Friday, 28 November 2014

5 Whys behind the Bargain Buys of #BlackFriday, #CyberMonday, Clearance sale, ...

An estimated £1.3bn is expected to be spent over the weekend, with many stores slashing prices by more than 50% on some items.

The concept of Black Friday -the magic four days - including cyber Monday has now been adopted into the British retail psyche.

The media hyperbole both Offline and On  report the scenes at stores include “mayhem , bedlam, madness , carnage and stampede”. Shoppers are reported as” flooding the stores  scrambling for bargains, stealing the best deals

There are reports of Police concerns as to ‘customer conduct’, stories of shoppers being prized apart, of fights, assaults ..

Yet many bargain shoppers buy things which
·         they don’t end up using,

·         spend money they wish they hadn’t,

·         and waste time window shopping for “further reductions”
The 5 Whys behind the Buys

1. Fear of missing out FOMO WIGIG  - Buy now while stocks last
FOMO is some we are aware of in social media. Fear of missing out on party invites, the gossip and increasingly  today the news.
Online shopping is particularly potent at exploiting FOMO as you see the stock levels of ‘bargains’ selling out before your very eyes. The power of buy now while stocks last or when its gone it’s gone (WIGIG) is strong. We see the same on the TV shopping channels when the viewer is constantly updated on how well the ‘bargain’ is selling.
The rational solution is to make a list of coveted items and only buy what you’re sure wanted before it went on sale.

 2. Competition of the crowd
In the stores at sales there is a sense of competitive sport. Some get a positive rush when they nab an item ahead of others whom they are sure wanted the item. Crowds heighten our emotions and sense of  competition. This in turn can reduce our ability to think carefully about the true value of what we’re buying.

Time is the solution. Take time and few calm moments to level off the excitement of the moment. It’ll reduce the chance of making ultimately an unsatisfying purchase.

3. Believed Value
Strangely enough we depend on the price charged for goods to figure out their value. Yet  most folk don’t understand why for example  one pair of shoes is £ 85 and another £400. So we rely on the price as a benchmark of quality and style. ( You don't get something for nothing) That explains why those £ 400 shoes that are now £150 seem like a much better purchase than a £85 full-priced pair that we might use more often.

The cure is to imagine the sale price as the initial, unreduced price, recommended retail price and ask yourself if you’d be as excited.
4. Focus change from Spending  to Saving
Black Friday type sales shift our focus  from what we’re spending to what we’re saving . We are faced with a myriad of reduced items . Retailers tap into our frenzy of saving by tallying our savings on our receipt or posting savings rather than costs on websites and in the stores.

The fastest 'hit' is to settle up with cash. Credit cards are a cushion and carry the weight of what you’re getting rather than what you’re giving when you shop. Gift cards, coupons and vouchers are even worse, they can seem like “toy money” rather than real money.

5. Return on Time Investment ( ROTI)

Sale shopping, and for many  bargain hunting, takes time and it’s a considerable emotional investment. Many shoppers feel pressure to make good on that investment by not leaving  the store empty-handed. Finding something, anything, can feel like winning a treasure hunt - and of course you can’t leave without the prize.

Keeping things in perspective remains the key. Ask yourself if you really want the item or if your caught up in the moment.

Gaining that desirable item you want is wonderful.

Gaining that discount you need is also wonderful.

Gaining both at the same time is  a harder target to gain.

A simple shift of focus and bit of planning and is all it takes to master the ability to consistently make that truly great discounted purchase.

Yet for many they share Oscar Wilde's opinion " I can resist everything but temptation" 

Related Links

How to sell low price


Monday, 17 November 2014

Valid comparisons in selling and buying- Comparing Apples with Apples or Apples with Oranges ?

The idiom, comparing apples and oranges, refers to the apparent differences between items which are popularly thought to be incomparable, such as apples and oranges.

The phrase may also be used to indicate that a false analogy has been made between two items, such as where an apple is faulted for not being a good orange !

Salespeople often use such comparisons to justify a marginal higher price differential on the lines of

“The extra cost is as little as a daily newspaper”

“The cost of a sandwich” etc

Of course care should be taken what you compare with what and how it is compared

For example, it is all too easy to be seduced by cheap printers for your pc with lots of extra but you should not purchase a machine without first considering the cost of the ink cartridges

Toby Walne's  Article in Mail on Sunday
The newspapers often have a story of comparisons usually how the consumer is hard done by

The Mail-on-Sunday this Sunday  posed the question

Which is cheaper – the most exclusive champagne in the world... or ordinary printer ink?

Well you can guess just how this story was going to pan out .

 Whilst drinking printer ink is not advisable nor refilling your printer cartridges with malt whisky, perfume or champagne is not recommended, it was quite a quite a graphic way to show how pricey printer ink cartridges are.

Apparently if you filled a Krug Clos de Mesnil bottle with printer ink it would cost a staggering   £1,725 !

This article pointed out how long suffering parents whose school children’s homework projects seems to use up cartridges as a phenomenal rate. 

The article also went on to describe how cartridge replacement warnings  come on well before the ink has actually run out.  Also some of those automatic self cleaning regimes according to experts are unnecessary. The article finished with the arguments of refilling the cartridges as being more economical.

Price per millilitre

1926 Macallan single malt whisky                               £48.90

Canon CL541 Colour Ink Cartridge                            £2.30

Hewlett-Packard 300 Tri-colour cartridge             £2.30

Brother  LC-123 Colour ink cartridge                        £1.60

Chanel No 5 perfume                                                     £1.20

Krug Clos du mesnil 2000 Champagne                     £0.90

Moet and  Chandon Imperial Champagne                    £0.05

Of course some  just don’t want accept the analogy of apples and oranges in any case

A fun quote to finish with:

 Chuck Klosterman, "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto"

“Why do you keep saying that " he asked in response "Apples and oranges aren't that different really. I mean they're both fruit. Their weight is extremely similar. They both contain acidic elements. They're both roughly spherical. They serve the same social purpose. With the possible exception of a tangerine I can't think of anything more similar to an orange than an apple. If I was having lunch with a man who was eating an apple and-while I was looking away-he replaced that apple with an orange I doubt I'd even notice. So how is this a metaphor for difference I could understand if you said 'That's like comparing apples and uranium ' or 'That's like comparing apples with baby wolverines ' or 'That's like comparing apples with the early work of Raymond Carver ' or 'That's like comparing apples with hermaphroditic ground sloths.' Those would all be valid examples of profound disparity.”

Related Links

Answering Selling objections 8 stage process

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Historic advantages of immigrant selling skills to English Trade and Commerce

The political football that is immigration, has been kicked about in England for hundreds of years. 

Recently our Prime Minister,  David Cameron has outlined some plans to cut the level of migration from the EU by limiting the number of new national insurance numbers available to low skilled immigrants. The timing of this is probably not unrelated to the forthcoming political by-election in Rochester next Thursday 20th November 2014.
Yet for business to thrive immigrants are part of the deal particularly as far as trade and Professional Selling is concerned.
 Such actions on European immigrants have a long history in England.
Back in the day, the prosperity of the Hanse merchants, who were in direct competition with those of the City of London, induced Queen Elizabeth  I to suppress the Steelyard and rescind its privileges in 1598.
 James I reopened the Steelyard, but it never again carried the weight it formerly had in London.
Most of the buildings  of the Steelyard were destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666

In the tiles that line Fruiterers Passage
 on the Thames Path in the City of London
is a reproduction of
1616 engraving of London
 by Claes Janszoon Visscher
detail of above showing the 'Stilliarde'
I was walking along the Thames path in the City of London last Saturday and came across a street sign “ Hanseatic Walk”. 
 Seven hundred years ago in this location, German merchants set up a trading post or a kontor in this area under the auspices of the Hanseatic league .
 For the next six hundred years they built up a thriving business conclave. There is little one can see of it today but the history is kept alive through street signs.
  As the Thames path goes under the Canon Street Railway station the sign reads ‘Steelyard Passage’.
Out of hidden loud speakers the sounds of  the works of the trading wharfs is played to evoke a past not evident by today’s buildings:a huge gym complex, Nomura Bank and the railway arches of Canon Street and Fuller Pub "The Banker". 
The Steelyard was located on the north bank of the Thames by the outflow of the Walbrook, in the Dowgate ward of the City of London.
The site is now covered by Cannon Street station and commemorated in the name of Steelyard Passage.
The Steelyard, like other Hansa stations, was a separate walled community with its own warehouses on the river, its own weighing house, chapel, counting houses and residential quarters.

The first mention of a Hansa Almaniae (a "German Hansa") in English records is in 1282, concerning merely the community of the London trading post, only later to be made official as the Steelyard and confirmed in tax and customs concessions granted by Edward I, in a Carta Mercatoria ("merchant charter") of 1303.

 The true power of the Hanse in English trade came later, in the 15th century, as the German merchants, led by those of Cologne expanded their premises and extended their reach into the cloth-making industry of England.

 This led to constant friction over the legal position of English merchants in the Hanseatic towns and Hanseatic privileges in England, which repeatedly ended in acts of violence.

 Not only English wool but finished cloth was exported through the Hansa, who controlled the trade in Colchester and other cloth-making centres

In 1475 the Hanseatic League finally purchased the London site outright and it became universally known as the Steelyard.

Lübeck, Bremen and Hamburg only sold their common property, the London Steelyard, to the South Eastern Railway in 1852.
Cannon Street station was built on the site and opened in 1866
Commemorative plaque of six hundred years of peaceful selling
 by Germans in the City of London
In 1988 remains of the former Hanseatic trading house, once the largest medieval trading complex in Britain, were uncovered by archaeologists during maintenance work on Cannon Street Station

So why is this on my mind ?

I am off to run a  Selling Skills programme in Hamburg next week  or to give the city its true title Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg  -the free and Hanseatic city of Hamburg.
View of the Southbank from where the
 Hanseatic Steelyard stood
“The old collapses, it changes the time
 and new life blossoms in the ruins.” --Schiller

Friday, 7 November 2014

Mind your Selling language #Lidl Polish kerfuffle in Kirkaldy British Xenoglossophobia or Clique eradication ?

Alexandr looks on puzzled  my  mug of
Polish Beetroot soup. I can't understand
the Polish but the diagrams are clear
The recent story of  Polish staff at the Lidl store in Kirkcaldy, Fife, being banned by their management from conversing in Polish during their breaks and told to only speak English on the shop floor has caused quite a kerfuffle.

The story was covered in the Scotsman ,The Edinburgh news and London Daily Mail.

One worker in the store, who did not want to be named, is quoted as saying: “I tried to explain to the manager that many customers who do not speak English correctly come to our shop just because they know there is a Polish service at the cash desk, bakery and shop floor as well.

The manager became irritated and told me to carry out his orders. If I am not able to accept them, I should be free to leave for home. My answer was to stay at work. I am the sole bread winner in the family and I cannot be without a salary.”

Apparently some customers have already complained to Lidl’s head office in London and a petition has been launched.

The worker added: “I have been living in Scotland for nearly 10 years and I have never experienced any kind of discrimination."

“It is very sad to be forced to speak English to people who do not understand it and feel confused as they expect to be served in Polish.”

A Lidl spokesman said: “It is Lidl UK company policy that staff speak in English to customers at all times, irrespective of nationality."

There is clearly more to all this than meets the eye - with respect to obedience to management, employee handbooks and induction policy but it also touches the very sensitive  embarrassment of  British business and its attitudes to foreign languages .

What has all this to do with selling ?

Speaking more than one language opens up a whole new stream of potential clients for we in selling and customer care.- both here and abroad 

It makes your non first language speaking prospective clients and partners feel more comfortable and at ease, which is a good starting point for doing business.

It  also goes down well with existing customers from overseas if you make the effort to speak in their language,

  •  demonstrating respect,
  •  interest 
  • and cultural awareness that will stand you in good stead to develop the business relationship.

With English as the dominant world business language, it is easy for English-speaking companies to assume that they do not need to learn another language.

 But having bilingual  sales and customer care staff can have huge benefits for such a business.

The Guardian reported in 2013 that over the past 16 years, one-third of universities have given up offering specialist modern European language degrees.

 The number of universities offering degrees in the worst affected subject, German, has halved in that time.

What the danger of this to selling for the UK ?

Reliance on foreign peers

UK salespeople will continue to have to rely on their foreign peers to be able to communicate in English. 

Spanish is the official language in 20 countries and it has become an increasingly important language for US businesses because of their proximity to Latin America. 420 million native speakers of Spanish in the world

BRIC Countries

Brazil, Russia, India, China

Brazil is an important emerging market and the world’s seventh largest economy. With an annual GDP growth rate of 5%, Brazil represents lots of potential business for enterprises that can speak Portuguese. 220 million native speakers of Portuguese

Better languages skills deliver more effective business performance.  

In sales and customer care communication skills are  vital . Cultural considerations play a significant part as well, such as how to greet one another, when and how to exchange business cards, how to show gratitude, and what gestures or comments those in selling should avoid.

A global study that looked at the attitudes of more than 250 global HR directors, learning and development professionals and C-level executives – found that the main benefits of a strong communications strategy were 
better collaboration across borders (43%)

and improved competitive advantage in global projects (39%).

A similar number (38%) noted a corresponding increase in the quality of customer care that resulted from an agile workforce able to respond to customers across borders and in different languages.

One-third of respondents also reported a reduction in internal conflict arising as a result of improved communication.

 Difficulties caused by the language barrier and cultural variations in communication can lead to frustration, mistakes and delays, hampering the agility of a mobile, global workforce.

Almost a quarter (23%) of organisations also reported that they had achieved cost savings through improved communications and language skills.

e.g.Significant cost savings might arise from identifying and using appropriate internal resources for cross-border projects, rather than hiring expensive contractors simply because of language issues. Organisations can also make substantial savings on the costs of recruitment and training and development, as enhanced communication skills enable global employee mobility.

Benefits that may be less easy to quantify arise from enabling employees with language skills.

Employee retention is likely to see improvement if staff are offered the opportunity of global deployment, overseas travel or postings and the chance to grow and apply their skills within a larger enterprise pool. 

Research suggests that the recruitment cost of replacing employees can be as high as 60% of a worker’s annual salary, with total costs associated with the impact on company turnover adding up to 200% of salary.

Finally  - TESCO Raising a smile !

The media are quick to bash the supermarkets at the moment. This week it's Lidl last week it was  poor TESCO. 

In Aberystwyth Britain's largest supermarket chain put a sign up at an ATM for their store in Welsh. It should have read "arian am ddim" meaning "free money" but the supermarket wrote " cordiad am ddim" meaning "free erections". The sign has since been taken down


London Languages 



The Yes Book by Clive Rich a review #Negotiation

Title of Book:            The Yes Book

Sub-title:     The art of better negotiation

Author : Clive Rich

Publisher : Virgin Books (2013)

ISBN:  978-0-75-354109-8

Genre:    Negotiating skills 

Style:  A structured guide to negotiating written by a practitioner

Contents page: Clear Introduction. Core of Book is in three parts 1 Attitude, 2 Process and 3 Behaviour -  23 chapters with page numbers

Index:  13 pages  . Excellent for those of us who like to dip in and out and go back for the golden nuggets. Comprehensive Bibliography of 4 pages from "WL Adar to JM Zubeck" !!!

Flick through eye appeal: Great cartoons by Kathryn Lamb . Good  sized type face Shaded blocks for the stories.

Time for a breather Stops : None but each chapter is bite sized with well written. Keep a pencil  / highlighter pen in hand. Take time out to pause and reflect

Golden Nuggets: His description of negotiating variables as coinage and currency in a negotiation I found very helpful. ; " from a battle of wills into a quest for mutual advancement  "; "walkaway,"; "WATNA"; and " BATNA "; the Christopher Wren  St Paul's Cathedral Pillars tale, the sisters and the Orange  story and Aladdin and the Genie fable. 

Topic Summary:   1 Attitude, 2 Process and 3 Behaviour -
The 6 key components for a negotiation, the 4 negotiating attitudes 11 sources of bargaining power, 7 stages of negotiation, a dozen bargaining choices, 16 Negotiating behaviours ,22 different ways to deal with 'tough guys', negotiating with different cultures

War Stories: aplenty but have no fear. Some are from Clive Rich's considerable experience both also others' stories are told. All stories used are relevant , not too long and illustrate the learning points of the text.

Illustration: Some presentation 'PowerPoint' type slides in black and white -print small and too detailed and I found difficult to read.Should there be a second edition ( in my opinion there should) the printers could clean up / re-do the presentation slides used. The Cartoons by Kathryn Lamb  are fun. I wished there were a few more - but I like the visual.

Quotes:  "..If you miss out on preparation, you miss out  " , "Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered ",  "Small hinges can open big doors " , "

Short Review:

I doubt master negotiator Clive Rich ever leaves much to chance in negotiation.  His negotiation guide book is structured for what a bride of negotiation needs to wear for her wedding . (Grooms, best men, proud fathers , mothers-in-law and friends could learn from this book also.) We learn what skills to wed in all kinds of negotiation environments from "The Yes Book".

Something old
something new,

something borrowed,
something blue,
and a silver sixpence in her shoe.

Something old:  Clive Rich draws on basics like NLP,  Maslow, and  Psychometric  approaches like Myers Briggs / DISC 'style'. But his approach is nicely simplified and reworked into practical negotiation dialogue you can use. Those familiar with such systems may need to take time to adjust to the labels and orientation from previous learning to the sixteen types Mr Rich employs but I like his approach. Body language in terms of Word, Music and Dance and KAV approaches are also drawn upon by the author.

Something new:  Mr Rich commissioned research from YouGov and CEBR. The data from this is eye opening. He emphasises the move from confrontational negotiation to future partnership collaborative negotiation. I find his writing fresh and contemporary for toady's commercial scene.

Something borrowed:   refers/defers to Robert Cialdini book Influence (another excellent book by the way) Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow. Goldman and  Shapiro's ~The Psychology of Negotiations in the 21st Century

Something blue: Neil Diamond's new song is called 'Something Blue'. Much of Clive Rich's work comes from negotiating in the music and entertainment rights arena. I have no idea whether he has dealt with Neil Diamond but he has for Simon Cowell's  SYCOtv as well as Apple, SanDisk, Sony, Vodafone and Yahoo. His experience of 'team negotiation' in particular, will be of particular interest to those in Key Account Development work.

and a silver sixpence in her shoe:  the author regularly reminds the reader to go to his website, but unlike an irritating stone in your shoe,  it is  really a  silver sixpence of a  treasure trove of information on his negotiation blog posts. So don't get huffy - do as Clive asks you !

Beautifully succinct final chapter which summarises the key points of the book. If only more business authors did this

From our negotiating  equivalent in commercial courting of clients to the corresponding submission of industrial 'marriage' proposals, to  our business partnership 'marriage vows'  made , renewed and celebrated, the one word that can change a life and the only one you want to hear in any negotiation ( as Clive Rich's book explains) 

is YES.

Related sites and links

Making your negotiations ap peeling

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

9 useful tips for better Appointment Making

One of the quickest ways of generating more revenue in  tough times is to get in front of more people  and it’s easiest if these people are expecting you to call.

 Go for the low hanging fruit first  ( well you would expect that advice from this blog !) 
·         Your existing clients,
·         Your referred prospects,
·         Your past clients
·         Your purchased lists or leads  as these names have expressed an interest in talking to a specialist i.e.  you.

The  challenge is to get in front of clients.

      Pipeline management
Sales activity leads to sales. If you steer yourself to the right amount of activity you will achieve the sales you desire.
What do your activity metrics  tell you  at the moment ?
If you don’t generate such numbers yet here is a simple log sheet template to get you started
Client / Individual Name | DMContact | APPT | NI | SEND INFO | DIARY FORW | SIR | NIR | CALL BACK | NOTES
1                                      |                   |           |      |                     |                          |        |        |                      |
2                                      |                   |           |      |                     |                          |        |        |                      |
3                                      |                   |           |      |                     |                          |        |        |                      |
4                                      |                   |           |      |                     |                          |        |        |                      |
5                                      |                   |           |      |                     |                          |        |        |                      |

KEY:  Call back – simply (tick) if you’ve made a call and not spoken to the Decision maker: DIARY FORWARD – If you speak to a DMContact and they advise you to call back another time.  DMC – Decision maker – You only tick this if you have spoken to the correct person not a receptionist
SIR/NIR = Send information relayed & No Interest relayed. This means you have spoken to a third party e.g secretary, assistant, non DMContact

Once you have  data to work as above log which reflects your business ask yourself :
Three  key questions
  •  How many sales do you need over a given period such as a month?
  •  How many appointments with customers do you need to generate these sales over the same period?
  • How many calls do you need to make, over the same period, to generate the desired number of appointments?

Now you need to plot these into your pipeline. Work back from the number of sales you need

Starting with the number of sales you need. Suppose you need 7 sales per week. Now to generate 7 sales, you need to be in front of 12 people. To generate 12 appointments, you need to be making 19 calls, over the same period. You have a sales ratio of 19:12:7. So for every sale you need to be making between 2 and 3 prospecting calls.
Start training your mindset  this way, especially if you don’t like making calls, and few salespeople do.

Set aside a discreet and dedicated hour

 It will help you focus and motivate you to make those 3 calls.

Set aside 1 hour split down by 5 minutes for preparation, 45 minutes  required purely focused at your desk to do your appointment calling and 10 minutes for tidy up add any extra notes  and maybe reward with a cup of tea/ chill out/ have a break. 

Like a fitness regime in the gym you a.warm up , b. exercise and c. cool down.  Whatever challenging goals you have, you need to develop regular disciplines.

So it is with making calls to arrange  appointments. It isn’t something every salesperson wants to do because you’ll get your fair share of rejections and no’s. It’s not an instant gratification hit. But it no making appointments doesn’t keep you appointment-fit either or slim etc....

Avoid Procaffeination ( Making a coffee to put off the dreaded task - Procrastination in the office !)
For the hour  do nothing else but make calls otherwise it’s very easy to be distracted .

The 45 minutes  active call making time has been shown to be the optimum length of time for making calls – any shorter and you won’t get through the calls you have to make and any longer and you begin to lose your sharpness and enthusiasm.
When you have done your 45 min give yourself a reward . A finger of Kit Kat perhaps (if that’s not banned on your diet !)

Plastic Charity bracelet/band
Charity bracelet ( Imaginary or literal)
 Attach a charity bracelet around your hand and handset This will keep the handset in your hand all the time.
This idea  of this is to help regarding the overriding concern of how easily distracted we salespeople can become.
 When you’ve hung up on the customer, keep the phone in your hand as if it were attached to your hand for a minute before you make your next outgoing call.

This  action will also   prevent you taking an incoming call but it will stop you doing much else apart.
Now make  notes or diary entries with your other hand. Use your non writing hand to hold the receiver thus freeing up your writing hand .

My fruits-of-success pear kitchen timer
Why not use a kitchen timer for the 45 minutes

Do not use a conference facility on your phone. The quality is not as good as handsets.
Please do not disturb sign .
Ask you colleagues to respect your 45 minutes dedicated call time

Make sure you have everything to hand before you pick up the phone . Get your CRM system or rolodex  opened up, diary ready and pen that works with some note paper ready. It is a good idea  to switch off your mobile phone as well !

Remember your objective is to get an appointment not to sell on the phone
Your objective is a meeting either face to face or maybe via web conferencing or telephone. Don’t get drawn into discussing your product or service.

Have a list of reasons of why meeting face to face is better for them.
e.g. Confidentiality in face to face, to show samples, to demonstrate something, client can all in colleagues who might be interested  etc

If asked for more information, explain that this is precisely why meeting them face to face is best suited to  both  parties and you’ll be happy to do this for them.

Get your voice warmed up - maybe exercise with some verbal tongue twisters e.g.
  •   Seth at Sainsbury's sells thick socks.

  •   Six 'slimy salesmen' sailed silently. 

  • ·         2 Y's U R.
2 Y's U B.
I C U R.
2 Y's 4 me!
  • ·         11 was a racehorse,

22 was 12,
1111 race,

Before you pick up the phone to a client  why not make a friendly call to someone else to get you in a more relaxed mood. The keys to your vocals for making appointments are
  •  lowering the pitch your voice a little,
  •  posture
  • and facial expressions (smile, it can be heard over the phone).

 Some people like to stand to make appointments and this is a great tip. Not only does your voice have maximum capacity but standing also makes you feel more confident.

Try using “ ( Their name) ,if it’s convenient right now this is Hugh Alford from ….”
You might find this template handy. If you want a script write you own it will sound more natural.


Good morning… ( Their name) ,if it’s convenient right now this is Hugh Alford from ….”

Hook with an attention getter to help you position your questions

Relevant questions to help you establish the need




‘Link’ to help you position the appointment
“From what you’ve said”, “Based on what you said…” “You mentioned…”


Ask for appointment
Finally you ask for the meeting by giving them some suggested dates and times as this allows you to group meetings especially if you have to travel to the customer.

Finish off by confirming your name and the meeting arrangements, thanking them and say goodbye.

Good luck and Good Selling

Related links

Monday, 3 November 2014

7 steps to making appointments and obtaining interviews by phone and on site

As competition increases, and clients and prospects become busier and busier, the challenge of getting in front of the right people at the right time becomes greater and greater. 

So you must become more skilled and more professional at making appointments and obtaining interviews with both new prospects and existing clients.

The principles are basically the same for both categories.  But the application of those principles will differ according to whether you are making a first contact or a repeat call.

There are two main methods available to you:
·         Telephone
·         On site calling

Other methods like email, advertisement returns and direct mail can be used either to obtain leads or to prepare the ground for you, but any of these has to be supplemented by one of the two main methods.

The 7 step sequence

Two delegates on a sales programme in role plays,
 they are back to back ( to avoid eye contact) using mobiles
 at Warwick Conferences, University of Warwick
This is the same whichever method you are using and is very similar to the sequence of an actual sales presentation:
  1.           Clarify your objective(s):  the primary one must be to get to meet the person, but secondary ones could be to obtain information or referrals.
  2.          Prepare:  remind yourself of the questions/facts/benefits you will use according to how the situation develops, and how you will answer the most likely put-off’s or objections; review 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; be sure to get it right; give your first name and surname; never appear apologetic for interrupting but thank the prospect for speaking to you if he/she has done so at an inconvenient time.
  4.          Obtain 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; don’t waste time.
  5.           Explain the benefits of a meeting:  motivate the prospect to want to meet you by giving a beneficial reason for doing so; but remember that at this stage you are selling the interview and not the product/service.
  6. Liz role playing the salesperson, 
    Kerry playing the role of  a challenging client !
    Answer objections and avoid put-offs politely but firmly:  always appreciate the client’s point of view; never argue; emphasise that the meeting can be brief; explain why a personal meeting is necessary in the 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.

Special considerations

·         Secretaries and  PA s:  they must be your friends and allies not your adversaries; be polite and never ‘talk down’ to them; always introduce yourself with first name and surname and be careful about the use of their first names (if in doubt, don’t); ask for their help; smile (even when on the phone); be friendly but don’t waste their time; ask them for information; if they ask for further details before they will put you through, keep it short and simple and politely repeat your request.

·         Receptionists:  exactly as for secretaries and PAs but when  calling on site be patient and do not rush them; offer to speak directly to your prospect on the receptionist’s phone if preferred; be confident but not aggressive.

·         Literature:  sending or leaving literature is very rarely any good by itself; it can even be counter productive because it gives a prospect a reason for not seeing you personally; always be prepared to explain why it is not a substitute; have ‘mini literature’ which you can send if necessary which will simply whet the client’s appetite; if you have to send full literature then use it as a reason for calling back for a personal appointment.

·         Business cards:  try to avoid giving them to front desk receptionists, as a snap (negative) judgement may be made by a prospect if your card is read over the phone or presented ‘cold’.

Liz and Kerry practice using their mobiles

Q: How do you get those appointments?

A: Practise Practise Practise