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
In order not to miss out on sales, it is important to change our strategies from time to time, particularly strategies to retain existing customers
I remember in the recession, when the training side of my business slowed down, I realised how important it was to retain existing customers. I made the decision to call some of my past in-house training clients to give them ideas of what they could be doing to get more sales at that time.
As a result of asking them good strategic questions, (And not just “How are you going?”) they realized what they were not doing and should be doing. Recognizing the extent of my experience in sales and marketing many hired me to review their marketing material, write their sales systems and strategy, (something they had never documented before) create their inbound and outbound call scripts, document the tasks of each salesperson’s role and create a training manual so that anyone new starting the role could start training themselves. The number of consulting jobs that resulted from this exercise replaced the reduction in training jobs I was experiencing at the time.
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
People buy from people who are like them so we need to become as much like our customer as we can to build rapport. We have talked about ways to build rapport before in the telesales tips newsletters like copying a customer’s speed, talking the same auditory, visual or kinaesthetic language, asking open-ended questions and demonstrating listening skills. Now let’s look at another way to build rapport.
I was training a team in a large contact centre recently when one person said, “I really like this new script you have given us. It is much more concise and to the point and we have had a 33% increase in sales overall in our first week of using it. We have been taught to chat to the customer a lot more and ask them all about their pets before we start selling the idea of buying raffle tickets to raise money for the RSPCA.”. The light switch went on for me. Their trainer clearly did not have an awareness of the DISC profiling of the basic four different styles of people or customers. He was quite right to teach the chat style to his team to build rapport but only if the customer spoken to was an Influencer (I) on the DISC profiling system or a Steadiness (S) type of person on the Disc Profiling System. The S and the I are social people people who like to chat to you. However, if you are talking to the Dominance style of person (D) or the Conforming style of person (C) these people want you to get to the point, tell them why you rang and what the bottom line is, then get off the phone.
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
When you do telemarketing or prospecting (whichever you personally classify yourself as doing, it is the same thing), I am constantly reminded of the importance of opening a telemarketing call with a good “interest-grabbing statement” to make people want to hear more.
This is so important to leave on a voicemail message too. If you don’t take the time to develop your interest grabber, you’ll probably sound like every other salesperson.
An interest-grabbing statement contains one unique or distinguishing benefit that leaves a lasting impression on your prospect. It differentiates you from your competition.
I was training 26 telemarketers on the Gold Coast who worked for a debt collection company. We came up with a great introduction for them. They used to say “Hi this is ____ from Marshall Freeman. We are a debt collection company.”
Well, so what! That was all about them. The person you are talking to wants to know what the benefit is for them so we changed their opener to “Hi, this is ______ from Marshall Freeman Collections. We help you turn your debts into cash.” (Then it’s time to stop talking, start listening and launch into open-ended questions to find a need).
It was this same company that said they did not ever leave a voicemail message when prospecting for new business.
As you can imagine I receive a fair number of telemarketing calls myself and if I am in the middle of focusing on something hard, I am not always receptive when I get interrupted to be sold to out of the blue. The other day a telemarketer was trying to sell me on the idea of using their accountancy practice and quite frankly, if I had not been so absorbed in what I was doing, I might have been interested. I just quickly said, “Not interested , thanks, good-bye” and gave him the brush off. Now I thought that would be the end of it but the telemarketer had another go. He obviously knew what I teach and that is that “no,” means “no, not now” and “not forever”. He also knew that sometimes when you ring someone, they are in a completely unreceptive mood and the next time you ring them they are perfectly charming. It just depends on what is going on for the customer at the time you call.
Well, here’s the thing. I believe it is becoming more and more important to mix your telemarketing lead generation strategies with a bit of email, sms or mail.
Here is how the telemarketer got his appointment with me in the end which I thought was really clever. Here is a letter I received 3 days after the call.
“Dear Ms Cartwright
Sorry that I called you at a busy time on Tuesday. I do apologise. I was hoping to set up a short meeting for you with our CEO at your place so it won’t take more than 15 minutes of your time.