One Day Sales Seminar
How to Get More Appointments

by Michael Hellerman

There are lots of different ways to reach out to potential customers these days: email, social media, etc. Despite all of these new ways to get in touch, one of the most effective is still the telephone. This usually means cold calling (or warm calling) a potential client to ask them to meet up with you. Are you doing this? Would you like to know how to get more appointments?

Here are some tips but before getting into them, try to remember the last time someone tried to sell you something when you weren’t expecting it. It might have been in a business situation, or something personal. How did you react? Did you find the approach an interruption – or even an intrusion? Most people do, and that is what many potential clients think when you cold call them.

Here’s how you do it:

  • You need to stand out
  • You need to offer value
  • Make the call brief
  • And ask for the meeting properly

That, in a nutshell, is how to get more appointments. Now let’s expand on some of the points.


Standing out

This is the most important part, and there are a couple of elements to this stage.

First, you should have a genuine reason for calling. You will only know this if you do your research, so make sure you do that first. This will prevent you from annoying the customer by not knowing something you could have easily found out about.

Second, you have to sound positive and energetic. Don’t go over the top, of course. But there is nothing worse than a telephone call with someone you don’t know who sounds tired, uninterested, hesitant, apologetic, or unenergetic.

You should be the opposite of these things:

  • Sharp
  • Interested and undistracted
  • Sure (but not arrogant)
  • Confident
  • Energetic

In regards to “energy,” remember that your energy will start to wane as you get towards the end of a long appointment. There is nothing more energy sapping than 30, 40 or 50 minutes of talking and the answer is “no”. If you feel your energy levels falling take a short break before continuing.


Offer value

Your call should offer your potential customer something that is genuinely valuable. This means you should not ask qualifying questions like “when is your existing contract up for renewal”. The answer to this question is valuable to you, i.e. you will know whether you have the chance to make the sale now, or in three or six months’ time. But it has no value to your customer.

Don’t get into a full – or even partial – pitch of your product though. You should give them something that is of interest to them and that has the potential to help them solve a problem, but don’t go into any more detail than that.


Brevity will be appreciated

The person you are speaking to is busy, and you should respect that. This means not waffling or trying to get into long conversations. There is a fine line between being brief but friendly, and being abrupt. You need to find it.

Early on in the conversation explain that you are not going to take up much of their time. The person you are talking to will appreciate this and will be more open to what you have to say. Then be true to your word by being as brief as possible.


Ask for the meeting

Once you have established who you are and have offered the customer something of value, ask for the meeting. Try to avoid asking them a question that has a “yes” or “no” answer. For example:

“Can we meet sometime next week?”

“Are you free tomorrow if I drop by?”

It is better to phrase your question so that they have to answer you with something other than “yes” or “no”, and always give two options. Neither may be suitable, but at least they cannot say no. A good example is:

“Would next week or the following week be more suitable for a meeting?”

The final tip for getting sales appointments is to follow-up. Once you get off the call, send them an email confirming the meeting.

Now all you have to do is make the sale.

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