In my job I am prospecting for new customers on the phone trying to set up sales appointments. The prospects I am calling keep telling me they are all set with who they are working with now. I am getting frustrated because once I get in I do very well selling them. Is there another way for me to get an appointment?
Thank You, Larry – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Yes, there are several ways to get appointments other than making the call yourself, such as; direct mail or through a telemarketing firm. However, the best method of obtaining appointments is to increase your own effectiveness related to getting the appointment yourself. This way, you know what you’re walking into.
This is an all day seminar and as your mentor today, you put me in a spot I don’t like. I can’t rewrite your entire prospecting call so let me help you where you are most likely getting stuck. (That is, convincing the prospect they should give you an appointment.)
I teach several methods for handling the “happy with current vendor” objection and I am going to give you one. Before I do, I need you to start rethinking the call the way you have been approaching it. Ask your self the following questions:
1. Am I working “ON” the prospect or with the prospect?
2. Working with or against the prospect?
The fundamental mistake most people make is trying to convince the prospect to make an appointment. Once the Prospect states a reason they don’t want or need an appointment, the unsuccessful salesperson tries to convince the prospect they are wrong. The longer this goes on the more the prospect is forced to defend their current vendor and validate their objection. Can you see how this is unproductive? Good. So go the other way. From now on say:
Prospect: ABC company does a great job for us…
You: Sounds like your happy with your current (vendor/relationship or whatever).
Prospect: Yes I am.
You: Great, then I won’t keep you, But before we hang up can I ask you one parting question?
Prospect: (will usually agree)
You: Our company is in a mode of continuous improvement. From an industry standpoint, what could our industry do to increase it’s value to companies like yours.
I call this technique “Blame it on the industry”
If they say I don’t know, you say “if you had to pick something”!
If you can get them to pick something, they will usually pick the one thing they are not getting from their current vendor. Don’t tell them you can do it! Say, how would that help? Be interested, probe around, ask how their current vendor handles it. Try to uncover how important it really is. By this time you have done two things. One, you have moved past their natural defense barrier and second, by asking these questions you have separated yourself for all the other salespeople out there. You may be the 1 in 100 to get the appointment.
Good luck and all the best, P.
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