Think about it. How would you react, as a customer, receiving a phone call from a salesperson saying: “….I work for company xyz and I would like to drop by to introduce myself, I am in the area next week Tuesday and Wednesday, what suits you best?” What would your first reaction be?
Put yourself in your prospective customer’s shoes. This person probably has a relationship with someone who sells what you sell. And in their eyes, your competitor is creating value for them. They may be considered a strategic partner. So meeting with you may seem like a waste of time.
Furthermore, your contact probably has a very limited amount of time. To stay ahead in business every company has gone leaner, and every manager has to do more and produce better results with fewer resources. They are pressed for time and can’t keep up with their workload. So, your contact will need a very compelling reason to agree to give you some of their precious time; “Dropping by” or “checking in” do not sound like very convincing reasons.
It’s time to reverse-engineer your appointment making. What would it take to get their commitment to meet with you? What would go through their head, what would they think about when you are calling? What would they expect from you? Probably something like:
- Please don’t waste my time. If I meet with you, I need to gain something in return.
- Please don’t give me a standard sales pitch. I have heard these so many times before.
- Please come prepared. You need to know what we do, and who we compete with
- Please understand the challenges we face in our industry
- Please share with me something I don’t know. Share some knowledge, insights, ideas that will spark my interest, or are useful to know.
Wow. If this is what they are thinking why don’t we open our calls proactively meeting these expectations? For example:
“Hi Barbara, I am calling to ask you for a twenty-minute meeting to share with you three trends that can generate new growth opportunities for businesses like yourself. I would like to share how similar businesses have taken advantage of these trends successfully. You may find this interesting. Whether or not you ever do business with us, I promise, I only need twenty minutes and I won’t waste one minute of your time.”
Fill in your own variation. Ensure you meet the above customer expectations of salespersons calling them for an appointment.
Appointment making from a buyer’s perspective means you have asked for time to share ideas and insights, you have noticed with similar customers and are relevant to their business. You come across as a person who is prepared and worth knowing. And lastly, you promised to offer valuable advice, whether or not they decide to take the next step with you.
Practice your own variation. What do you have to lose? By reverse-engineering your appointment-making, you are already a step ahead of your competitor sales reps.
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