The following post was edited from some great material provided by Roger Hamilton, VP of Sales & Marketing at Contact Science.
The underlying reason for poor performance (and low productivity) when setting first appointments on the telephone is a lethal combination of three fears:
- Fear #1: Fear of Sounding Stupid. You're afraid that once you have a target on the phone, you will stumble and fail to convert the conversation into an appointment. This is not a fear of "rejection"; it fear comes from not having mastered the skill of converting a conversation into an appointment.
- Fear #2: Fear of Wasted Effort. You're afraid that you're not "working" the target correctly; that you are in a random pursuit. A call here, a call there; leave this voicemail; craft an email, etc., etc. . You're flailing and you fear your results will correspondingly flail and your efforts will be ineffective.
- Fear #3: Fear of Lousy Process. You have the same hesitation and take the same deep breath you would take before starting to rake leaves with a shovel in a wind storm. Experience says that, even if you're successful in getting the appointment, there is no efficient way to develop and close the deal.
Here's a three point plan to eliminate these fears::
- Step #1: Develop Your Skills. Either through available training or available written material work to improve the ability to control the flow of the conversation, to handle pushback's and to secure an agreement to meet. You must learn how to deftly and professionally handle the predictable negative responses to a request for an appointment and still secure an appointment. As a result, you'll feel the confidence that comes from being able to control the conversation. (Geoff's note: Start advice: "The Ultimate Cold Calling Tool.")
- Step #2: Adopt a Sales Methodology. Find (or create) a written methodology that sets in place the specific pursuit of any group of suspects, including how many times to call, the frequency of those calls and the messaging used in voicemails, emails, and/or videos. Developing the "Best Practice" model will eliminate the feeling of flailing or being caught up in a random pursuit going nowhere. (Geoff's advice: Start here: "The Customer-Drive Sales Process."
- Step #3: Measure and Adapt. Either manually or with available technology develop a way to execute your best practice and training in a way that enables you to track the pursuit of targets very precisely and in the most efficient way. By tracking activity you will gain control and give purpose to your telephone activity. You can begin to determine how many initial appointments you need to make quota, how many conversations you need to get those appointments, how many calls you need to make that conversation goal. (Geoff's advice: Start here: "Live Post: Sales 2.0 Conference in Chicago".)