In today’s post I want to talk about something that very few sales people do well which is phone call follow up. Too often I hear sales people kill a...
Avoiding Mistakes When Calling to Set Appointments
Today we are going to talk about calling over the phone to set appointments. Recently we had an interview with Juan Alfero one of our top producers on our team. He sells anywhere from 20 – 30 new accounts every month. He was talking about one of his secrets to success which is calling over […]
Today we are going to talk about calling over the phone to set appointments. Recently we had an interview with Juan Alfero one of our top producers on our team. He sells anywhere from 20 – 30 new accounts every month. He was talking about one of his secrets to success which is calling over the phone to schedule appointments. Now the reason I want to talk about this today is because it is a strategy used a lot in our industry. And to be honest with you, it is not used very effectively. Let me share with you a couple mistakes sales agents make when they use telemarketing or “cold calling” to make an appointment for merchant services sales.
1. They use a normal pitch that doesn’t differentiate them.
Understand that everyone in our industry is cold calling over the phone to schedule an appointment. If you want to be successful at this, you need to do something that differentiates you as a professional. The best way to do that is to talk about the local market. You need to use local geographic words that are going to catch their attention. For instance, I am in the city of Altoona, so if I am going to call someone for an appointment I am going to say, “Hi, I am James Shepherd, I am a local business owner here in Altoona, I have my office down town, across from the post office. I was going to be in your area tomorrow and I wanted to stop by since I need to visit Bill’s Hardware store, one of my clients right around the corner from you. Would Thursday be a good time for me to come in and introduce myself and the free tablet point of sale system we offer?” So you get the idea of how I am using geographic words to get their attention, so they know I am not calling from a call center in India or the Philippines. You are actually a local person that is going to be out visiting businesses in their area, so use this to your advantage.
2. They try to set a solid appointment.
This is a huge mistake. When you call on the phone, all you are trying to do is to introduce yourself and find a good time to come and meet the business owner. The idea is to ask a question that everyone (or most everyone) is going to say “yes” to. Everyone says “yes” to free information and a business introduction. Work on getting them to agree to meet with you and take some free information. Keep in mind your goal is simply to increase your contact rate in the field. This way you are lining up places you know will have a decision maker available that you can talk to.
So when I was interviewing Juan, I found out he uses the exact same approach that I use in our call center. I had no idea that he did this. Juan said when he talks to business owners he says, “The reason I am calling is that I wanted to drop off some free marketing materials for you and just introduce myself.” That is exactly what we say in our call center. It is very effective. Stop trying to set “solid” appointments and instead, use your telemarketing time to simply increase your contact rate. The same goes if you are hiring a telemarketer or call center. Don’t give them strict instructions on how solid you want your leads. Instead, encourage them to make contact with as many decision makers as possible and simply get them to agree to meet with you, nothing more.
I hope these short tips help you on the phones!
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