Phone Prospecting Tips for Setting up Appointments

by | Feb 3, 2014 | General, Business Growth Tips Blog, Marketing and Sales Blog Posts

In an age when everyone is suffering from email overload it pays off to simply pick up the phone.  Of course, you probably know by now my first recommendation is to use LinkedIn to help you make connections before your even begin your phone prospecting. People are much more inclined to listen to your entire phone prospecting approach if you first build that connection online.

The key to successful phone  prospecting is planning. Using guidelines and a script on the call doesn’t have to make it sound mechanical if you’re listening to a customer and connecting with his communication style. These tips will increase your phone prospecting close rate and build your confidence in using the phone for marketing and setting up appointments.

1. Have a written out phone prospecting approach.

You might think that winging it is will make your phone prospecting approach sound more natural. On the contrary, “winging it” only leaves you with inconsistent results. It also ends up making your phone prospecting sound more confusing to the person answering your call because you inherently end up spitting out fragmented phrases you’ve used randomly in the past.

Since a confused mind says “no” be sure to take the time to write a well thought out phone prospecting approach that quickly builds rapport, asks relevant open ended questions and gives the customer enough information to accept your invitation to set up an appointment.

Make your phone prospecting calls from some place comfortable. Relax, think about successfully closing during your phone prospecting calls and have a smile on your face. Your body language comes through over the phone in subtle ways so have a positive attitude before you dial, suggest ATC Conferencing. If it’s helpful, imagine that each customer is actually sitting in front of you watching your body language.

2. Be an active listener.

When your prospects are answering those open-ended questions you’ve prepared don’t be thinking about what you will say next. When the prospect is speaking do nothing but listen to get a sense of:

•  how the person communicates
•  what the person currently needs in his or her life
•  how your product can fulfill one or more of those needs

Notice things like – does the customer seem rushed? Out of breath? How did he or she answer the phone? What background sounds can you pick up? This will give you some sense of the person you’re speaking with. Based on that, you can begin to match his or her communication style.

3. Mirror the Customer.

Match the speed and volume at which the person is speaking. Listen for the person’s choice of words, phrases and slang. Try to use them throughout the conversation. When you use the same language during your phone prospecting calls it resonates more with the customer. It makes communication easier. Use the customer’s name two or three times in the conversation as well.

4. Qualify the lead.

If this is a cold prospecting phone call, then you’ll have to qualify the person as a potential customer while you are going through your phone prospecting approach. For example, if you’re an insurance company you can use a resource such as QuoteWizard homeowners insurance leads, you’ll have a list of pre-qualified customers. You’ll still need to listen to the customer to determine where your product will fit into his needs. He may be in the market to purchase a new home, which would be a good time to switch his home insurance to your company.

5. Get the prospect involved.

One of the best ways to set up appointments during your phone prospecting is to get the customer active in the buying process, according to The Sales Hunter. Ask the customer when he thinks the best time would be to make a purchase decision. Perhaps he’s neglected to add a rider to his homeowner’s policy to cover expensive jewelry or electronics in his home and is about to leave on a month-long trip.

Ask the prospect if he or she was in the market to work with someone like yourself, what would the key decision criteria be to help them determine if you were the right fit.

6. Be sure to invite them to connect with you.

If the prospect ends up saying “no” to your invitation to set up an appointment, don’t get discouraged and toss out their phone number. “No” often means “not right now” or “I don’t understand the product well enough.” You want to leave each call with and invitation to stay connected. The best place to connect is on LinkedIn, so you’ll need to ask them for their email address to send them a connection request on LinkedIn. (which should be included in your written out prospecting phone approach).

7. Give before you get.

The number one rule of networking is also my number one phone prospecting tip — GIVE BEFORE YOU GET! What motivates a prospect to want to connect with you beyond the initial phone call is the opportunity for them to gain the type of introductions they are most interested in building.  Ask your prospect the simple question:

“In my line of work I end up meeting lots of different types of great people.                                                                                                                              What kind of strategic introductions would be most valuable for you as a _____?”

You will never know what your prospect’s biggest priorities are if you don’t ask. Finding out what is most valuable to them allows you to speak in terms of their currency — their money language. Typical answers I’ve heard range from:

•  looking for new hires in key positions
•  introductions to people who would be their target buyer
•  introductions to referral partners for them

Don’t expect you will have an immediate contact you can introduce them to. That’s why it’s smart to get their email address to send them a connection request via LinkedIn. That way, you can tell them you’re going to jot that down and keep your eyes out among your network.

Practice these 7 phone prospecting tips when you want to focus on proactively setting up appointments.

QUESTION:  What is your biggest challenge when it comes to calling those decision makers in your target market? Please share in the comment box below.


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