A phone is the quickest mode of communication, I bet only a few people would opine otherwise. Without recourse to where you first met or spoke to the person you intend to make an appointment with over the phone or answer enquiries, every day, all year, speaking on the phone saves time especially if the feedback received is negative.
Either way, phone communication is just amazing and in most cases, irrespective of the response, to make a complete sale, you would have to make a call at some point.
Having said that, the key to getting appointments over the phone is to plan. What does this mean? It doesn’t mean having a set phone script that can make you sound overly mechanical, rather, it means trying to connect with a customer's style of communication and having instant answers at your fingertips.
In this post, you will learn a few tips to help prospect and get appointments over the phone. If you're a sales agent or you're always prospecting, know how to get appointments over the phone may be all the difference you need at your job. The following handy and useful tips will help to develop the skills necessary for getting those appointments over the phone.
Tips for Prospecting and Getting Appointments Over the Phone
Try Writing Out Your Prospecting Approach
Writing out your approach is necessary for you to get a hang of what you intend to let the customer know about your product or service. This doesn’t mean sounding as though you have a memorized script, but you can write out possible questions generated from the benefits of your product and its Unique Selling Proposition.
Writing out your approach helps you understand likely questions and answers come out naturally when questions are asked; you will never be caught unaware of some questions.
One of the most embarrassing things that could happen when trying to get appointments over the phone or answering an enquiry over the phone is to consistently reply “erm” “erm” “please can I call you back to give you more information on that?” This act can easily put the customer off, so you shouldn’t take any chances. If this happens, a more suitable way of answering would be to confidently say something along the lines of “We'll get back to you on that as soon as possible.”
The more you practise the easier handling business over the phone would be. Getting your appointments over the phone is just minutes away if your communication is well vocalised.
Engage Active Listening Skills
In prospecting and trying to get appointments over the phone, it is natural that there are open-ended questions, so while your prospects are answering your questions, you must be able to listen intently and actively too. You shouldn’t be thinking about your next question; once you are well prepared, you will listen to all that’s being said and ask the next question with all necessary attention paid to previous answers. Three major things listening to your prospects gives you:
- You know how the person communicates.
- The needs of the speaker.
- How your product and/or service meets their need.
Engaging your listening skills will enable you to know what questions and points to give to your prospect. Where your product meets fifty different needs, but your prospect requires only one, listing all fifty would be unnecessary, the smart way would be to reiterate that one benefit as though all others do not exist.
Furthermore, you may decide to mirror the prospect at this stage, that is, when you listen to the slangs, words and phrases being used, using some of these throughout the conversation will beckon to the prospect that you have the same interests, even though you don’t. Ensure you personalise your conversation by using first names to address your prospects as this will endear them to you. overall, active listening gives you the key to knowing how well to communicate with a prospect, gett appointments over the phone and generally produce better results.
Get the Prospect(s) to Participate
According to Sales Hunter, you can easily bag appointments over the phone where you get the prospect involved in the buying process.
Asking a prospect the best time he or she thinks he will be prepared to make a purchase is roping them into the process. This way, he will know you are not being forceful but giving enough time to be prepared and you are confident that he will make the right decision at the time he is ready.
Invite Them to Connect with You
If the prospect says “No”, don’t give up and toss the number in a bin or your trash box, instead, try inviting them to connect with you on various platforms such as LinkedIn, so you can politely ask for their email address to send offers and also include them in your newsletter. Someday, they may decide to patronise you after careful thought. Research shows that a good number of prospects who say ‘No’ at first instance end up making a positive decision later.
Do Not Start Off Selling
When making a sales appointment over the phone, do not sell to your prospects but, press on to get the appointment to make a sale or to simply expatiate on reasons why your product or service will be great for them and worth their penny. Many sales representatives fall into this trap as this is the focal point of the call but equally an act that puts people off.
All you need to do to help the prospect understand is that you want a meeting and not a decision to buy your product. Remember that you are not the only one prospecting that client, several other companies may have reached out and usually a selling attitude will be perceived from your choice of words. So choose your words carefully.
See this example of a telephone script for getting appointments over the phone
This is Mary Poppins calling from Skyscraper Ltd. I hope I haven’t disturbed your schedule?
Brilliant, I am calling because, at Skyscraper, we help managers with simplified training for junior sales staff. I am not so sure that our products suit you but would you mind answering few questions, please?
Judging from their performance so far, how is the current training that new sales staff receive on joining the company? I am asking because most managers seem to have challenges with getting their sales team equipped with hands-on training to get them to perform highly as expected. Having seen that many managers are faced with this dilemma, we decided to reach out to you as you may require this need in your organization.
Our training equips your staff with (share the benefits of the training being offered)
I hope you don’t mind that I called you out of the blue with no prior notification and I apologise if you are no more interested in this conversation, but if it is otherwise, it would be great if I can be allowed about 15 minutes with you to further discuss our product and how it will influence your team.
Is this something you would want to include in your schedule?
This is just a sample and can be amended as appropriate.
Getting an appointment over the phone gives the same chills as cold-calling, but the trick is to think positively after having practised all necessary ‘possible questions’; you will be amazed at the number of appointments over the phone you'll have secured.
Hopefully, you have been able to learn a thing or two about prospecting and getting appointments over the phone. Let us know other ways you adopted that yielded positive results in the comment section below.