Leave the Pack Behind – How to Book More Sales Appointments This Year
This post contains free resources and sales training tips to fatten you book this year.
Making more money in sales is simple. Just close more deals. Closing more deals is simple. Book more appointments. The fastest way to book more appointments is by using the phone. Is it time to up your game and improve your phone skills? If so, read on.
3 Sales Training Tips for Making Appointments on the Phone
1. A Captivating Script
As simple as this idea sounds, a well crafted script still yields powerful results. When you create a script, you have pre-planned your conversation with the decision-maker so that you clearly answer your prospective client’s unspoken question – “Why are you calling me?” With this pre-planning, you significantly improve your odds of success. If you have a script, you will feel less pressure during the call.
You may be thinking that a script will make you sound phony, stiff, or ‘canned’. I have seen many companies that have a canned script that they teach or give to their sales people. I don’t suggest that you ignore the company script. In fact, the canned script can give you a great place to start. I just don’t recommend that you stop there.
Make the script yours by adjusting it in the following ways.
- Adjust the wording to make sure you can say it without sounding like you are reading a script. Sometimes this requires a little practice and repetition before the words feel like they are rolling off your tongue.
- Use terminology and vernacular that is familiar to your client. Where confusion is high, decision making is low. Do not speak below or above your clients communication level.
- Create value propositions.
Value Propositions are the key element for gaining an appointment
A well crafted value proposition stresses the benefits, results, and solutions your product or service provides. It focuses on outcomes not the actual product or service you are selling.
Let’s look at a typical sales call for making an appointment on the phone to gain grater understanding of this technique:
“Hi, I’m and I represent company from San Diego, CA. We offer a large line of swimming pool products, accessories and pool toys. Kids just love our new volleyball set . We also offer pool pumps, pool filters, and training for our clients. I would love to get together with you and show you our cost comparisons.”
I would be surprised if you could get half way though this pitch before the client hangs up. Notice that this speech yells, “LOOK AT ME AND MY STUFF!” It can shut down a perspective sales because it sends the completely self-serving message that, “I WANT TO MAKE MONEY FROM YOU!
Golden Rule of Sales: You client is not interested in what you do or the products you sell. They are interested in what you and your product can DO for them or their company.
Here is a stronger statement:
“We increase profit margins for pool companies by providing high quality products at reduced wholesale costs.”
Notice we are beginning with an attention getter – “We increase profit margins.” Your B2B client’s number one desire is to increase profit margins. Your prospective client will probably ask for more information.
2. The ability to recognize and adapt to the communication style of your client.
Hidden in the behavior of your client is an understanding of how best to communicate and sell to them. This is known as the psychology of sales. Although this might sound too deep or time consuming for sales professionals, it is really quite simple to grasp and apply. It all begins with building rapport.
Rapport is the deepest level of relationship individuals have in the business setting. Once you’ve established rapport with a client they know, like and trust you. These people become long term, repeat clients who provide quality referrals.
The first step in building rapport is to adapt to the communication style of the client. For instance, people tend to be more slow or fast paced. We can pick up on this from the first ‘hello’. Getting to first base with a prospect involves matching the pace they are exhibiting at the time of the call or meeting. Please note that this is not for the purpose of manipulation. We adapt so as not to irritate the other. If you are fast paced and have ever encountered someone speaking very slowly, (or vice versa) you understand what I’m referring to.
Connect more rapidly with others and convert more leads into paying clients with this simple explanation of human behavior and decision making.
3. Phone Call Sessions
Live phone coaching is where theory meets application. The thought of making sales calls in front of a group can be very intimidating. But, it is the quintessential element for participants to master the skill of booking appointments on the phone. Interestingly, after a few tense minutes at the beginning of the session, participants begin to gain confidence. By the end of the session everyone is pleasantly surprised at the number of meetings booked. Most importantly, they leave with greater confidence and skill.
Activation and accountability can be tracked with regularly scheduled phone call sessions. These can be done in groups or privately. The key issue is recording results. Results don’t lie. I recommend to the companies I coach to meet as a group at least once per week to get the team engaged together. The first time you schedule a calling session, allow 3-4 hours. Once you or your team get more comfortable with the script and have more practice addressing objections, you can work in 30-45 minute increments on a regularly scheduled basis.
The mechanics of a phone call session for making appointments
Schedule the calling session in a room large enough for each person to have a table. You do not want the calling session to sound like it originates from a telemarketing center. However, you get an electric synergy in a group setting. Make sure that people have plenty of room to work. Post a tracking chart that everyone can see. The tracking chart should have the following categories:
- Calls made
- Appointments booked
- Call backs
- Clients who said “no”
Note: We track how many say “no” as well as those who say ‘yes’. Surprisingly, the “no” category will be the smallest by far. These are the calls many sales people fear the most and will encounter the least. Keeping a record of these calls provides two benefits:
- The group realizes how rare these incidents actually are.
- It helps the group to laugh it off and extinguish any negative effect the bad experience might have on the caller.
How to prepare and execute a phone call session
Everyone present should have a CALL list with at least 50-75 names and numbers. Set a goal for the number of appointments the team will book. Create a team atmosphere. Everyone present should agree to:
- Remain as close as possible to their script.
- Stay in their seat until they make at least 10 calls.
- Avoid lengthy conversations. Remember, you want to book appointments not chit-chat I wanted them to stay in their seats, dialing their phones. We kept the tracking chart current so that people could see their progress. Seeing progress really helps people stay motivated to keep going after they experience a rejection. The group dynamics were great. People could see other people booking meetings. They even started to compete with each other. Everyone could see that the principles and techniques helped them to become successful.
What if you need to work alone
Entrepreneurs, those selling insurance, small business owners, and individuals in direct marketing often work from home. Therefore, they book appointments on the phone sitting by themselves. This is also very effective, as I make over 100 outbound calls a week from my home office. Here are some valuable guidelines for you:
- Set aside a time every day to make calls. Decide which hours of the day are best for contacting your target market and reserve at least one hour within that time slot.
- Decide on a fixed number of calls you will make each day. 10 calls can be completed in under an hour. Remember, you’re not doing a long sales meeting on the phone. Your purpose is to book a meeting, which should take only a few minutes. Make 10 calls per day, 5 days per week. That comes to 50 calls per week and 200 calls per month! That’s 20 sales meetings per month even if only 10% of these convert.
- Engage an accountability partner. Be answerable to someone you respect. This will help you be faithful to your business plan.
- Finish on a positive note. Protect your attitude about booking appointments by ending the day with a positive call. That doesn’t mean the last call ends with a meeting booked, although this is a super confidence builder. It can be just a pleasant call with someone who might engage with you in the future. Subconsciously, if you last call of the day was from someone hanging up on you, you are less enthusiastic about calling tomorrow.
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