The five key steps to preparing for a Call Block.

Preparing for a Call Block is not as simple as it seems, but it still is a simple process.

At the Starting blocks

When we’re ready to start calling for appointments, all we need to know is who we’re going to call, right?

Wrong. To efficiently complete what we call a ‘Call Block’, one must take a few steps to be able to flow through the calls without interruption.

Here’s what we need to do: Continue reading “The five key steps to preparing for a Call Block.”

Answering email requests for information

Adding an email to voice mails we leave changes how we answer this ‘Negative Response’.

send-me-info imageAs you know, we recommend sending along a complementary email to support voicemails we leave. The result of doing this has tripled the responses we (and our clients) are now getting from placed calls, so it is worth doing (particularly if it takes no effort to send the emails like we recommend). Continue reading “Answering email requests for information”

Asking for a specific time for an appointment does work.

So you still want to ask, “Are mornings or afternoons better for you?”

fear-quoteA sales professionals in one of our Prospector’s Academies told me this story the other day during a role-play session and I thought it was worth passing on to you.

He told me that he had always been afraid to say no when a target would propose a different time for an appointment than he had originally asked for; even when he had something personal scheduled. He told me that he would say yes to almost anything, even if it were inconvenient—just to get the appointment. He told me that for the first time, he countered with a third time and the prospect said yes. He was ecstatic. “It worked, it worked!” he exclaimed.

Continue reading “Asking for a specific time for an appointment does work.”

Just say no!

It’s okay to say no to a time that won’t work for you!

Nope neon imageWe teach to ask for a specific time and date for the appointment you want. Unfortunately, our targets also live by a calendar and sometimes our specific request can’t be met, so they propose something different. When that happens, why do some of us sales professionals seem so reluctant to say no to that request when the target’s suggestion is inconvenient to us?

Continue reading “Just say no!”

Three reasons to ask for a specific day and time on an appointment making call.

Do want more or less stress in your life? How about more sales and commissions?

choice-multipleIf you’re like me, you were taught to ask questions like, “Are mornings or afternoons better for you?” when asking for an appointment. I say ask for a specific day and time. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked! Here are three very good reasons:

Continue reading “Three reasons to ask for a specific day and time on an appointment making call.”

Plan your calendar before making the first appointment making call of the day.

Before we begin calling, we should have already mapped out the times on our calendar we’ll be asking for appointments.

Time fliesRemember, when calling for appointments, we recommend asking for specific dates and times. We’ll cover the reasons for that in another blog. For now, let’s talk about the concept of knowing when we want the appointment, as that will become an issue whether you ask for a specific date and time up front or not.

Continue reading “Plan your calendar before making the first appointment making call of the day.”

The emperor has no clothes and Social Selling is dead.

Anthony Iannarino’s blog (The Sales Blog) – The Death of Social Selling.

Denial image

About 2008, I began hearing from my prospects for our appointment setting training we sell, “Oh, we’re not going to cold call any more. We’re going to use these new social selling techniques.” Since then, I have been warning anyone who will listen, that while social selling has its place in warming up a target, using it to set Initial Appointments is not one of them.

I’ll let you read Anthony’s blog, as I couldn’t have said it better, but just in case you’re in a hurry, here are a couple of highlights regarding his issues with social selling:

  1. It has been sold as the new end all for the selling activities of building pipelines by eliminating the need to pick up the phone and ask decision makers for appointments. “Cold calling is Dead!” say its proponents.
  2. And this is my hot button—it is providing the excuse for sales professionals not to develop their skills to set appointments on the phone. I love his analogy: “…it’s a bit like a fitness plan built on Netflix and ice cream.”

Very few people like to pick up the phone and call someone they’ve never met and try to convince them to take a meeting with them so they can attempt to sell them their solution. Ergo, anyone who comes along and says they have an alternative solution that eliminates the need for appointment setting calls gets attention.

Anthony makes a very astute observation. Ask yourself who is selling the concept of social selling replacing the need to cold call? The answer is content creators. I’ll add to that those that sell the platforms that deliver the content, such as HubSpot, Pardot, and Infusionsoft. This is marketing-not sales.

So here’s the second question to ask yourself, if social selling is truly the panacea for getting in front of targets and cold calling is really dead, then why do I get cold calls from the likes of HubSpot, et. al. trying to sell me their platforms?

Don’t sabotage  your career and drink the cool aid. Think about it this way. If it truly were as easy as they make it sound, no one would be willing to pay you nearly as much as they do now to do what you do.

Here’s reality. There are only three sources for an Initial Appointment:

  1. Marketing program leads,
  2. Networking and referrals, and
  3. Cold calling

Regardless of which of the three categories the target’s name comes from, it generally still falls to one of us sales professionals to pick up the phone and call the target to set an appointment to get the selling process started. Even with a marketing lead or strong referral, we’ll not always get them on the phone the first time and even the strongest of referrals will say no when we ask for the appointment, they’ll just be nicer about it than those we cold call. So, we still need to have a process to follow to get a hold of the target, leave well thought out voicemails, send complementary emails, a tool that helps us keep track of where we are in the process and have a methodology to counter the ‘no’ we hear. These are the same processes, tools and skills we need when we cold call.

If you’d like more information on the topic of how to set more appointments, drop us a line or give us a call. Or, if you’re simply interested in why no team of sales professionals has ever failed to at least double the number of Initial Appointments they were setting after going through one of our programs, give us a call or drop us a line. We love talking appointment making!

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Caponi Performance Group and Contact Science jointly market the telephone prospecting and cold calling solution called Coldcalling101™.  It is the only comprehensive solution to solving the biggest barrier to success in most selling organizations—the inability to secure enough Initial Appointments to begin the selling process. We accomplish that through simultaneously addressing both the efficiency and effectiveness of the process.  We can be reached at 817 224-9900 or at bcaponi@caponipg.com.  You can also find answers to many of your challenges in our books: Contrary to Popular Belief, Cold Calling DOES Work! Volume I: Effectiveness, The Art of Appointment Making and  Volume II: Efficiency, the Science of Appointment Making.

Want to get better on the phone? Try this idea.

A quick tip on how to build practice into your normal day.

Practice imageIf you’re a fan of this blog, then you know I talk about how perfect practice makes us better.

This tip is all about practice and comes from one of my clients, Kevin Lane, of Lane Family Financials. He says that we should attempt to speak about our business and solutions as often as we can in our everyday life. The concept being, the more we talk about what we do in the same fashion, using the same words we do when selling on the phone, the more natural the phraseology and descriptions become.

Remember, we want to sound natural in our conversations when trying to set an appointment. However, we don’t want to be ‘winging it’ each time, saying something different. So practice how you describe what you do, how you do it, and why people should meet with you when people ask you, “What do you do?”

If you’d like more information on the topic of how to set more appointments, drop us a line or give us a call. Or, if you’re simply interested in why no team of sales professionals has ever failed to at least double the number of Initial Appointments they were setting after going through one of our programs, give us a call or drop us a line. We love talking appointment making!


Caponi Performance Group and Contact Science jointly market the telephone prospecting and cold calling solution called Coldcalling101™.  It is the only comprehensive solution to solving the biggest barrier to success in most selling organizations—the inability to secure enough Initial Appointments to begin the selling process. We accomplish that through simultaneously addressing both the efficiency and effectiveness of the process.  We can be reached at 817 224-9900 or at bcaponi@caponipg.com. You can also find answers to many of your challenges in my books: Contrary to Popular Belief, Cold Calling DOES Work! Volume I: Effectiveness, The Art of Appointment Making and  Volume II: Efficiency, the Science of Appointment Making.

Is LinkedIn, email, canvassing or phone calls best to set appointments?

For what?—is the appropriate response.

Dilemma Homer ImageOver the years, I have participated in LinkedIn Group conversations in response to the above question. It comes up again at least once a year and has always generated some interesting answers.

 

For instance, there have been well thought out answers that have named LinkedIn as the only source they use. Establish the relationship, they say, and then get someone to introduce you. You know what? Makes sense to me.

There are those that say email works as no one answers their phone any more. And then there are the ones that say, I always just stop by and try to get in to see them face-to-face. The majority still use the phone, because we have become so inundated with email, that no one pays any attention to that

Then there are those that say it depends, or that they use a combination. Well, I fall into the latter category. None of them work all of the time, and none of them fail all of the time. I wrote a blog a while back that talked about how much research one should do before calling a target. This is a lot like that. Here’s my take based on the following assumption:

Primary Assumption: Our goal is an Initial Appointment with a decision maker. It is also worth our while to have done the research as I laid out in the blog above. Finally, the decision maker is a high level individual (see blog again).

And then here are my thoughts on each of the approaches:

 LinkedIn Pros: If you are calling high, LinkedIn makes a lot of sense. If you can get an introduction, you’ll get a much quicker and open minded response from your target. LinkedIn will also work well with people that have a lot of contacts. If they don’t, LinkedIn doesn’t carry a lot of weight with them. If that is the case, have the introduction made via phone and/or email, or at least, in conjunction with LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Cons: The biggest drawback of this approach is that it takes a long time and a lot of effort (both calendar time and hours of effort) to establish credibility with the person that will be providing you with the introduction. It may even take an introduction from one person you know to another you don’t in order to get the introduction to the one you wish to meet. Good quality introductions come from people who can vouch for your integrity, knowledge, and in some cases the validity of what you sell. We must now make the first introduction comfortable with us so that they will be comfortable making the second introduction (to the one we wish to meet with). All of that takes time and lots of it.

The second drawback is that not everyone we want to meet with is on LinkedIn. Contrary to popular belief, all executives are not on LinkedIn as they know it has become a great prospecting tool for sales professionals.

By the way, if you do use LinkedIn for the final introduction, have your friend (new or old) make the introduction, regardless of whether it is made within the LinkedIn platform or some other method. The old, “So and so, suggested that we meet” doesn’t work near as well—hence, LinkedIn, eh?

Email Pros: One advantage of sending emails is that it is quick and the majority of your effort can be done during non-selling hours regardless of whether they are delivered during business hours or not—I recommend that they are. Some people check their email during their non-business hours so it also expands your selling efforts beyond the normal working day. Some people just don’t answer their phone and respond better via email.

Email Cons:  For this blog, I went back and averaged out the number of emails I get per day as a CEO of two different companies. Trust me, it is over 250. My spam filter averaged 178 per day alone over the past five business days. I must go through all of those that even my spam filter catches as sometimes a good email gets caught in there. All I look at is the subject line, the address of who sent the email, and what country it originated from. Even the ones from the U.S. (I totally ignore those from the Ukraine, Nigeria, India, etc.), I secondarily look for company domain names, so if you are using a Yahoo or a Gmail domain name and you are selling to executives in a B2B environment, don’t even waste your time.

Another disadvantage of using email to set appointments is that it is much easier to say no in an email than it is during a conversation. When you attempt to counter their reason for saying no, you’ll have to do it via email and they may never even read it (most likely occurrence).

The point is, some executives aren’t going to look through their email closely enough for it to be the only way you try to set appointments.

Phone Pros: Once you get someone on the phone, the phone gives us the ability to use two of the three mediums humans use to effectively communicate, according to a UCLA study: tonality and content. Tonality consists of 38 percent of the way we communicate and content 7 percent. The other 55 percent is body language and facial expression reading. That does not exist in any of the three—obviously.

The phone also gives us the ability to immediately correct misconceptions or misunderstandings that the written word does not. It also provides the opportunity to apply our selling skills when the target says no while they are on the phone.

Phone Cons: Some people don’t answer their phones very often. Some have gatekeepers and some just use voicemail to screen calls.

The biggest disadvantage is many sales professionals don’t know how to leave good voicemails (along with accompanying emails), get through gatekeepers or know how to handle the different flavors of no they hear—so they simply don’t make the calls. It can be a discouraging way to spend part of your selling day if you don’t have a well thought out process, the skills to do it, and a tool designed to make the process easier and faster.

Canvassing Pros: (First of all, canvassing doesn’t fit most selling models—a topic for another day.) But if it does, the biggest advantage of canvassing is that you get a chance to see the facilities and get a feel for the business before talking to the target. The second advantage is that it can be done in conjunction with sales calls on your calendar. You’re already in the area, right?

A third advantage is that if you sell a horizontal solution (anyone can use it—and typically where it is used) you’ll find businesses that won’t show up on purchased lists.

Canvassing Cons: The biggest disadvantage of canvassing is that it takes so much time. We did a study a few years back measuring the time it takes to make a canvass call versus a phone call. The difference was enormous. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for most sales professionals. Secondly, if you do get in to see the target, tell them the reason you stopped by was to set an appointment—unless they have the time to meet then (and then you must be specific as to how much time you need). If you make that call the Initial Appointment and don’t verify how much time you need, you’re at a disadvantage. What I have seen in this environment is that sales professionals get nervous and change their Initial Appointment approach from that of an information gatherer to one of presentation hoping to hit upon a ‘need’.

If it makes sense for you to do it, I recommend the first call only is done face-to-face and the remainder of the attempts is done via phone/email.

Conclusion:

I believe that if it is worth doing the research to determine exactly why HERB (Highest Executive Responsible for Buying) would want to talk to me, then I am going to try to find a LinkedIn link to that individual. Then, I am going to use a combination of the phone and email to contact them to ask for an appointment.

Caponi Performance Group and Contact Science jointly market the telephone prospecting and cold calling solution called Coldcalling101™.  It is the only comprehensive solution to solving the biggest barrier to success in most selling organizations—the inability to secure enough Initial Appointments to begin the selling process. We accomplish that through simultaneously addressing both the efficiency and effectiveness of the process.  We can be reached at 817 224-9900 or at my You can also find answers to many of your challenges in our books: Contrary to Popular Belief, Cold Calling DOES Work! Volume I: Effectiveness, The Art of Appointment Making and  Volume II: Efficiency, the Science of Appointment Making.

Three simple steps to fix call reluctance.

Why are some of us afraid to pick up the phone and cold call someone we don’t know?

call-reluctance-photoFirst of all, let’s separate two things here. The first is what keeps us from picking up the phone and making the first call of the day and the second is what keeps us from picking up the phone and making any call on any day. The difference may sound slight to you, but trust me, it’s not. If your issue is just making that first dial to get rolling, you can read a blog I wrote entitled Five tips to help make that first cold call of the day. The latter is good old-fashioned fear of cold calling, or call reluctance, and that’s what I’ll address here. Continue reading “Three simple steps to fix call reluctance.”