How Cold Calling Scripts Are Like Salsa

Among the AA-ISP members we often discuss topics around cold calling scripts for inside sales, or digital sales professionals as we now like to call them. Since I live in Southern California and am a dedicated foodie, my analogy instantly went to food. Sales cold calling scripts are like salsa!

Cold call scripts are dead, you say! Yes, certainly the generic script that your ISR woodenly reads or types verbatim is something that is dead! No one wants to listen to or read those! But then, if you can’t give them a sales script to read, how do you train or guide your ISRs and SDRs on “proper” messaging, you ask? You don’t want them “winging it” obviously. So what’s the “right way” to train to a sales script?

Here’s my recipe, literally. It’s salsa.

Buyer Persona = Regional Culinary Diner

Who are your buyers or in other words, your buyer persona? I have recipe books from all over the world and what I start to see are the similarities and the subtly different nuances among them. Is their region hot or cold? Are they from an area where there is lots of dill? Do they like heat? Is habanero their favorite heat level or maybe a mild jalapeno or even milder Aleppo pepper? Are mangoes available to them? What’s their main protein? Where do they like to hang out – do they prefer street tacos or is sit-down multi-course more their style? What are they drinking with their meal? These questions are a lot like the ones you ask about your buyer persona.

What is a cold call script anyway?

This is a tricky question and I know I’ll get a lot of comments about this. In my view, a cold call script is what a good ISR, SDR, or BDR… or really, any digital sales rep, has been given to GUIDE them through the email or phone exchange with a prospect. In the very basics it offers three basic things:

  • A short overview of the company/product
  • Common pain points that similar prospects experience
  • Verification they are talking to the right contact
  • Some probing questions
  • Call to action / next steps

It’s a guide, and never should be read verbatim. So how does this work? How do you “tailor it”? What’s in this sauce, anyway?

Sales call script: Identify your ingredients list

Now we get to talk about salsas. First, what’s a salsa? I am talking about the eating kind not the dancing kind, which is important for this discussion. The Spanish term for “sauce,” salsa can be a mixture of fruits or vegetables, that are whole and chopped, which are used to complement the flavor of a variety of foods. The mixture can be fresh or cooked with a spicy flavor that can range from mild to very hot tasting, depending on the spices added. Here are the basics of any salsa:

  1. A fruit or vegetable (tomato, tomatillo, mango, papaya, peach, cantaloupe, banana, or apple… you can get really creative here)
  2. An herb (dill, cilantro, Thai basil, Italian basil, marjoram, oregano…)
  3. Onion (shallot, chives, red, white, sweet, green)
  4. Peppers (green, yellow or red such as serrano, jalapeno, habanero, Thai, ghost….)
  5. Acid (lime, lemon, or vinegar – I like to mix up sherry, champagne, balsamic pomegranate… you get the idea)
  6. Oil (this is rather optional but also gives you a ton of options including sesame, olive, avocado… and so on)
  7. Nuts (if you dig deep into salsa territory you find sesame seeds and peanuts

Pick ONE from each of the first 6 categories.

What did we just do? We took 6 or 7 basic elements and created literally hundreds of variations. This is your call script. You knew the direction we wanted to go. We needed something tangy, spicy and tart to go with our designated dish. Then we thought about our audience, or “diner” and available options.

Cold calling script demystified

What does this mean? Let’s really break it down here. Your reps aren’t reading a recipe aloud. Your cold calling script should essentially tell your reps the guidelines for making a decent salsa, then let them figure out what’s the right one for the target they are talking to.

Give them an idea of what you are looking for as the essential ingredients. Then coach your reps on how to tweak one or more of those to meet the needs of your prospects. If they read about the prospect’s industry, background, profile, and where they like to hang out, your reps will know whether the prospect is a basic tomato / jalapeno / cilantro type or whether they might bite on a mango / Thai basil / ghost pepper / balsamic option.

I’ve really enjoyed thinking about each meal and option for what it presents to the diner an that’s the opportunity your reps have. They aren’t staring at a blank menu. Give them the recipes and the ingredients and teach them what’s the right mix for what they need.