SALES PROSPECTING TECHNIQUES:
PHONE SKILLS – GETTING THE APPOINTMENT


Most Effective Sales Prospecting Techniques You Can Use On The Phone

Phone conversations with prospects today can be short, and salespeople are sometimes painfully aware of it. This will lead to anxiety and mistakes such as pushing for an appointment or presentation too early, without the appropriate information or to the wrong prospect.


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Phone conversations sometime require as much practice as any other professional skill in the sales world. Practice is important at this stage of the game. Make sure you follow study effective sales prospecting techniques and follow these steps:

1) Greetings are your introduction in any phone situation (even when contacting a client after a sale). Be professional, courteous and respectful. One need not be formal at all times but when in doubt, stay as formal as possible – but follow the prospect’s lead. If they seem laid back, try to mirror their attitude.

2) After greeting your prospect, it is only logical to introduce yourself. This is a key step in effective sales prospecting techniques. The person at the other end of the receiver does not know who you are until you introduce yourself. For more on this topic, see the section on Your 30-Second Commercial.

3) The way in which you introduce yourself is one of the key sales prospecting techniques that you must focus on. Make sure you mention in your introduction what you do in a way that appeals to your prospect. It is all about what you can do for them.

4) Always be thankful and show it. Someone just gave you precious moments of their time. Make sure you tell them how grateful you are for their courtesy.

5) Be yourself and use the sales prospecting techniques throughout this module to help you through the call. Think of it all as practice - try using strategies that will help you stretch your skills over time.

6) Maintain the momentum on a particular topic, even if it takes you away from your preset list of questions. It is a lot easier to keep one train of thought running than to start a new topic in a short phone call. Follow your prospect’s lead – but keep to your strategy of qualifying the prospect.

For more in depth coverage of this key sales prospecting technique, see the Focus On Your Prospects' Fears section in FEAR Selling.

7) Explain briefly the reason for your call. Try to move on as soon as possible to the prospect’s needs and their particular situation. Ask questions that will give your prospect a chance to show his or her expertise.

As you will see in FEAR Selling and the Sales Career Training Institute’s FREE FEAR Selling Newsletter, you must keep in mind the ego of your prospect as you have these discussions. Boosting people’s egos will most likely get you to the next step.

8) The next step is to ask for a brief meeting face-to-face. Make sure you offer a specific amount of time (and keep it short) like 30 minutes. Of course make sure that your presentation will not exceed 20 minutes to allow for questions. How you position this first meeting is crucial. You will learn much more about these critical strategies in our FREE Newsletter.

9) Finish your conversation with a big thank you and make sure you reconfirm all the details of the meeting you have set up before finishing the call. Address the person by his/her name and thank him again for their time.

10) Follow-up with a written thank you and meeting confirmation. It is simply good business practice – and it will separate you from the 90%+ other salespeople who will not bother following up with a thank-you note.


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Other important details to remember include:

When on the phone be considerate and polite at all times, not just in the greeting stages.

When trying to get an appointment for the face-to-face meeting, be persistent but not pushy. Above all, be patient. Work around your prospect’s schedule and whenever possible, try to accommodate his/her first suggestions.

Again, when hanging up make sure you reconfirm all the details of your meeting as to avoid lateness or having to call a second time to reconfirm.