Many salesmen rely on setting in-person appointments to close a deal. They often spend a large majority of their work time calling potential clients to set appointments. If you have been struggling with this aspect of your sales job, there are many effective appointment-setting techniques to try. The main key is learning how to overcome objections during the phone call.
Your opening line and introduction will set the tone for the rest of the phone call. According to Sales Training Tips, you need to make sure you are using the most effective, attention-grabbing lead-in to make the best impact. You should not be making random calls. Use a call worksheet to write out information about the client and what it is in it for them before you pick up the phone. For example, if you are trying to set an appointment to talk about the client’s potential staffing needs, use information from its company website or recent news releases to create your opening line. An effective opener may be, “Good Morning, this is (your name) from ABC Staffing, and I would like to discuss your upcoming staffing needs. I see from your most recent press release that your company just started a new product line that will be marketed for the upcoming holiday season, and I’d like to talk to you about some seasonal customer service representatives.”
Even the most seasoned salespeople have to constantly overcome objections over the phone. The objections are varied and typically include, “I don’t have a current need,” “My schedule is packed,” or “I already have a vendor I’m happy with.” At this point, you need to keep your focus on the main goal, which is setting the appointment. This means that you don’t have to sell them over the phone; you only need to listen carefully to their objections and overcome them to get that in-person appointment. According to Performance Coaching International, you should first acknowledge their objection to begin to build the personal relationship with the contact. Never just immediately launch into your selling points.
If the client says they are too busy to meet, tell him that you completely understand and that everyone seems to be swamped at this time of year. However, he does have to eat lunch, correct? Invite him to a lunch appointment or offer to bring him by a boxed lunch. If he says that he has no current needs or has budget limitations, tell him that many of your clients were in the same situation when you first met with them. Continue by telling him that you’d love to meet with him now to get a feel for his business and his work style and preference. That way, when he does have a need, you will be ready to help him.
One of the main mistakes many beginning salespeople make is that they are not assertive or confident enough over the phone. Don’t just ask to meet with them. Ask them to meet on a specific day and time. That way, the prospective client can actually look at his real availability. If the client is not available, then propose a different day and time.