ESSENTIAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT TIPS
Posts Tagged: Making Sales Appointments By Telephone
Being successful in making appointments is one of the most important elements of the sales process.
Having identified a ‘Hot Prospect’ we must be careful not to frighten them away. Bear in mind that people don’t want to be sold to, they prefer to buy.
They also prefer to buy from people they Like, Know and Trust.
You would be crazy to make a phone call for an appointment and not to expect some resistance. You would be crazy to make this phone call expecting the prospect to say where do I sign?
You must never attempt to sell your product or service; you must be totally committed to only ‘Selling the Appointment’. It’s at the sales appointment that you will attempt to sell your product or service if the prospect has a genuine need for it
Calling a total stranger and attempting to persuade them to agree to a sales meeting can, for many salespeople, be very hard to do.
Simply picking up the phone takes courage and converting the call into a sales appointment demands great skill.
Prospects may react with hostility or courtesy, but that won’t change the odds. You may face a firestorm of rejection for every spark of interest you ignite. Even seasoned salespeople shudder at the thought of cold calling.
Six Steps To Making The Sales Appointment
- Write A Detailed Telesales Script.
With limited time on the phone, a written script helps you to focus on the key points you wish to make.
In a few short sentences, you must provide an outline description of your product or service and compelling reasons why the prospect should meet you.
You decide ahead of time how you wish to present yourself, what reaction you want to get, and how to ask for what you want.
You must resist the temptation to handle and cover any objections over the phone.
- Position Yourself Correctly
It helps if you don’t start on thin ice. Before calling, send the prospect a smart, useful introductory notice.
Make sure you enclose a note describing your services and indicating that you will be calling in a few days to gauge interest.
This allows you to use introductory phrases such as “I’m just following up on the brochure, white paper or special report I sent you, and I would love to get together with you for further discussion”. Again, resist the temptation to discuss the detail over the phone or you may well be talking yourself out of an opportunity for a face to face appointment.
- Be Nice To Gate Keepers
An executive P.A.’s job is to guard the inner sanctum. Becoming irritated, frustrated or rude with such assistants will only ruin your chances of success.
Think through strategies to get gatekeepers to open doors. Create a friendly mood. Learn screener’s names and preferences. By making the gatekeeper an ally, you’ll win access more easily.
- Practice, Practice, Practice
As with most skills, the more calling you do, the better you’ll get.
For important calls stand up, this will give your voice greater authority, enthusiasm and energy. Sound confident and enthusiastic, but do not sound like a high powered sales person as that will make the prospect defensive.
- Customise Your Delivery
Don’t become attached to any particular script or style.
Every customer has specialised needs and preferences. Bear in mind that people don’t want to be sold to and be careful not to sound dominating, control the call by all means, but nobody wants to be dominated.
“Mr/Ms prospect… there is something I wish to show you”, now this can be your product and in the absence of a product, it can be a PowerPoint Presentation. If you don’t have a PowerPoint Presentation to show him, you can show him your personality, your enthusiasm or better still your positive passion for your product or service.
Instead of sending the information you can bring it with you and show it to him. You need to have a reason to visit him, if you say “I have something to tell you” you are inviting the response, “either tell me now or send the information”.
A buying signal is an enquiry or question from the prospect which suggests that you have a potential sales opportunity.
The prospect is not necessarily saying “I want to buy your product”, he is saying “I am interested in securing more information”.
Buying signals need to be handled with kid gloves.
In our endeavours to sell this appointment, we will more than likely encounter the prospect asking some questions on our product or service.
We must then do what becomes difficult for most salespeople and resist the temptation to answer all his or her questions. Because, if we do, we may then be eliminating the need for a sales appointment.
Most people believe that, in not answering the question, we may appear incompetent, inefficient or evasive, whereas a successful salesperson recognises that the fish is biting and we have to be careful not to frighten him away.
Replies To Buying Signals
Your replies to buying signals will depend entirely on whether you have decided that the prospect is a qualified Hot Prospect or whether you are still trying to qualify them. If they are considered to be qualified you do not answer his questions, you respond with “when we meet I can best demonstrate the answer for you”.
The bottom line to this sales appointment telephone call is that we are not trying to sell the product or service over the telephone, we are only trying to secure a sales appointment.
On the telephone you will be lucky to keep the prospects attention for a few minutes, but when you get in front of him and provided you are asking the right questions you will frequently be invited to stay for coffee and a first meeting of some sixty minutes is not uncommon.
Whilst you may well need not less than sixty minutes to fully demonstrate your product or service, it is prudent that you hold this information back as you endeavour to secure your first Sales appointment. Bear in mind, the prospect needs to get to Know, Like and Trust you.
For the first appointment your objective should be to secure a follow-up meeting. On this basis, for the first appointment why not say that ten minutes will be plenty. Make it easy for the prospect to agree to see you in the first place.
Sixty minutes in a prospects busy diary is a big ask simply to meet a sales person for the first time. Be prepared to stay sixty minutes, but this will only happen if you have earned the right.
A great attitude for this first sales appointment is that it is just that, a first of many appointments to the same prospect who becomes a magnificent and profitable customer.
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