Getting that first sales appointment is the key to everything else.
The first foot in the door, the start of the business relationship. But it’s all too easy for that door to slam shut and stay shut… meaning you don’t get to make a great impression, solve the prospect’s problems and convert a much sought after prospect into a client.
And you don’t get to send an invoice either… your competitors get to do that… not you.
So, how can you make sure you get the appointment every time?
I can tell you how, I can give you the words and the structure, but I have to also tell you one more thing.
It’s this… this structure is not for the faint hearted. If that describes you, then I have to ask… what are you doing working in sales? Interesting choice of profession for you… but read on anyway because following this structure will make you a sales superstar at booking appointments.
So here you go with my rock solid 6 point plan to get more sales appointments than you know what to do with.
Just watch those sales diaries start to fill up.
You’ll get maximum impact for your telephone time, plus your cancellation rate will be zero.
Research your prospects before you talk to them.
I mean really research your prospects. When you get through to the ultimate prospect decision maker you have one chance and about 5 minutes to get that appointment… so, although lots of people will tell you about doing lots of fact finding on the telephone and 7 layers of qualifications, well, they are all ways to make sure you DON’T get the appointment.
Instead, do your qualification questioning and research before you pick the phone up, so you know who you are talking to, so you know that they are exactly the person you need to speak with. You only need 7 levels of qualification if you are doing research.
You certainly don’t need that level of qualification if you know you are talking with the chief decision maker in a highly sort after prospect company… that’s like having the goal lined up and deciding to have a bit of a kick about before you try to get the ball in the back of the net.
Why would you risk it?
Truth is… you wouldn’t.
You’d take the goal straight away.
Let me give you an example. You will have (read: should have) a list of gold prospects who you would love to meet and present to.
You know who they are, why you want to present to them, and hopefully you also know why they should definitely buy from you.
Now, consider this list… would you need to qualify these prospects when you get through to them on the telephone?
No, of course you wouldn’t. You’ve already done that. You’ve done your research.
That’s how it should be for every prospect you approach.
And I mean every prospect.
So good should be your research that the first question you ask when you get through to the desired prospect is this
‘I understand you are the person in your business who is specifically responsible for (insert your interest here)… is that correct?’
And, of course, your prospects response will be ‘Yes, how can I help you?’
It’s that simple.
Don’t complicate it.
If you find yourself doing 7 levels of qualification with the main target, just be aware you are reducing your chances of success at every tick of the clock.
State your reason for calling.
Be specific. Be brief. Be results and outcome focused.
‘The specific reason for my brief call to you today is to arrange a time to demonstrate how (insert your BIG BANG here)’
You have told the prospect several things here.
You’ve told him that this is not a hit and run sales call.
You’ve told him that it’s a very brief call.
You’ve told him the very reason you are calling.
You’ve given him an impressive and compelling reason to see you.
It’s obvious that the bigger the bang, the more relevant this is, the greater your chances of getting the appointment, but more on that later.
Your tone, pitch, volume and speed should be congruent with that of a peer to peer exchange.
You should be confident and business like.
You’ll never get away with this pitch using a Mickey Mouse type persona… step into the shoes of a successful business professional and deliver the line like a pro!
The prospect’s response will be, quite naturally ‘What is it you have?’
I’ll explain how you respond to that shortly…
Before I move on to the next section, let’s talk about the BIG BANG.
It’s that statement you’ll use to grab the prospects attention, so you get his attention immediately. You get him to stop scanning his email. You get him to sit up straight, grab a pen, start listening and thinking.
Now you know why it’s called the BIG BANG.
Now, the BIG BANG, here’s an example:
If you’re selling sales improvement packages to target focused sales directors and sales hungry business owners you might have a BIG BANG that’s something like this,
‘Hi Mr Prospect, I can increase your sales performance by as much as 30%, sometimes higher, can you spare 30 minutes to meet with me to discuss how this could work for your business?’.
What’s the response likely to be?
You got it!
After all what do business owners, sales managers and sales directors worry about the most?
Of course, increasing sales and profits… so you can see why 30% improvement in sales performance makes then sit up and say YES!
So – what’s your BIG BANG?
Remember, it’s got to be something that gives HUGE benefit to your prospect – could be results, time, money, status, efficiency…
When you were doing your research, some of the research would have been around dealing with the issues and identifying problems faced by your prospect, specifically those problems that, with your firm’s help and your firm’s products, the prospect can solve.
Now the key here to help you with your BIG BANG is to understand and articulate how your product/service/business can help them BETTER than any other competitor can.
What have you got in your armory that would make your prospects sit up and take notice of YOU?
What do you have that your prospect desperately needs in order to solve a major problem that he has?
Here are some examples:
If you were a legal firm – is your record for winning tribunal cases, litigation or successful mediation something you are especially proud of? Perhaps you’ve never lost a case, perhaps your clients have been awarded some of the highest payouts ever recorded, or perhaps you have been commended for the speedy resolution of cases you deal with?
If you are a lender – do you have a higher than average record for saying yes to firms applying for finance? Do you have a super efficient turn around process on applications? Can you offer finance that others wouldn’t underwrite? Do you specialise in particular types of finance? Are you rates more competitive? Do you specialise in a sector? Have specialist knowledge? Deal with their competitors? Speedy claims handling process?
If you are an advertising agency – how many award winners have you had? How much revenue have your client secured as a result of your efforts? How has their market share changed? How have they opened up new markets? How have they diminished their competitors? How have they grown as a result of your intervention? How have they fought off hostile market conditions?
If you are a business coach – how many of your clients have broken through major goals? How many of your clients have gone on to change their lives? Change their business? Grow? How have they done it? What did you helped them achieve their goals? How did you do it? Over what period? What results?
If you are a manufacture – do you have an impressive customer list? Are you working with their competitors? Are you processes more efficient? Are you more environmentally friendly? Are you recognised as a leader? Are your systems more responsive? Are you innovating? What does that mean for your customers? Are you world leading/cutting edge?
Or perhaps you have a recent high profile success story? Have you been acknowledged by the prospect’s industry as being of note, best in class?
OK, so you may not fit into any of these, but you get the point…
I guarantee you that your business will have its own BIG BANG; you just need to look for it.
So, have a totally open mind, talk to some of your existing clients, and have a creative session using some key creative tools that will unblock your thinking (more on these later)
Now, remember, your BIG BANG is a statement of fact… it’s not a 100 word blurb you verbally vomit when your precious prospect picks up the phone to you.
One statement. No more. Nothing. Not one word more. Just one sentence. That’s it.
AND… don’t even think of making another call to a key prospect until you’ve worked out what your BIG BANG is… you’re just wasting opportunities otherwise.
AND, be radical, stop being boring.
Your BIG BANG needs to stop the prospect in his tracks.
You need to flick his internal switch from ‘oh no, not another telesales call’ to ‘wow, I need to pay attention here’, and what’s more, you need to do this in just one line.
Yes, one line and one line only. No waffling allowed.
So, what’s it to be?
What’s your business most proud of in terms of the RESULTS and BENEFITS it provides for clients, RESULTS and BENEFITS that solves the clients key/major problem?