Getting Through to the Prospect
In some cases, your efforts to get through the gatekeeper and speak directly with a buyer about setting up a sales presentation will be rewarded. Your call is put through to the buyer and you must sell him or her on a meeting. Now what?
It's a good thing that you're prepared for this eventuality. You're ready to impress the buyer sufficiently to earn a sales appointment. Your plan is to introduce yourself, appreciate the call, state its purpose, ask for the appointment, and thank the buyer. Following are proven suggestions for speaking directly with the buyer about a sales appointment.
The first step — introducing yourself — sounds easy. However, to do it efficiently, consider what the buyer wants to know. Who are you, who do you represent, and why should I care?
The who is easy. The why isn't as obvious. However, it's a vital question to ask yourself before you begin talking: why should the prospect care? You should know the answer. In many cases, the answer is because you can help solve a problem that the prospect probably has. But
Buyers aren't sitting by the phone awaiting your call. They are immersed in whatever they do all day. Your call may be an interruption. Assume that it is and be clear as you speak. Begin with the buyer's name to gain attention before moving on to your specifics. For example, “Ms. Jones? My name is Art … Art Smith … and I represent Acme Widgets.” By giving your first name twice, you are making it more prominent and suggesting that the prospect use it.
If you have any referrals to the prospect, state them now. For example, “Your engineer, Syed Hussaini, suggested that I give you a call today.” Of course, make sure that you can respond to the question “How do you know Syed?” if asked.
You just interrupted your prospect's day. It doesn't matter whether the prospect was planning the next great project or simply eating a donut; you've interrupted. Sincerely thank the prospect for taking your call and you will begin developing positive momentum that could end in a sales appointment.
I'm certain that you're busy, Mr. Prospect, so I'll get to the point of my call.
Thank you for taking my call, Ms. Prospect. I appreciate getting a couple minutes of your time.
Pardon my interruption, Mr. Prospect. I'll be brief.
Here's where the prospect learns WIIFM: what's in it for me. Until now, you've been talking about yourself. Make your statement of the call's purpose as succinct and as individual as possible. In fact, write it out in advance so you don't miss it. In addition, reading it aloud will slow your delivery down and help the listener understand it easier than a rote statement.
Make sure that the purpose is as individual as you can make it at this point. For example, “I'm calling because I learned that your company is expanding into China and I want to make sure that you know of our international business services.”
The point of your call is not to sell a product or service, but to get an appointment. In fact, if the prospect encourages you to offer your sales presentation on the telephone, you should consider whether it is in the prospect's best interest. Can you present the facts sufficiently for the prospect to make an informed decision. If not, keep pushing for the appointment.
The purpose of my call today is to set a meeting with you that can help you reduce HR costs.
May I meet with you to show how we have improved investment returns by 20 percent?
Can we set up a meeting next week that explains how Acme Widgets reduces plant maintenance costs?
Again, the primary purpose of your call is to
Give prospects a choice. Is this week better or is next week? Do you prefer meeting on Tuesday or Wednesday? Is morning or afternoon better for you? Does 1
Thanking the buyer for setting an appointment does many things. First, it offers your appreciative attitude while recognizing the prospect's power. Second, it allows you to confirm and remind the prospect what you've agreed upon. “Thanks for agreeing to meet with me next Tuesday at 2