When you are trying to make a face-to-face appointment with a prospective client over the phone, apply these simple strategies which should help you ‘up your batting average’ and get in front of more customers, more often. 

Here they are:

  • Always remember, even before you lift up the telephone,  your only goal at that point is to make an appointment to get in front of the customer/prospective customer.  That’s it!  Never try to sell to the customer over the phone.
  • Review the customer’s details/records and have them in front of you while you are making the call.
  • Don’t use a ‘script’ to read from.  Using a script can make you sound ‘robotic’ or ‘lifeless’; however, do have a short list of ‘points’ you may want to mention during the conversation.
  • When you are speaking to the prospective customer use simple and uncomplicated words, match the speed of your voice along with that of the customer, the same goes for your tone of voice.
  • Don't use technical jargon, the latest buzz-words or cuss.
Office Dog
Credit: acko10/public domain
  • Put on a happy face.  Smile as you dial the last number of the telephone number, this will help you start the exchange with a friendly attitude.  If you can, be facing a mirror when you make your calls, as this will remind you to smile.
  • Before the call visualize  a positive outcome  - it won't always go how you expect it to go, but in using positive visualization before you call the customer will put you in a better frame of mind.  This will ultimately give you a better chance of success.  Doing the opposite (that is thinking in advance that the call will go badly) will probably have the opposite effect and the call will go badly  - so don't do it.
  • Tell them your name and what you do: Be brief and do this right at the beginning of the call.
  • Use third-party references:  If you have them, use them. For example:  “Tom Jones at Jones Foods suggested I call you to let you know about our product/service…”
  • Ask if they have a few minutes to talk - if they have, then all is well, don’t keep them on for an hour - remember the goal is to get a face-to-face meeting.
  • Often you can outline a broad and very brief benefit of your product, and immediately follow it with a qualifying question: e.g. “Our new product is proven to save our customers money, is that something you are interested in?” - Remember don't go into a sales pitch, if you get a positive response ask for an appointment.
Dog barking down the phone
Credit: acko10/public domain
  • Give the customer options:  e.g. Ask “When is the best time for you, I can make next Friday morning or Monday the 17th in the afternoon?” - This type of question does a few  things, it makes sure you are leading the conversation, it also subconsciously lets the client know that you are well-organized and that your time, as well as theirs, is valued.  By giving them  a choice of options, you give the customer something solid to focus on, they can then look at the schedule and decide which one of the options is better for them - nine times out of ten they will ask you to come in on one of the days you suggested.  Even if both the options turn out to be no good you have the customer thinking seriously about the appointment, so give them another couple of options to choose from or ask them the day that would suit them best, but don‘t accept their suggestion if it is in the next day , this will undermine all their perceptions of you keeping a full diary.
  • Let the customer know that you are writing the date in your diary right away and re-confirm the appointment back to them.  This will remind them to do the same.

I hope these quick tips help the next time you are making sales appointments over the phone - please feel free to share with friends and colleagues. If you are interested in more useful sales tips you might try another of my articles on InfoBarrel.