Rob got off the phone and his frustration was obvious. His facial expression was that of Ralphie on Christmas when he thought he wouldn't get the Red Ryder BB gun.
His voice carried it, too:
"Gatekeepers aren't a problem. I can get through to my contacts every time. I just can't seem to consistently get the appointment," he lamented. "Even when it's a warm call – if I met them at, say, a business social or something like that – whatever I'm saying is not getting it done."
"If I can't see them," he continued, "I can't help them."
He picked up the receiver and, with me listening in on a few more calls, a couple of things became clear.
"Rob, it's obvious that you love this company, the product and the job in general."
"I do," he responded.
"Enthusiasm is good – but it's still just one component of selling over the phone and especially cold calling. Given all your sales tools, the buyer has to be thinking four things before they get off the phone with you. If they're missing any of them, the probability of you getting the meeting goes down dramatically."
1. "Wow! I want to meet you!"
CEOs, business owners, prospects of all kinds are bombarded with sales calls daily. Many are from sales people who despise the work, or at least that part of it. As a result, there is no energy or excitement in their call, and buyers cannot wait to get them off the phone. It's depressing to hear their pitch.
Hearing a spark on the other end of the line immediately gets one's attention, because in the sea of mediocrity, we're looking for people who are as passionate about their jobs as we are. We want to surround ourselves with people like that.
"Wow! I want to meet you" is generated by a genuine excitement with what you're doing and a communicated caring about the problems your prospect is trying to solve. It's about trust and not the artificial enthusiasm of a game show host.
2. "I believe you can help me."
If the prospect doesn't believe you can help them with a known problem they are having, there is no way they are going to schedule a meeting regardless of how engaging you are or much they want to meet you.
Time is too precious. Be smart and understand their business before you get on the phone. Be a student of your target markets. Learn how they describe their problems and get to it quickly in the conversation. If you don't speak their language, they won't believe you can help them and – you're out.
3. "I'm intrigued."
This is the polar opposite of, "I know everything about your product because when I answered the phone you vomited all you knew about it in a verbal diatribe." Intrigue means that they know just enough about what you do and what you're selling that they need to learn more.
If your introductory calls are too long or too involved (Rob's were), there is no intrigue. There's no need to meet – you told me everything.
Better stated: I believe you told me everything.
Be concise, precise and show the highlights. Think of a movie trailers: They tell us just enough to make us want to see the whole thing.
4. "I know what to do next."
The prospect has to be clear on what is going to happen next. Be clear in setting a meeting with a specific time and date. Is there something you need them to do before you arrive?: Talk to the CFO? Survey their managers? Review their spending on inventory management?
Having them prepare something lets them know that meeting with you is going to be productive and answer real questions.
Rob called the next day to report he had set six appointments in a 90-minute period. During the next two weeks, his conversion rate on introductory calls almost tripled. His appoint book ballooned.
Wow! I can't wait to meet up with him.
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