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The 4 Cold Call Scripts That Actually Book Meetings

Nov 29, 2021
Author: collin stewart
Thomas Glare

Cold calling is a tough gig. After years of shoddy calls giving prospectors a bad rap, it is more important than ever that salespeople hitting the phones know what works and what doesn’t. And while we always recommend that every sales tip, trick, or tactic be taken with a grain of salt and A/B tested against other methods, the cold call scripts shared below have stamps of approval from some of the most successful and reputable B2B sales leaders and practitioners in the sales development industry.

1. Gabrielle Blackwell’s 4-Step Launch

SDR Manager Gabrielle Blackwell uses her signature 4-step launch process on cold calls. The process includes an introduction, relevance, value, and the launch.

Introduction: Your classic opener. 

Script: “Hey {first name}, my name is {sdr name}.” or “Hey {first name}, this is {sdr name} calling from {sdr company} on a recorded line, did I catch you with a quick moment to chat?” 

Relevance: Why you’re calling.

Script: “The reason for my reaching out is I was doing some research on {prospect company} and I saw that you’re involved in {job function}.”

Value: Why the prospect should care.

Script: “We have a solution at {sdr company} that is making {job function} a lot {better – faster, easier, quicker, etc.}” 

Launch: Invite the prospect into a conversation.

Script: “I’m curious, how are you handling that today?”

Gabrielle can get through these 4 steps in about 20 seconds. Another valuable rule that she learned from her mentor is that if you can get the prospect talking in the first 30 seconds of a cold call, you’ve won. Inviting the prospect into the conversation to contribute builds empathy and rapport in a way that you can’t achieve over digital channels.

When she’s ready to book the meeting, this is how she converts it:

Script: “Based on what you’re doing today, specifically {process 1, 2, and 3}, and comparing that to our customers who are able to do {job function} {better}, it seems like there might be an opportunity to optimize some things – and that’s what I really wanted to connect about. Would it be worth having a conversation?”

Read more about Gabrielle’s approach here: The Anatomy of a Cold Call

2. Kevin Gillman Tells it Straight

Kevin Gillman, a National Account Executive for American Public Media Group, uses a friendly but direct approach to open up cold calls and get the conversation started. His approach has 3 steps: opener, value prop, then permission. This is his script:

Opener: “Hey {{first name}}, how are you?”

Value prop: “{{first name}}, this is why I called. I head up sales for {{company}}, and we do a great job at {{solving x problem}}. As a {{title}}, I imagine that’s what you’re trying to do. ” 

Ask for permission: “Do you have 25 seconds so I can break down for you what other companies like yours have done with us in the past?”

Cold Calling Scripts

3. James Buckley’s Simple Yet Effective Approach

James Buckley is a veteran sales development leader and current Director of Business Development at JB Sales Training. His tried and true cold call opener relies on pattern interruption:

“Thanks for taking the call, do you have a moment?” 

It may seem simple, but this is a really powerful opener because nobody gets thanked for taking a cold call. 

4. Josh Braun’s Poke the Bear Method

Josh Braun, sales trainer and thought leader, designed a framework for cold calls that has 4 parts: permission, problem, poke the bear, and promise. 

Permission: Ask for permission to talk. 

Script: “Hi {first name}, {sdr name} here from {company}. I was hoping tp speak with you briefly about {subject}, do you have a minute?”

Problem: Position the reason for your call around a pain point. 

Script: “Thanks. I speak with {title} all the time who are {experiencing pain point}.”

Poke the Bear:  Ask open-ended questions about how the prospect is currently addressing that pain point. Be curious, mirror the prospect, and label what they express.

Script: “How do you make sure you don’t {experience x pain point} when {dealing with y problem?” or “What do you do to ensure you don’t {experience x pain point} when {dealing with y problem?”

Promise: Stick to your promise of being brief and book the meeting.

Script: “Sounds like this might make sense to you since you’re dealing with {pain point}. I know I promised to be brief. Would it make sense to grab a few minutes on the calendar for a demo, so you can review what your options are should the need arise in future?”

What not to say

We’ve run through some of the most successful current call scripts, but there are also a number of oft-used openers that you should always avoid. These scripts were once effective but as they became popular they were overused by cold callers and as such, they now bear the mark of a “bad cold call” and are more likely to get you hung up on than to start a conversation.

1) “Is this a good time?”

This is a terrible opener because nobody ever thinks it’s a good time to receive a cold call. Similarly, avoid opening with “Is this a bad time?” This immediately creates a negative connotation in their mind. It’s super easy for them to say: “yep this is a terrible time, I don’t want to have this conversation”.

2) “Did I catch you at a bad time?”

This one doesn’t work for the same reasons stated above.

3) “I’m just touching base/checking in/following up…”

Using any of these phrases as an opener will immediately be off-putting for the recipient. What that translates to for your prospects is: ‘I have no real reason for reaching out to you today.’

4) “I’m sorry to bother you.”

This is another phrase that will simply generate negative feelings for your prospect. It is signposting the idea that the interaction will be unpleasant or troublesome for them. “I hear that one a lot. Stop saying this. It’s like people saying, ‘oh this is going to be a terrible conversation’.”


The biggest takeaways from the approaches of Gabrielle Blackwell, Kevin Gillman, James Buckley, and Josh Braun are as follows:

  • Be direct. Don’t beat around the bush pretending that you aren’t making a cold call. Your prospects have busy calendars, short attention spans, and want to know the purpose of your call as quickly as possible. If they don’t know who you are, you’re already dealing with negative trust. You don’t ever want to perform a bait and switch.
  • Be problem-centric. Prospects don’t care about what you do or how you do it. They care about getting their jobs done quicker, cheaper, and more effectively. If you can identify a way for them to do that or a way to solve an issue they haven’t been able to solve, you’ll earn the right to a conversation. 
  • Be brief. The purpose of a cold call isn’t to make a sale, it’s to start a conversation. So get in, state your purpose, identify the prospect’s pain, and allude to a solution so that you can get them onto a scheduled meeting. 

And, most importantly, be yourself. None of these scripts are going to work for you if they don’t sound authentic coming out of your mouth. So, adapt the scripts to what feels right for you. Show a bit of your personality. If you’re analytical, share some data with your prospect. If you’re a comedian, employ humour. No one script will ever work 100% of the time but you’ll give yourself the best shot possible by taking these tried and true best practices and making them your own.

Experience and a lot of testing have shown us that it is possible to create email templates that people actually resonate with.

You don’t have to figure it out alone, whether you’re starting off as a sales representative, looking to improve your game or providing your team with expert advice, we have your back!

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