Using the Phone to Set Appointments

Using the telephone to set appointments can be a challenge because it’s easy for the prospects to dodge our efforts to contact them. They are just dealing with a ‘voice’ on the line so it’s easier for them to just say “no”. Many sales people take this personally and develop a phobia about using the phone that turns into a paralysis. 

There is no doubt that in this busy world, it can be challenging for us as try to get an appointment with our prospects, specifically if they have tried us once and it didn’t work. There is no magic bullet to replace the actual effort a sales person must put forward in order to make contact with the prospect. The frequency and quality of those contacts will make all the difference in the world to your personal success. Frequent calling with a low quality effort is a waste of your time and the prospects time. Quality calling without the frequency is just a shame because with a little more effort, you would probably see great results. So, you must do both, get better at your skill level and make more calls.

The overwhelming challenge we face is getting the prospect’s attention. Jeffrey Gitomer says in his training, “If the prospect says they’re not interested, maybe you’re not interesting”!

One of the most common mistakes sales people make is not being focused on what they can do for the prospect. They talk too much about themselves and their company. They spend too much time on the features of their product and not enough time on the benefits of using their product. Just imagine your prospect sitting there with a ball cap that says “WIIFM” (What’s In It For Me? ) across the front.

You need a Valid Business Reason (often called a VBR) to be calling. Otherwise you’re just wasting the prospect’s time.

Learn to make effective use of voice mail. How many times do you get a voice mail and the caller rattles off their phone number so fast, you can’t write it down quickly enough and you are forced to rewind your voice mail? It happens all the time! It is very frustrating. When you leave your voice message, say your phone number slowly enough so the prospect can easily write it down, the first time you say it.

To establish your pace, imagine the prospect is writing down your phone number as you are saying it on the phone. Write your phone number down as you say it to pace yourself. You must say your phone number slowly enough so the prospect can easily transcribe your number to their to-do list without the need to rewind their voice mail system. Practice until you can establish a pace, and then slow it down just a bit more. I even like to say things like, “Here is my phone number so you can write it down, it is 8-8-8 (pause) 5-5-5 (pause) 5-5 (pause) 5-5”. And then repeat yourself, “That’s 8-8-8 (pause) 5-5-5 (pause) 5-5 (pause) 5-5”.

On the first voice message, I try to be a bit more detailed than I am on subsequent calls. If my first voice message is effective, the prospect knows why I’m calling a second or a third time. So I try to leave my phone number right up front so if now is the time they can call me back, they can just write my number down and call me without listening to the rest of the message.

The follow up calls might sound like this; “Hi Keith, this is Spike Santee calling back about getting that appointment. Here is my phone number, it is 8-8-8 (pause) 5-5-5 (pause) 5-5 (pause) 5-5”. And then I might leave some more information about the reason for meeting.

One final note, inject some personal enthusiasm into the call! Sound like you’re excited to be calling! When you’re excited about what you have to show, that excitement is going to rub off on the prospect and they are going to be pulled into the desire for a meeting just to see what you’re so fired up about.

You might consider saying things like:

“Mr. Adams, this is Spike Santee down at the local Radio station. I’m calling because I have some exciting new information about finding new customers that I think you want to see. I can come by at your convenience. Please give me a call back. Here is my phone number, 8-8-8 (pause) 5-5-5 (pause) 5-5 (pause) 5-5. That’s 8-8-8 (pause) 5-5-5 (pause) 5-5 (pause) 5-5. I think you’ll really be happy to see this.”

“Ms. Johnson, this is Spike Santee down at the local Radio station. I know you said you had all of your plans made through the end of the year but we just announced a new program I think you will want to know about it. Since you’re already scheduled there won’t be any pressure to buy anything in this meeting. It should only take about 15 minutes. I can’t wait to show this to you. Please call me back. I’d really like you to see this. Here is my phone number, 8-8-8 (pause) 5-5-5 (pause) 5-5 (pause) 5-5. That’s 8-8-8 (pause) 5-5-5 (pause) 5-5 (pause) 5-5. This will be great.”

“Mr. Smith, this is Spike Santee down at the local Radio station. I was really excited to see that you requested some information about our Radio stations on our web site this morning. I’d love to get together and show you that information you’re looking for. Please call me back. I’d really like you to see this. Here is my phone number, 8-8-8 (pause) 5-5-5 (pause) 5-5 (pause) 5-5. That’s 8-8-8 (pause) 5-5-5 (pause) 5-5 (pause) 5-5. I’d love to hear back from you.”

“Ms. Jones, this is Spike Santee down at the local Radio station calling about our new lawyer referral program. It’s a remarkable way for your firm to be perceived as the first place to call when someone is injured on the job. I’d love to show you how it works. It’s a no obligation meeting and last about fifteen minutes. Please call me back. I’d really like you to see this. Here is my phone number, 8-8-8 (pause) 5-5-5 (pause) 5-5 (pause) 5-5. That’s 8-8-8 (pause) 5-5-5 (pause) 5-5 (pause) 5-5. I’d love to hear back from you.”

See why your own personal enthusiasm is so important. If you don’t believe in what you’re selling, nobody else will either.

I hope this can help you get motivated to call the hundreds of new prospects that are struggling out there because they don’t have you on their team.

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