Clearing the Hurdles to Appointment Setting

Posted on December 7, 2016

You know you have a great product. More importantly, you know that once you’re face-to-face with a prospect, you have an excellent chance convincing them your product is great. The problem is, getting that face-to-face meeting.

If we’ve learned nothing else from the recent political campaigns, it’s that we all hate the invasion of a sales call. Above all else, remember appointment calls are not sales calls. But let’s assume you already know that. What can you do to make more appointments over the phone?

  1. Voice Activated. Telemarketers are instructed to smile when they speak on the phone, and it’s true, this does impact how friendly a caller sounds. As a salesperson, trying to get a foot in the door, you need to go beyond this. If uppermost on your mind is, “I’ve got to make this sale!” it will be broadcast loud and clear. Assume a friendly, helpful, and confident attitude before you even pick up the phone.
  2. Expert Energy. Assuming a positive and expert persona is just the beginning. At this juncture, the most important thing is to be non-threatening. Don’t try to sell them on a sales appointment, suggest that you’d like to get together to see if your publication is a good fit for their product. You might even hint at a “very special offer” that is custom-designed for them. This is not the time for a sales pitch, rather, you’re just trying to determine whether what has worked for other advertisers might also benefit them.
  3. Name Dropper. Use details of happy customers, drop a few names and success stories. Referrals are even better, but you’re not always going to be that lucky. Be specific, giving percentages, savings, etc. as examples of how your publication was a powerful tool for a client in a similar business.
  4. Master Mimic. This is an old, tried and true method that works equally well over the phone as it does in person. If the prospect is a fast-talker, pick up your pace. If they have a sense of humor, relax and show you have one too. Mirroring the prospect will make them feel comfortable and that you seem to have a lot in common.
  5. Mind Your Manners. When you ask for the appointment, at least appear to be accommodating. Ideally, you’ll suggest specific days and times, but always follow up with, “What is best for your schedule?” Regardless of the outcome of the call, always thank them for their time. Politeness costs nothing.