Or, at least an effective one. A step by step formula.
In a blog entitled, How important is it to ‘nail’ your opening statement? I suggested it just isn’t worth agonizing over the creation of a ‘killer’ opening script. I stand by that. What this blog attempts to do is give you a step by step process to build one that is effective in getting you into the conversation you want.
Regardless of how good you make that opening; your targets will still say no when you first ask for the appointment over 90% of the time. If you understand and accept that, then the process below will help be in a strong position to ‘Counter’ the no you get.
Our methodology for setting Initial Appointments is called The Appointment Making Formula™ (also called The Formula, for short). It is based on the concept that the opening is only a vehicle to set you up for the ‘main event’ of the call—when they say “No”.
This is not a short blog, as there is a lot to it, but, hey, it works, so if you need the help, suck it up and read on.
First of all, here is The Formula. There are three components to what we call the Approach:
- Greeting and introduction
- The purpose for the call
- Asking for the appointment
This blog will not address what happens when they say no. Suffice it to say, however, that what you say in the Approach can make your job of handling the no easier. Here is an example from one of our clients, VectisOne, LLC:
“Hi, (First Name), my name is (Full Name) from VectisOne. Are you familiar with us by any chance?”
“We are in the business of helping progressive companies that are on best places to work lists create an atmosphere that actually promotes increased employee engagement and addresses the rising cost of healthcare.”
“That’s great to hear! Then you are aware that we in the business of helping progressive companies that are on best places to work lists create an atmosphere that actually promotes increased employee engagement and addresses the rising cost of healthcare.
The reason I specifically called you today, though, is that I noticed you are one of those best places to work type companies and I thought you might like to hear about what those clients say about how they are using our approach to help keep them on those lists and significantly outperform their competitors.
What I’d like to do is to stop by your office and share with you how they were able to accomplish that.
Would you be available on (specific day) at (specific time)?”
So now that you’ve seen the end product, let me step you through how to build your own.
Greeting and introduction
- When you get your target on the phone and you know it is whom you wish to meet with, simply say hello, using their first name, tell them your full name and whom you represent. If you’d like, you can include a title. I am a CEO and I call CEOs, so I do generally use my title.
- Next, we ask if they are familiar with us. I like that approach because it gets the target involved more quickly. People amazingly always answer it, generally with a no, but if you’ve been calling on them for a while and leaving/sending brand building voicemails/emails, they sometimes will say yes. Regardless of their answer, we provide what we call a ‘7-second commercial’. There is a reason I call it a 7-second commercial and that is because I want to keep it short.
The reason for the call
- The reason for the call is triggered by a phrase that signals to the target that we are getting right to the point. That phrase is, “The reason I’m specifically calling you today is…”
- The deliverable value statement is stated in terms of what others say about what they’ve accomplished using what they bought from us/what we helped them accomplish. It is not stated in terms of what we think we can do for the target. This also provides subtle third party credibility, even though you are the one delivering it. The more quantifiable the better. In the example above, they are a new company without a lot of measurable results yet, so they have no quantifiable claims to make.
- Request exactly what you want. If you want a face-to-face meeting, ask for it. Don’t say, something nebulous like, “I’d like to share with you…” They just might say, “Go ahead” and now you’ve just made your job more difficult having to explain what you really meant to say was that you want to meet with them at a separate time.
Ask for the appointment
- Always ask for a specific time. You can click here to read a couple of blogs on why that is important.
Qualifying the target
- If you need to qualify the target before attending the Initial Appointment, wait until you’ve received a commitment for the appointment. Then ask, “To help me be better prepared for our appointment, do you mind if I ask you a quick question or two?” These questions should be short and must truly help you qualify. If they’re long, you’ll have an impatient target and may lose the appointment. If they’re viewed as something other than helping you prepare for the meeting, you’ll lose credibility.
Want some help in determining what the right value proposition is? Here’s a quick exercise to help you with that. (It will also help you develop good Bridge Questions used to ‘Counter’ the no.)
- Make a list of your top three customers. Pick ones that:
- Look like your universe of targets as best you can
- Provide you with referrals and will act as a reference
- Have great success stories that back up your claims
- With those customers in mind, list:
- What features did they buy?
- What are the corresponding benefits of each of those features?
- What challenges did you help those customers address?
- What were the benefits of that?
- Rank all of those benefits in the order of what is important to more customers, more often.
- Take the number one reason and use it to build your opening script.
If you’d like more information on the topic of 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! Or, if you’d like a detailed ‘how to’ white paper on the topic, send me an email at the address below and I’ll get it right out to you.
The Caponi Performance Group and Contact Science jointly market the appointment setting 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, www.caponipg.com, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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