In Media, making telephone calls to set up sales appointments is like having a root canal. You know you need to go to the dentist, but you're not looking forward to it. However, if you look at the phone as a step-by-step appointment-getting system, it can become one of your greatest marketing allies.
Ensure your chance for success before the phone call. Seed the prospect. If you are targeting a jewelry store, send out two or three seeding articles 10 days before phoning to set up the appointment. Send industry articles that specifically address the jewelry business. Don't attach any of your product information or one-sheets. Simply write, "I thought you might be interested in these articles."
When you call to set up the appointment, prospects will already have your name in front of them. Now, you are positioned as a resource, not a spot peddler.
Conduct an in-store survey. How much pre-call planning do you do? It's time to start. Take a 10-15 minute stroll through the business before placing the call to get an appointment. Notice the displays, the way the salespeople interact with the customers, the merchandise, markdowns, square-foot usage etc.
Be sincere. Tell them what you saw, and offer ways to help. What are they going to say? No? Again, you'll be perceived as somebody who cares and went out of his way. Most sales reps in our business don't do this.
THE BIG SIX-STEP GUIDE TO GET IN THE DOOR:
1 Introduction - Always ask for the prospect by using his first name. "Good morning,(gatekeeper). This is Tom Hennessey, calling for Craig Hahn. Is Craig available?"
2 Purpose of the call - State your reason and use a benefit statement. Describe three things that you have done for your clients in the past 90 days. You can also use your years in marketing as a way to establish personal credibility. Now, tell them why you want an appointment: to learn their business, share traffic generating ideas, etc.
3 Triggering the buying motive - Ask one question that you know will have a positive response. "Is increased UP (car dealer terminology - speak their language) traffic important to you?"
4 The trial close - "Great. I need 15 minutes on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m.Which day is better for you?" Keep silent and wait for the answer.
5 Addressing concerns and objections - No matter how prepared you are, you are still likely to encounter objections. Most of them come from four major areas: money, indecision, weak desire and time. Be prepared to handle them.
6 Confirm the next step - Establish time now that they have said yes. Instead of the hour or half-hour times, schedule 10,20, 40 or 50 minutes past the hour, so that would stick out in the prospect's mind. Never hang up the phone first. Never knock the competition. Instead, always compliment them. Get to the point and don't ramble. Sit erect and visualize the prospect. Always have a smile on your face and always send a thank-you note to confirm the appointment.