Struggling to get in front of your prospects? Use these tips to set more appointments today
I was sitting at my desk full of energy happily executing my to-do list when an old friend calls and asks, “Elisha can I pick your brain real quick?” My first thought was dang I forgot to put my phone on silence. Sometimes I have a knee-jerk response to pick up when the phone rings so I started silencing it when I’m doing work. My second thought was, if I let you pick my brain I won’t have much left now will I?
Before I go any further let me say the “pick your brain” question is one of the worst ways to ask for help. We all need help at some point; there are better ways to ask which I will share in a later article.
In any case, I say shoot what’s up?
My friend recently started a home care agency. He told me that he had read some of my client reviews including what partner business owners had to say about working with me and my team. “I want that too” he said “when I call I can’t even get past the receptionist, it’s soooo frustrating”.
I ask him, if he’s cold called in person. He replies yes. I say tell me what that looks like. He goes on to describe his process for doing so which is basically running in throwing marketing materials at the receptionist, rambling on about his services then haul-assing outta there. I laughed (couldn’t help it) and said to him been there done that.
We scheduled some time to chat later that day. When we spoke I got him together *snap*. The following tips will help you set appointments when cold calling by phone which is where many new business owners like my friend start. In the next article I will share some helpful tips for cold calling in person along with scripts for both (Yippee!!!).
Tip 1 Prepare: Do your research on the account, learn as much as you can about them and their customers. In your research try to identify who is likely to be decision maker in the business. You won’t always be right but having a name to inquire about sure beats calling and asking for an appointment with the “decision maker”. Can you say telemarketer?
There have been times when I’ve called into a business expecting to reach a gatekeeper only to find myself speaking with the owner or another important decision maker. And no they won’t pick up the phone and say “Hi I’m the decision maker, how may I help you?” So be prepared. Over the years I’ve learned that my chances of reaching an owner increase when I call before or after hours because owners don’t always work normal business hours but gatekeepers like the receptionists do.
Have your 15-30 sec elevator pitch/commercial or whatever you choose to call it ready to go (introduce yourself, your company, and your company’s value proposition). Share how taking 20 minutes out of their time to meet with you benefits them (their customers) and be prepared with 1-2 dates and times to schedule the appointment.
Tip 2 Ask for what you need: Nobody likes cold calling we know that, it can feel really weird, even embarrassing so don’t make it worse by trying to chat up the person on the other end of the line as if you know them. Don’t open the call asking about their weekend or how they like the Eagles this season…ick…they don’t know you.
I like to open asking for exactly what I need. Here’s one example of how I do it. I open by saying, “Hi my name is Elisha and I was wondering if you could help me?” Usually they answer “sure” or “what do you need? “Because I am prepared I am able within in 15-30 seconds paint a picture in their minds of how can help them (their customers). I tell them that I’d like to make an appointment with Dr. Who and then I find out how to go about doing that.
In the next article I promise to share some more examples of the questions I ask which help me learn more about the business I’m calling, who the decision makers are and how I get to yes. People generally want to help so be sure to ask for what you need. Just don’t call and ask to pick their brains.
Tip 3 Drop some Client Love: As soon as I started building a clientele in my area I was dropping client love left and right in my sales calls. If you have happy customers…use them. I’ll share how to get great client testimonials in a another article. Dropping client love is easy but I caution you don’t lie and only drop client love when you can back it up with references, written or online testimonials. Here’s a few ways to drop some client love into your call:
“Hi Ashley, My name is Elisha I own Company X we work with some of the region’s top surgeons helping them to xyz for their patients which has resulted in happier customers and an increase in their word of mouth business. We’d like to work with you. I’m calling to schedule some time to come in and speak with Dr. Who”
“Hi Ashley, My name is Elisha I own Company X I work with Dr. McDreamy and his team helping them to xyz for their customers. Their customers rave about our services. I would like to schedule some time to come in and speak to Dr. Who about how we can help at your practice.
These are just 2 of the many ways you can drop some Client Love. In the next article I’ll go a little deeper and share more examples.
In closing I want to remind you to take the pressure off by focusing on the ONE thing you need to accomplish in this call…scheduling the appointment. This is not a sales call for the purpose of converting – you are not selling the person on the other line. You may not always get the appointment on the first try. Don’t take it personally. Do ask questions and try again.
Stay tuned for the next article…