My colleague Barry Caponi of the Caponi Performance Group eats, sleeps and drinks the topic of appointment making. As a matter of fact, their approach, “The Appointment Making Formula” (or The Formula, for short) has become one of the most successful methodologies in the industry because it takes a holistic view of the entire process.
Over the years they’ve seen lots of different approaches and talked to lots of people who make their living setting appointments over the phone or by canvassing. Therefore they’ve been able to craft a methodology with techniques that truly work. They’ve also seen many techniques that don’t. This article covers the last five of the top ten mistakes they have seen being made while attempting to set appointments. These mistakes are doubly painful as they not only drain away those precious few hours we’ve got to make appointment making calls, but crush the spirit as well.
1. Asking leading questions – “You would like to save money wouldn’t you?” If they don’t think they need us and don’t want to talk to us, this kind of question is offensive and does nothing but tick them off even more at the interruption.
2. Not leaving voice-mails, or leaving long winded ones – the advertising industry says that it takes seven touches for someone to even remember our name, so why waste the effort involved in making the call and not leave a message? Leave well thought out, concise voice-mails.
3. When leaving voice-mails, not saying our phone number s-l-o-w-l-y and repeating it.
4. Not letting the suspect know when we’re calling for the last time (in this cycle) – users of The Formula get more returned phone calls from a ‘Move On’ message than any other. But in order to do that, we have to have a plan as to how many times we’ll call, how often we’ll call, and leave messages when we call.
5. Calling the same day and/or time of day over and over again, or calling the same person over and over again the same day – it just might be that we’re calling at a time when they’re never there! And with the advent of caller ID, do you really think they don’t see that the same person has called multiple times today?
Remember that cold calling is about making an appointment and not trying to sell the prospect over the phone. Having a methodology that can be repeated consistently will significantly improve your ratio of turning conversations into appointments and that is what it’s all about. It’s about combining efficiency and effectiveness through using best practices. When you have a method that works that angst that goes along with cold calling diminishes considerably.
In this day and age we are all looking for new business opportunities. Many sales professionals are very good once they get in front of the customer. They feel pretty comfortable in moving a sales opportunity through their “funnel.” The tough part as we’ve seen many admit is getting that initial appointment to get the prospect into the funnel!