When working as a sales professional, it is likely that some time will be spent making cold calls to try to get an appointment set. While this can often seem like a difficult thing to do, there are some clear and practical things that we can do to improve our success with appointment making.
1. Focus on the Right Goal
One of the first things that we can focus on to improve results is to focus on the right goal while cold calling prospects. This is important because we can naturally fall into the trap of trying to sell our products and services while on a cold call. While our ultimate goal is to sell our products, this actually might not be the best goal for us to work on during a cold call as it in some ways is too ambitious for a cold call.
A cold call should only last between two to five minutes and with that being the case, we can benefit from focusing on a goal that fits well with that amount of time. Since we cannot completely and effectively sell our products during a cold call, a good goal to focus on is one of getting the prospect interested in and committed to a conversation. In other words, a good goal to stay focused on is getting the appointment set.
2. Build Rapport
It is very important to build rapport with prospects. Not only is this important due to the fact that people buy from people they like, but also because prospects are more likely to agree to taking an appointment with someone that they have a decent level of rapport with.
A cold call does not present at tremendous amount of time to build rapport, but there is enough time to use a few tactics to start to establish rapport. By doing some things like respecting the prospects time, showing that we understand the prospect, listening, disqualifying, and qualifying, we can take some minor steps toward building rapport.
3. Qualify the Prospect
Spending time and energy in the area of qualifying the prospect will have some noticeable impacts on getting the appointment set. At first, qualifying will actually have a negative impact on our number of appointments that we get confirmed as we will be becoming more selective of the appointments we make by asking performing more thorough qualifying. This is not a bad thing as it can decrease time wasted on unqualified prospects.
But by qualifying prospects during cold calls, we will actually create much better conversations with prospects as we will be asking questions and making prospects more interested and engaged in what we are calling about. Without qualifying questions, a cold call can be very one way in terms of information sharing and those are the type of conversations that make a prospect’s guard go up and can make them shut down.
4. Build Interest
Before we try to get the appointment set, we need to build interest. It is similar to trying to reel in a fish. When a fish has a hook in its mouth, we need to get it to bite down before we can try to reel in. With scheduling appointments, we need to get the prospect to bite down when we try to get commitment to move forward.