Your questions about phone prospecting to get appointments and my answers
Q: What goals are realistic for prospecting to get appointments?
A: Forget phone prospecting for appointments.
Effective lead generation and list building are about qualifying prospects for future contacts.
That means finding out if your prospect qualifies being added to the front end of your sales funnel.
Picture a crowded room.
Your goal: find the folks interested --- more or less --- in what you offer.
How to do it? Ask for a show of hands.
There, that's the goal of your cold call ---
- finding the right prospects
- separating them from the crowd
- qualifying their interest level
My goodness --- now you have three goals!
Also, view each call as a means for fine tuning your prospect database.
It's a work in progress that never ends!
Q: How do I pitch my phone prospecting call?
A. Just be yourself without all the trappings of canned sales pitches!
Here's where old-style outreach kicks in.
Forget selling and gently introduce yourself and what you do in a casual sort of informal way.
Write yourself a simple discovery call script.
Make it short --- something you can deliver in twenty seconds...without being rushed.
Practice reading it outloud so you can know all the subtle inflection cues on when to pause and when to speed up.
Bottom Line: Most prospects you reach out to have little or no interest in what you can do for them.
So forget making the sale and focus on simply qualifying your prospect.
Other than your overall general impression with how your call is going there is something I have found effective for prospect qualifying.
Ask a question.
How your prospect answers will indicate if they are a qualified prospect...or a prospect you want to drop.
I find the good prospects not only answer the quesiton but keep on talking and tell me something about what they do and what they need.
Used as part of your introduction this simple question helps you spot good prospects from the not so good prospects.
Remember that crowded room example?
Your question is asking for a show of hands.
Some folks will raise their hands, some will not.
Your quality appointments will develop over time from the folks who raise their hands.
Q: OK to read my Script...or memorize it?
A: Reading is fine.
Delivering your "pitch" without interruptions from your prospect is a sign that your script is working --- keeping you and your prospect focused on your delivery.
The secret is making your delivery appear unrehearsed.
Follow Winston Churchill.
His speeches are among the greatest in the English language.
He toiled endless hours over their every detail.
Yet when delivering them he appeared completely at ease... almost casual in his presentation.
Hence, his quip that “The very best impromptu speeches are the ones written well in advance.”
Effective business development cold calling is a skill---one that can be learned, honed, perfected.
Phone prospectors --- the really good ones --- can work any industry.
Technical data and industry buzz words are helpful.
But over the phone skills ---genuine friendliness...business savy...good etiquette --- are even more important.
Never "Wing It". Use a script. It keeps repetitions, omissions and improper sequencing out of your pitch.
Keep It Short. Make your introduction brief and to the point.
How brief? Twenty to thirty seconds! That's all you get.
So be accurate, concise,and persuasive. Are you starting to see why you need a cold calling script?
Relax. Dialog and delivery in movies, TV, and plays flows from carefully crafted scripts. Yet these staged conversations sound completely natural and spontaneous.
Effective cold call prospecting is no different.
Subtle inflections and pauses make your presentation more natural and far more believable.
Prospect Qualify. Good prospects...weak prospects?
Find out who's who by asking specific questions.
For example, "Does this interest you?" Or "When would you like me to recontact you"?
Make prospect qualify questions part of every cold call script!
Test, Test, Test ----but control your variables carefully.
Be especially careful with key words or phrases.
You might think they don't matter, but they do!
So once you find a winning script, stick with every word of it!