Why do some Appointments no-show? I have had a couple of interesting in-house consulting and training jobs just recently. In both, the telephone sales team were cold calling to make appointments for the salesperson. The first company were making appointments for a face to face sales presentation and the second were making appointments for a teleconference by phone.
In the first scenario, the telemarketers were saying they wanted to make an appointment for a sales consultant to say “Hi and drop off some samples”. Was that a compelling reason for anyone to feel they had to keep an appointment? If the prospect had something important to do at the time set, I am sure they would have felt it unnecessary to keep the appointment. After all, the sales consultant could just leave samples at reception.
In the second scenario, the prospect was not turning up for the teleconference call,. I believe this was because the telemarketer, on the initial cold call,had not given enough compelling reasons for the prospect to make sure he kept the appointment; He had not created enough pain for them telling them what they were missing out on if they did not attend. In some cases, he had not reconfirmed the appointment the day before or even given the prospect a number they could call in case they had to reschedule. There is considerable cost in having salespeople scheduled to do presentations to prospects. It is beyond my comprehension why Managers are not watching what is going on with their telesales team. Perhaps the telesales team needs to be rewarded for making the appointment only when the appointment shows up?
Today I had a call from someone wanting to make an appointment with me to help me with my IT. He told me he wanted an appointment so he could spend just 15 minutes telling me what his company could do for small business owners. What the heck would I waste 15 minutes of my time when I already have IT help? He never told me once what he could do for me which was all I was interested in . He just talked about him and his company without asking me a single question. Then at the end,to add insult to injury, he asked me what the name of my company was! Didn’t he know whom he was calling? Why do Managers waste their time employing people like this without training them?
Ten Ways To Ensure Appointments Show Up
Inactive customers are people who may have bought only once from you or placed a small order. Never think they are not worth calling. It is a vital sales strategy to stay in touch with these customers as well as with your existing customers because you will be able to make more sales from them. Here’s how …
Maybe at the moment inactive customers might not justify a face to face call but you can certainly pick up a phone to stay in touch. You might be afraid to call them because they might tell you that they have gone to another supplier or they had a bad experience with you.
Making sales by phone requires skill. One of the main reasons some staff (particularly new staff) fail at prospecting is that they do not sound confident . Well, if you are new, understandably you may not feel confident so you might need to be trained in some simple techniques how to sound confident. You might have to fake it till you make it. This is so important as no-one is going to buy from someone who is not sounding confident in themselves or their product or service. Your job is to generate such confidence in your product or service and transfer your energy to the prospect on the other end of the phone.
When making sales by phone, here are 5 simple techniques to sound confident
1. When you call someone with an offer and they say “NO,” you can call them again because the next time they might be in a different space. Persistence does work if you do it in a nice, non pushy way.
2. When negotiating, don’t drop the price too dramatically just to get the sale. It makes it look like you were trying to rip the client off in the first place and makes the client suspicious that the products have much less value.
3. Do not lie to get a sale. Offer the client the right option for them even if you lose a bit of commission.
4. Pay the client a compliment when you first meet them . Comments and criticism do not build rapport.
5. People like to know the name of the person they are dealing with so provide it.
6. Do not be too familiar with new clients. Not everyone likes hugs and kisses from a stranger.
7. Do not make the customer call you about an error on delivery. You call them as soon as you find out.
8. If a client complains, acknowledge the client straight away before they tell thousands of people .
Here’s the full story of what happened
A great Lead generation tool is LinkedIn but so often when people want to connect with new prospects on LinkedIn, they send the standard request “I’d like to connect with you on linkedIn.”
Prospecting Emails must create curiosity and interest
The prospect has not got the faintest idea “why”, so I recommend you make it more personal and give a reason to create curiosity and interest with the prospect. Just writing the above requires the prospect to look up who you are and take time out from their busy day. Make it easy for them and write an email like you write a script for a cold call.
1. (Flatter the prospect with something you noticed about them) e.g. “I read your article in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday and noticed you are moving to Melbourne soon.”
2. (How you can help them personally) “We can offer you a reliable removal service between Sydney and Melbourne. (Get the word “you” in there)
What sets us apart is __________ (or)
What you get from us that no-one else offers is………
I would firstly suggest we connect on linkedin. Please feel free to accept and do let me know when and how I can best assist you when you are ready to move.”
It’s easy to find something out about prospects nowadays to accommodate Point 1
Closing techniques need to be learnt to be successful in sales. Last week I was coaching a client how to reply to internet enquiries and close an appointment on the phone. He called me in for help because his closing rate on appointment setting had dropped dramatically and he wanted me to listen to him to find out why. The problem was, he talked too much about himself and what he could do instead of asking the prospect questions about their situation to build rapport. When the customer asked him questions, he gave them all the answers so there was really no need for him to come for an appointment!
Yes, he talked himself out of the sale. Remember you can do all the talking at the appointment so the less you say and the more you listen, the more likely you will be able to make the appointment.
Closing Technique Correction
When making an appointment, all you need to do is ask 1-3 questions, repeat back what the customer says to show you are listening and say “It sounds like we can definitely help you. When would you like to come in for an appointment so we can resolve these issues for you, next week Monday or Tuesday? ) Give a choice of days so they cannot say “Yes” or “No.”
A postcard from Stephen, a salesman at Mcgrath Real Estate arrived the week before Father’s Day with a competition to win a $500 prize. “Write in 25 words or less why your Dad is the best”. I let my 2 sons know and asked them to do the competition. My younger son did it straight away and after 4 days of reminders, my older son had not done it. I asked him if there was a reason why he had not done it and he said, “Oh, it will just be an excuse for the real estate agent to keep ringing us or mailing us because they will want us to give our phone number and email.” I pointed out that the reason for doing it would be to win a prize for Dad and that he could easily unsubscribe from any information that was sent by the real estate agent in the future. He then sent his submission in but I feared it would have missed the deadline of 5pm Friday before Fathers Day.
As my older son predicted, sure enough, at 9.30 am on Saturday, the phone rang and it was Stephen from Mcgrath Real Estate.
Last week I went to a new dentist. I had never met him before so I told him very clearly what I wanted to achieve from the visit. I needed to replace a filling which had dropped out and I would like a clean and polish too, nothing more.
At this point he promptly tried to sell me on the idea of having x rays (He said that it was advisable to have x rays every 2 years) and he wanted to do a check-up too. There was a possibility (he said) I might have an infection in the gum above my crown. (I knew I had not got an infection as I had recently checked this). He would not stop talking for 12 minutes and then said he would not have time at this appointment to do anything more than the filling so I would have to come back for the clean and polish and pay for a second appointment.
The point of the story is, if he had just listened to what I wanted, he would have achieved the 2 tasks in the half hour appointment. I would then have trusted him, seen he could do a good job, and then I would have been happy to order more services that he suggested. Because he started selling at me the minute I arrived, he built zero rapport and trust with me.
Make sure you build trust and rapport on the phone and face to face before you ever start your sales pitch. Use open-ended questions and establish the customer’s needs, demonstrate listening skills and then you can customise your sales presentation to the customer.
Perhaps dentists should incorporate sales training in their apprenticeships do you think?
As the leader in telesales training in Australia I am constantly looking for more effective ways to do cold calling and telephone sales generally. I was blown away by the information I learnt from a speaker called Sam Richter at the National Speakers Association conference in San Diego which I attended a couple of weeks ago. I can’t wait to share this with you as it can relate so well to sales.
1. You know, if you have read any of my newsletters, that I advocate finding out something about the prospect before calling so you can make a cold call a warm call. Well, now it’s easy to find out about a company or a person by using google filters.
For example search in google for a company name like “Trend Micro”. If you write it in inverted commas it will come up top and save you time going through all the irrelevant searches that come up. Then click on “News” at the top, then click on “Search Tools” at the top for most recent news and all the latest articles written about the company or by the company will appear. You can then start your call with “I just did a google search on your company and saw your latest article about _____. That’s really interesting. I’m curious, how did that affect you?” or “What happened exactly?” Often the prospect has not even seen the article himself and will be asking you more about the content. You are then engaged in a conversation about them which is just what you want to build rapport.
In the last two weeks, I seem to have had a series of bad sales experiences and, honestly, if you have people in your team doing this, they will be losing you business big time. They need to be trained (or fired), whichever way you think best. But if you are a Manager, maybe you are not aware of what your staff are doing (or not doing) on their sales calls. Do some phone calls and face to face calls with them and check out what is happening.
In the space of 2 weeks, here is what happened and what you can do about it:
I emailed 5 floor tilers to get quotes for a kitchen floor. Three did not reply, one replied asking me to call him. I called him, he asked no specific questions to clarify my needs and gave me a random figure over the phone. Another one rang to say he could not quote without coming round to see the job first. Obviously I went for the last person because, if he could be bothered to come round and see the job first, he was going to be bothered to do a good job for me. He was the only one out of five who went the extra mile.
I was in a shopping mall and was asked to sample a new skin cleanser. The sales assistant said I should keep it on for 5 minutes so I said I would go to the ladies and come back. My skin felt great so I decided I would buy it. When I got back to the shop, the girl was nowhere to be seen. A guy was busy with another client and told me my sales assistant had gone to lunch! That was one lost sale for sure forever.
I tried to book a holiday house down south. The real estate person said she would email me the details. I never got the details so I rang back. She said she would send them again. Once more I did not get the details. I rang back and was told it was her day off, I would have to ring tomorrow. Needless to say, I went to another agent to find a house,
I got a leaflet from a chiropractor offering his services at half price for the first visit. I rang for an appointment and he said he was busy with a patient, and asked if he could ring me back. I gave him my number but he did not ring back. Another lost sale because I certainly did not ring him back.
I see people like this abusing the profession of sales all the time these days. To be the best you can be, I recommend you stand by my 3 principles, as they have been the making of my own sales success over the years
1. “People don’t care how much you know, they want to know how much you care” (show them you care by staying in touch, addressing their problems until they are resolved, following up quotes and information you send out to them.)
2. Never say, “I don’t have time to do that” . Ask yourself a better question “How can I make some time to ensure I do that?”
3. Follow up every enquiry by phone that comes in via email and web. You can end up selling more than was originally requested and more importantly you can build a relationship with the customer.
Follow up inactive customers, you will be surprised that you will be able to revive 25% of them back to doing business with you.
Sorry if this is a bit of rant but truly, let’s raise the bar and make sure we are always performing like professional salespeople so we can proud of our profession.