15 Tips to Making More Telephone Appointments, More Often

So we all hate having to make telephone appointments, it’s a pretty thankless task at the best of times, but if you learn your craft well, at least you will be out there getting appointments and making things happen. Just remember, if you sell a product worth say 5000 pounds, and it takes you 100 rejections to get that sale, then each of those rejections is worth £50.00. If you were paid £50.00 just for getting a NO each time, you’d be on that phone day and night wouldn’t you?

These tips are just a few of the many hundreds I could write from my 17 years experience of cold calling and appointment making. Nothing happens without a sale.

The tips.

1. Be absolutely clear why you are making the call, establish in advance what it is you want to happen, structure the questions around that outcome, remember – sell the appointment, not the product!

2. Basic politeness, not false, if you enjoy people, it shows, try to enjoy yourself, you are a specialist in one of life’s most noble professions. be courteous, no matter what’s going on at the other end, you are the professional, prove it.

3. Keep good records! So many telephone marketers lose the plot because they just can’t remember where they are up to with their list, I have done this myself, re-calling a client I only just spoke to with the same sales pitch! It’s worth saving yourself this embarrassment just for the sake of paying attention and making a few notes in a system, not just a pad you might lose.

4. If you call an automated system, press zero, it is usually a default for reception, if that doesn’t work and you are forced to listen to the whole menu of options, make a note of the option number for the next call so you will save time.

5. Tape the phone to your hand! Well that’s just metaphorically speaking. The point is, just start phoning and keep at it, just promise you will do a chunk of an hour to start, no matter what, it is so easy to do anything but make the calls you know matter.

6. Always address your prospects by their title, i.e. Mr Jones, using first names on a cold call can appear to be over-familiar, I have been caught out a couple of times and learned very early its title first, until rapport is built between you.

7. Listen, Listen, Listen! So many sales people miss this one, on the phone doing their script and not listening carefully to the response. Missing vital info and buying signals. Try repeating each word your prospect is saying in your head very shortly after they have said it. It is a good discipline to make sure you are using your ears and mouth in the right order.

8. Stay off the radar. Simply getting more chances to be put through to a prospect by not alerting the gatekeeper to who you are. If the prospect is not there, just quickly say you’ll call later thanks, and off you go. I wouldn’t usually leave a message until at least a good number of attempts to get through.

9. Be persistent. Try varying your call patterns, call later, call early, call on a Friday afternoon, don’t buy in to the myth that there are times of the day not worth calling, making appointments is like fishing. I have often abandoned a fishing location, only to see another angler come in exactly the same place and get a full net! Technique and belief are what matters.

10. Get it out quickly. Prospects hate a drawling delivery, say it quick and keep it sharp, not too quick, but just at a good pace, get to the point early, ask for what you want.

11. When speaking avoid filler words like er, erm, y’know, they are diluting your delivery and make you sound clumsy. Just be aware of what you are saying and ‘kill the fill’ You will get more appointments.

12. If not now when? Both if your prospect is not available, or if your prospect has said there is a chance of an appointment, just not yet. Why is now not a good time? When will be better? Can we pencil that in the diary?

13. Have your diary at the ready, with a good idea of how many appointments you are going to make. If your diary is not even open in your drawer, you are just programming yourself to believe you aren’t going to make any meetings. Have a positive expectation of the appointments, how many, and when you are going to schedule them.

14. As Henry Ford Said: “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right either way.” Think positive, take rejection and learn – It’s not personal, enjoy it, it’s made you stronger! Develop a formidable mental attitude, read motivational books.

15. When you close on an appointment, confirm the details carefully, get the date right, confirm by email, offer that if the prospect wishes to make any changes, they can feel free to. It will demonstrate you are a professional, and not make the prospect feel trapped and closed on.

Phil Ashforth is Managing Director of Apple Creative Design, a design agency offering graphic design for print and web based in Preston, UK. The agency also provides marketing consultancy to complement their range design services Look at his work on http://www.apple-design.com

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