Monday, 12 October 2009

7 steps approach to appointments on the phone

I find this works well in my own work. Give it a try.

1. Refine your objective(s): Likely as not you want to get to meet the person, but if you can’t get that you could obtain information or elicit referrals.

2. Prepare: remind yourself of the questions and benefits you will use according to how the situation develops, and how you will answer the most likely put-off’s or objections. Go over the information you already have about the person/organisation; ensure you have your diary and other materials to hand.

3. Be polite and respectful but sound confident: use your prospect’s name immediately and ensure you get it right.
Give your first name and surname; never sound apologetic for interrupting but thank your prospect for speaking to you if he/she has done so at an inconvenient time.

4. Obtain their attention quickly: use a question, a referral, a previous request to “contact me again”, a factual statement or some other ‘attention getter’ as soon as possible; and don’t waste time.

5. Make the benefits of a meeting clear: motivate your prospect to want to meet you by giving a persuasive reason for doing so; but remember that at this stage you are selling the interview and not your product/service.

6. Answer objections and avoid any rebuttal politely but firmly: always appreciate your client’s point of view; never argue; emphasise that the meeting can be brief; explain why a personal meeting is necessary in your client’s interests; don’t be led into making your actual presentation by phone (unless this is appropriate).

7. Close on your objective: ask for the appointment directly, with or without one of the back-up closing techniques (e.g. offer alternative times/dates); be as flexible as necessary in terms of when/where; resort to a secondary objective only if you completely fail in your primary one.

Any tips , refinements or advice you would add to this approach ?

Related Links

3 key levels of Sales Research

5 ways of gaining a client’s attention

 3 Parts to your Differentiated Value Propositions)

5 of the most common objections and how to handle them

 7 effective closes)


  1. Thank you Hugh great advise. These days I am finding it is common to get through to voicemail, which can be very off putting and disheartening, it took a bit of time and practice, but now I find v/m is a great opportunity to start building rapport. I always try to leave a short friendly message stating who I am, where I am calling from and a number, sometimes people do call back! You often get additional contact details at the end of voicemail messages such as mobile mumbers which is a bonus. E-mailing seems to be the new medium these days as well, and I am finding that a good 50% of my appointments are secured this way. I try to keep them brief with an attention getter aligned to them and their business, using information gained from research. Again a warm sincere approach, which is genuine, I want quality appointments that are qualified. Buyers are well versed in selling techniques these days and are not impressed by cheesy unprofessional approaches, however in this current climate they are looking for opportunities with suppliers that might improve their companies offering and help make them more competitive, so demonstrating that you understand this and may be able to support that with your service or product does get them interested! I would love to know if anybody else is having similar experiences, or has any other ideas on how to get in front of people.

    Looking forward to your next blog Hugh.

    TTFN Jax

  2. Thanks Jax

    Your point about integrating v/m and email is an important one.

    By leaving a message on the client's voicemail saying that you will email them details of how your offer will help their business in terms of say, time, resource and money with the specific subject heading of 'X', helps the client to spot your email and not mistake it for Spam to delete unopened from their in-box.

    Future posts on my blog are going to cover an A-Z of selling skills in tougher times.

    So " watch this space" -follow the blog