“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” – Wayne Gretzky, Hall of Fame Hockey Player
What’s next? You still have to pick up that phone, or knock on that door, and talk to your prospect. You have to know what to say in order to get an appointment, make your presentation and close the sale. You can do all the preparation in the world, but if you don’t pick up the phone, you will not sell anything.
The first phone call is usually to introduce yourself and set another time to talk when you can present your product. We often call this the pre-approach, or the warm call. You want to create enough interest so that the prospect is willing to make time for you later. Typically they are not expecting your first call, so you want to be considerate of their time.
I think it’s good for the first few calls to have a script handy to support you in case you freeze up. You never want to read directly from the script, but have it there in case you need help. Practice with a colleague a few times before you pick up the phone. It’s very helpful to hear your own voice saying the words, so that you feel comfortable talking the talk. Actors have to rehearse before they go on stage. You should rehearse too. It takes a lot of the anxiety out of the situation.
Here are some suggestions for what to say when you want to set up an appointment with a prospect:
1. State clearly your identity. “My name is Lee Ann Farmer, and I work for Possibilities Unlimited.” Be sure to use your first and last name. People know a lot of Joe’s, Laurie’s and even Lee Ann’s.
2. State what you have in common – have you met before? Did someone refer you? Do you belong to the same professional association? Do your kids go to the same school? “Ralph White knows you from the local chamber of commerce. He asked me to give you a call.”
3. State what you have to offer. “Our company works with businesses like yours to create results in sales.”
4. Ask for the conversation. “I’d like to set up a time to talk about how your sales department is doing, and discuss how we’ve been able to increase sales at other companies like yours.”
Once you’ve got a few of these calls under your belt, you’ll become more and more relaxed and confident about selling. I always try to make every call personal, but not take it personally. Do your research, be friendly and engaging, but move on if the prospect is a dead end. Use your script, but only as a guideline. Find something unique to say to each prospect, and just keep going. Before you know it, you will have appointments booked weeks in advance, and you’ll be winning the game of sales.
In a future blog, we’ll delve into sample conversations for presenting your product or service.
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