thing:  we all agree that most, there’s a lot of sales scripts out there that create more problems that they than they solve. I’ll give everybody that.

However, you have to understand: the faults where salespeople say, “Well, I don’t want to sound like a script.” Well, guess what? Every, every Oscar-winning actor and actress had a script. They just didn’t make it sound like one! You have to have a framework for the sales call. And there’s too many ‘Captain Wing-It’s’ out there that think they’re Slick Willie’s, and then it’s one month they hit the quota, next month they don’t. And it really depends on how good the quality of lead was. They’re a glorified order-taker. But once you know exactly- I know exactly what I’m going to say to a prospect. I know the first three questions I’m going to ask them before I ever pick up the phone.

GL: If what Michael is saying is if you got a list of 100 salespeople, let’s talk about their problem! And that’s how I think you can develop a script that works for them. And again, I’m open to a little personalization, but I think you go around the persona first before you get the person. Now let’s see what some of these guys are saying. We got all these, “Start with the script and then go to an individual.” That’s kind of what I was saying. I think that’s where Andreas was going. Dan: “Elevators should be scripted. The rest of the conversation should be taken from your knowledge of the product or platform.” That’s probably true. My, like-

Michael Pedone: Okay I’m going to disagree with that.

GL: Okay! Okay!

Michael Pedone: I have the script, I have a script from before I pick up the phone to the final close.

GL: Alright then.

Michael Pedone: I have every single thing. I don’t leave anything a chance. Let me give you a perfect example. I’m more of a hockey guy, right? But let’s just go to baseball terms.

GL: Dan, he’s coming at you!

Michael Pedone: Ascribe to- well I want to help! Right? I want to give a different perspective. Right?

GL: Yep, do it!

Michael Pedone: So, the script is like, “I got to get to first base.” So, that analogy was like, “well, let’s just get to first base and figure out the rest. How do we get to home?” Right? The other thing is: first of all, I get to, I can get walked to the first base; I could bunt to first base; I could hit a single; I could hit, you know there’s different ways to get to first base!

Well now from just first to second, there’s different ways. I can steal. Somebody can hit a base hit, whatever, there could be a ball. Right? So, there’s, you have to, you can’t go, I guess my point is you can’t go from first to home plate. Right?

You have to touch all the bases. And I break the sales process down to four major quadrants. You have your openers. You have your qualifying. You have your presenting. And your closing. And each, now in each one of those quadrants there are little steps, right? But I know each step. By the way, if in case anybody’s asked or wondering –  the qualifying phase is the largest one. There are the most steps in the qualifying. But I know how many steps are in each one.

And I know how to link them together. So, for example, I don’t want to leave it to chance that I’m speaking to the right person, or I found a hot button, or you know what their time frame is. Or, “Can they afford my solution?”

These are all questions I know that I need to ask. And the problem is most salespeople think they kind of know that they need to ask them, but once they get past their initial script – once they get the conversation going –  we kind of wing it from there. And sometimes it works for them! But a lot of times, it doesn’t. And when you get in the habit of knowing, “I got to go through these steps,” and as long as you know what those steps are, you can even get a curveball from the prospect, you foul it off. You handle it. But what ends up happening is most salespeople will make the mistake.

They’ll get a question from the prospect, and then they jump three steps ahead and never come back to cover those other steps.  Do you follow me? And now they’re, they miss-steps in this process. And then the call ends. Their manager is like, “Okay, well, tell me about that.” “They said it was a great call; they want me to call them next week.” And they go, “Why didn’t they buy now?” And you’re like, “Uh, I don’t know.”

Because you didn’t ask certain questions. And now everybody’s upset, right?

GL: Yeah, and you have some people that are anti-scripts. And sometimes guys, I think one of the things we get caught up in is the verbiage, right? That’s one of the reasons we’ve been trying to use the word…  more plays, like think about again sports analogy. If somebody runs a certain defense, you got to run an offense. If they run pick and roll, you’ve got to be able to maneuver around that. I think what Michael is saying is when you’re approaching this type of defense, a VP of sales, what play are you running? You know what, how are you going to approach it if you just go in empty-handed because you’re a slick salesman? Those days are gone. A well-oiled machine, in all sports, knows what defense they’re running and what plays beat that! So, I think Jim just asked it on here, said, “Do you use core script or change it up based on persona?” And I assume that is what you’re saying, Mike. You do mix it up based on persona.

Michael Pedone: So, here’s the thing. My sales process – and this is why people come to my courses all the time, right? –  is the fact I actually will teach a step-by-step process; is that I know the steps that I have to cover. But here’s the thing. And I have my scripts of what I would normally say.

One of the questions I’m going to ask – I call it ‘the pain point question,’ right? And I have it written down, on what question I’m going to ask. But the question I have right before then, if the prospect says something and they use different verbiage, I will know my next step is to cover the pain point question, but I will change the verbiage based on what my prospect said two seconds ago. And I will use their own language.

GL: Yep, okay.

Michael Pedone: But the next step is still the next step, still looking for the pain point. So even though the words might be different on my script that’ll change on the fly, but it was because I’m actively listening to my prospect and I’m deciding in the heat of the moment. And you know, read and react to and use different verbiage. It’s going to be more relatable to them. But the steps are the same.

GL: Yeah, yeah. So, you are. Again, that’s the difference, I think guys, in a full-blown script versus plays because some of you are like, “They sound too robotic.” But a great salesperson, that’s why I think a great athlete, it’s like, “Oh, they just switched to the two-three defense and they switch on the fly to run a different offense.” And I think that’s what Michael’s doing. But they still – when the defense switches, Michael – still is running an adapted play that he has practiced and he’s got a good thing going. This idea that you could just always pull it from your back pocket, it’s just, it is. Mike, we got tons of people saying can you repeat the four quadrants. One asks-

Michael Pedone: Yeah, I saw them asking that too. So, to the four quadrants, sure, is that… break it down. It’s your opener, your qualify, your presentation, and your closing.  Those are the four main quadrants of the sales process. Right, like going first base, second base, third base, home. Right?

And so, the thing is this: I know that I can’t go from home plate to second base. I even, listen, even if I get a double I still have to touch first base before I get to second. Or even if I hit a home run, even if I get a grand-slam, I still, you still have to go around and touch all the bases, right? So, it’s the same thing in sales. You can’t skip steps. Now you can get to one step faster than the other, right? That’s where, that’s why the questions I teach them to ask – and we are way off subject, by the way.

GL: (laughs) You’re telling me! I promise we’ll get back to cadences here, but we got a lot of conversations about how maybe we should have done kind of a ‘How-To actually script.’ We have to follow that up, so…

Michael Pedone: Right! But the point is this, is that you know you have to listen, you know? My questions –  I know the questions we’re going to ask. And more importantly, I know why I’m asking and when I’m asking. And most salespeople, they’re so frustrated with selling!

They love when they close the deal, but then when their numbers are down and the leads, then they start playing with leads, with the economy, with the competition, the pricing, whatever. What it really is, is they don’t know how to target the right audience. And then they’re afraid to pick up the phone so they start sending emails, because they read a book or some guy who sucked at selling by phone, too, and he said, “Hey, just send emails out!” And the problem is, now everybody’s sending a bunch of emails out. And they’re not getting any. They’re getting great open rates! You know, like, “Hey! My open rates your 50%. That’s excellent!” But open rates don’t pay the bills. They don’t pay your commission checks. Right? So, you have to know how to pick up the phone.

You have to have confidence, too. And nobody likes getting rejected. So, it starts with knowing who your audience is, that if you contact them, and you’re going in with the right messaging, chances are –  even if they weren’t even thinking about you – they’re going to at least want to have a conversation with you. You need to know how to build that list up. And once you have it, you have to know exactly what to say to pique their interest in the first few seconds. Once you, that’s your opener, right? Once you know how to do that, you better know what to say after you pique their interest! Otherwise, they’re going to hang up. How many, everybody that’s in here: how many of you have ever gotten a prospect on the phone…called for the first time… they answer the phone… their enthusiasm – they’re up here with you –  and then two or three, you know, two or three seconds into it, and then you start hemming and hawing. You’re not sure what question to ask and you immediately hear their tone drop.

GL: Yeah.

Michael Pedone: That ever happen? It’s because you weren’t prepared before you pick up the phone. You should know the first three questions you’re going to be asking and why to ask them before you ever get to the prospect. Here’s another one. I’ll give you one, then we’ll get back to cadences if we still have time. Have you ever picked up the phone, and the prospect actually answered the phone, and it threw you off your game for a second? You’re like, “Oh, I didn’t expect to get you!”  Does that ever happen?

GL: Yeah.

Michael Pedone: That’s because you weren’t prepared to pick up the phone beforehand. And you need to work! From what I teach, with the people that go to my course, I teach them this. And one of the things is, is that you should know, you want to get rid of call reluctance, you should know the three things are going to happen every time you pick up the phone. You’re either going to get gatekeeper, voicemail, prospect. This is not rocket science. There’s a science to it, but it’s not rocket science. And so, when you know those three things are there, that’s

Going to happen, and once you know exactly what’s there –  the gatekeeper or voicemail or the prospect –  and you know that you have plays, in your terms, that work at a high level you won’t be afraid to pick up the phone! Now the process is this: what do I say after I pique their interest?

– Michael Pedone

Founder of SalesBuzzz.com – The on-demand Sales Training Program that Converts More Cold Calls to Sales.


Access Our Phone Sales Improvement Program – Online

  • How to Warm Up and Close Cold Leads
  • Eliminate “No, Thanks”, “Not Interested” & “We’re All Set” Responses
  • Neutralize Gatekeepers & Get Voicemails Returned
  • Ask Engaging Questions Instead of Probing
  • Improve your Qualifying Skills
  • Give Stellar Presentations & Handle Objections
  • Close Follow-up Calls and Get Targeted Referrals
  • How to Set & Achieve Your Toughest Sales Goals
  • Improve Your Time Management Skills

Duration: 1 hour per week for 8 weeks Where: Online @ your desk, conference room or home Presenters: Michael Pedone REVIEW COURSE OUTLINE