Most sellers start their phone calls too fast and without planning. They don’t have a smart opening phrase and miss the chance to get the customer’s interest. Then they ask for an appointment immediately, so it’s most likely that the conversational partner says, “No.”
That is why I suggest the following strategy: Prepare some good opening phrases. You will read in my next blog article how to do this. This opener should convince the client that it’s worthwhile talking to you. In this opening you will also say which product or service you sell.
Now comes the difference: Instead of asking for an appointment immediately, you start a short conversation. In order to do that you need a Connection-Question, for example:
How have you solved this problem so far?
You could also ask: “Who is your supplier at the moment?” or “How important is that issue at the moment?” Find a question that fits your product in order to find out if the client has potential right now or in the future. It’s not only a question if the customer wants to talk to you. You also have to find out if a visit is valuable for you.
If your opener was good and you are friendly, the customer will talk to you about their demands. When you see that there is potential and the subject is relevant for the client, you can go ahead to the next question: the Appointment-Question:
When can we meet to talk more about this?
Do you notice something? The question is not “Shall we meet?” The customer is not supposed to consider if they want to meet you or not. With the question: “When can we meet…” you already insinuate that they are interested in an appointment and just have to think about the schedule. If you talk to undecided people this works. If the client doesn’t see any sense in a meeting they will tell you anyway. But that also isn’t a problem. Just proceed to plan B and place the Next-Steps Question:
How do we keep in touch?
In my experience this works almost all the time. After talking to you for a while most clients are open to allow the next contact. Most will ask you to call after three to six months. If you have a good idea, you can make suggestions in order to be remembered. I, for example, use my newsletter (one page, a concrete topic, only every six weeks) - and most people agree to receive it. If you don’t have a good newsletter, you can offer information about new products or invitations for fairs or events. Just take care to ensure that you don’t become too pushy. Clients are open for further contacts if they don’t feel overpowered.
Please don’t forget to read the next blog article if you want to know how to open a good phone conversation with new contacts.