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

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