YourSalesSuccess e-Zine # 062 – Getting Appointments - a monthly newsletter series on sales.
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"For effective communication, use brevity. Jesus said, 'Follow me.' Now that's brief! He could be brief because of all that he was that he didn't have to say." –
I've got a confession to make.
I was not the best sales person at making appointments.
A couple of reasons I guess:
- I had a lot of respect for my customers' time, perhaps too much, and therefore accepted too many excuses.
- I had a tendency to get "roped into" a conversation about the product.
Remember, I worked in industrial sales and deals were rarely closed in the first meeting because the products I sold had to be approved and tested in production.
Many times I phoned to make an appointment and ended up being transferred to technical people and arranging for a sample there and then. I'll leave it up to you to determine if that was the right thing to do or not.
Below is an article I found By Brian Tracey. It puts forward the more old school approach that you have to sell face-to-face and you do that by first selling the appointment. There is still a lot of truth in that and there is some good information in the article.
Make sure you are doing what you can to maximize your sales.
I am running a free webcast tomorrow as detailed below.
EVENT: Sales Achievement Coaching Session - April 09
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, April 15th at 8:00pm Eastern
FORMAT: Simulcast! (Attend via Phone or Webcast -- it's your choice)
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How To Close For The Appointment
By Brian Tracey
If you use a telephone to get appointments, you know how difficult and frustrating it can be. Many people do not use the telephone because they've been rejected and turned down so many times. The very thought of telephoning triggers feelings of anger and frustration. As a result, they seek every other way possible to make contacts. The telephone however is the finest and the fastest way to get good appointments, if you know how to use it properly.
In approaching the prospect by telephone, the first thing that you say has to be something that breaks preoccupation, grabs attention, and points to the result or benefit of the product. Here is an example. I used to sell sales training programs. I would qualify my prospects when I called to make appointments. I found that I could get appointments nine out of 10 times with qualified prospects using this very simple technique.
I would call up and ask the receptionist, "Who is the person who makes the decisions regarding sales training in your company?" She would say, "That would be Mr. Jones." I would say, "Thank you. What is his first name, please?" Bill Jones. I would ask, "Could I speak to Mr. Jones?"
I would then say, "Hello Mr. Jones, this is Brian Tracy. How would you like to see a method that would enable you to increase your sales by 20 to 30 percent over the next 12 months?"
If you're speaking to the right person, your opening question will be aimed at something that is relevant and important, and at something that the other person needs or wants. What do sales managers sit around and think about all day long? Increasing sales!
When you say, would you like to see a system that would enable you to increase your sales by 20 to 30 percent over the next 12 months, the first question that the prospect asks should be, "What is it?
That is where you go into the close for the appointment. And when you are telephoning for an appointment, you are telephoning to sell an appointment, not to sell a product. The biggest mistake you can make is to start describing your product on the telephone. The prospect will almost always say, "Well, no, I'm sorry, I'm not interested, I can't afford it, I don't have the time," and so on.
All you are selling is 10 minutes of his time. When the prospect says, "What is it?" You respond by saying, "that's exactly what I want to talk to you about. I need about 10 minutes of your time."
"I'll show you what I've got, and you can judge for yourself if it's what you want." If the prospect asks, "How much is it?" This is the way you handle it. You say, "Mr. Prospect, if it's not exactly what you're looking for, there's no charge at all." This is a very powerful response. Get the price issue out of the way immediately. "If it's not exactly what you're looking for, it doesn't cost you anything."
If the prospect then asks, "Well, could you tell me a little about it," I'd say, "Well, that's exactly why I need just 10 minutes of your time. In 10 minutes, I'll be able to show you what I've got, and you can judge for yourself if it's what you're looking for.
Remember that good prospects are always busy and hard to get to. Poor prospects are not busy, and they're easy to get to. If you call up somebody and you ask for an appointment, and they say, sure come on over anytime, you can be sure the person isn't going buy anything from you.
The prospect may say, "Well, could you tell me a little bit about it?" You say, "Yes, I would like to, but there's something I have to show you." As soon as you say the word show, you've sidestepped the request to describe it on the telephone. If the prospect says, "Well, could you send me something in the mail?" I would say, "I would like to send it to you in the mail, but you know how bad the mails are. Why don't I drop it off personally some time this afternoon?"
If the prospect is at all interested, he will say, "Okay, drop it off personally sometime this afternoon." I would then ask, "Will you be there?" "Yes, I'll be there." I would say, "Okay, about 3:00, I'll be in your neighborhood. I'll drop it off personally."
Don't mail information. When people say, "Send me some information in the mail," what they're really saying is, "Go away. I'm not interested." When you send it to them in the mail, it usually goes right into the wastebasket. If you're going to send things in the mail, it is better that you put it in the envelope, throw it in your own wastebasket, and save yourself the cost of a stamp.
Sometimes, we make the mistake of thinking that when we mail information, we're actually making sales. But only sales are sales, not mailing out sales information that no one reads. You ask for 10 minutes of his time, and this is the key expression, "You be the judge."
"You decide for yourself if this is what you're looking for." You repeat, "All I need is 10 minutes of your time and you can judge for yourself." This assures him that you will only be there for a short period of time.
You assure him that you will put no pressure on him. You will just show them what you've got, like an Arab trader bazaar lays out his wares. If the prospect doesn't express some interest within 10 minutes, you'll be going.
I have found that if you ask for 30 minutes, you will have to wait for weeks, maybe forever. If you ask for 10 minutes, you can almost always be slipped in. Don't make the mistake of using the old high-pressure salesman's trick of saying, "How about 10:00 today or 2:00 tomorrow?"
This alternative close has been used so many times that it just insults the prospect.
Just say, "Sometime this afternoon, or maybe sometime tomorrow?" Be very flexible. Sometimes the prospect says, "Why don't you call me on Monday, and we'll set up an appointment?" What you say to him is this, "Look, I've got my calendar right here. Is your calendar handy?" Of course, the prospect is sitting at his desk, with his calendar handy. You say, "Let's set up a time right now; how about 10:00 Monday morning?
Don't allow yourself to be put off with this, "Call me back on Monday." It is just another way of getting out of seeing you face to face. The very best customers you will ever have are the ones you're going to have to fight to see the first time. They are also the ones who buy the most. When they try to put you off, when they try to avoid you make excuses, what they're saying is that this may be a very good prospect. Somebody is going to get to that prospect, and sell that prospect, and it might as well be you.
Be persistent, be polite, be firm. Say, "All I need is 10 minutes of your time. Just 10 minutes will be enough. Give me 10 minutes and you'll be able to decide for yourself." Just sell 10 minutes. If he asks you for details about your product or service, you say, "It's too involved to go into on the phone, but it'll just take 10 minutes, and I'll show you what I've got." Sell only that 10-minute appointment. If you cannot close on telephone appointments, you can't even get to first base.
Resolve to become very good on the telephone. If you are tense about using the phone, if you're nervous, it's because you've had frustrating experiences in the past. You will become more confident as you become more competent.
This article is an excerpt from Brian Tracey's, "24 Techniques For Closing The Sale". This is just a taste of the powerful information contained in the streaming video files hosted by Brian Tracy himself.
Go out and do what you need to do to make the sales you want to make.
Here's to YourSalesSuccess.
If you are interested in learning more about selling, please feel free to contact me via the
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My name is Greg Woodley. I have been a successful salesman for
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