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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Get that First Appointment — Master Your Approach

first appointmentHave you ever felt like taking a “Wild Wild West” approach to securing your first appointment? Think about it… if only it were appropriate to ‘lasso’ your prospect, ‘tie him down’ and force him to stay engaged so that you may cordially introduce yourself, establish credibility and politely present your value proposition. Honestly, if you could just get his undivided attention for 5-minutes… you know he’ll like you, and you know he’ll be intrigued and perhaps even excited or anxious to learn more, right?

Personally, I have indeed toyed with the idea (more than once) of taking the Wild Wild West approach to securing that first appointment. Fortunately wisdom intervened, because I’m certain I would have been greatly misunderstood and most likely thrown in jail if I had decided to draw from my Texas ancestor’s tactics and put those thoughts into action! Needless to say, my understanding of acceptable social behavior and, well… modern law kept me from utilizing an Outlaw Josey Wales sales approach.

Topics: setting expectations Setting Appointments new business development Sales salespeople prospecting

#1 Reason Why Your First Sales Appointment Went Downhill Fast and 3 Ways to Avoid

using a valid business reason when getting the first appointmentHave you ever met with a prospect for the first time and felt like the entire conversation was like pulling teeth? Maybe they took a bunch of "Oh I need to get that," phone calls or answered some urgent emails while you were waiting to ask your next question. Maybe you had to have your meeting on the phone, and you could sense the person you were meeting with was distracted and not focused during the little time you had.

Topics: Setting Appointments Needs Analysis successful sales meetings Sales salespeople

A Great Sales Story: Getting the First Appointment

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After a workshop I was leading about earning a first appointment with prospects, one of the folks in attendance shared an incredible success story with me.

Topics: Setting Appointments new business development Sales

Let’s Get Real About How Many Contacts It Takes To Get An Appointment

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There certainly is a lot banter these days about how many contacts a salesperson must make in order to secure an appointment. We all know it takes more than 2 or 3 calls, but how many does it really take and why?

Topics: Setting Appointments Sales

"Follow Up Next Week" Does Not Mean You Have an Appointment

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One of the leading indicators for sales success is to look at the number of appointments that a salesperson has each week. (This is not the only leading indicator that you should be looking at, but it is one of them.) The idea is that if a salesperson has a significant amount of appointments each week which involve finding needs, getting assignments, presenting solutions, or delivering a proposal, that this quality sales activity will lead to good solid revenue performance.  

I think it’s fair to say that everyone in sales or in sales management would agree with this, so I’m not really going out on a limb having made that statement. But here is where I think there might be a flaw. I think many salespeople are confusing "I'll follow up with you next week" with "I have an appointment." To be clear, "I’ll follow up with you next week" does not mean you have an appointment.

Topics: Setting Appointments Sales

Stop Talking About Your Product; I’m Deciding If I Want to Work With YOU

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If you’re a salesperson, it’s good to be proud of what you sell and where you work. Those two factors are key to enjoying what you do for a living. Working for a great company and having a great product certainly helps with clients, but the criteria prospects will often use when deciding to give you some of their precious time, is YOU. 

Where should your product and your company be in your sales strategy when talking to new prospects?

Topics: Setting Appointments Sales

5 Ways To Get More Appointments

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When I talk to salespeople and look at data from structured sales campaigns, it’s clear that the number one bottleneck in the sales process is getting appointments. And it’s seemingly getting tougher, not easier, despite all the digital avenues available to most salespeople for pre-call research and preparation of a Valid Business Reason that should, in theory, evoke a response from the prospect. So, why is it so tough to get that appointment?  

Topics: Setting Appointments Sales

Selling Techniques for Getting that First Appointment

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You called. Left a message. "Maybe they're busy," you think. Or, "maybe they just don't return calls." Perhaps it's neither of these. Maybe it's on you.

Maybe you just haven't given them a compelling enough reason to call you back.

If you want people to call you back, you need to give them a reason. If the reason you are providing is something along the lines of, "I have a really great idea to share with you," then you sound just like the other 25 calls they've received.

Your prospect doesn't want your ideas. They want solutions to their problems.

Topics: Setting Appointments sales strategy Sales

Five Ways to Beat Cold Calling Boredom

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We know continuous and relentless cold calling can wear you down. It’s a numbers exercise at best, and unless you really enjoy leaving voicemail messages and constant rejection, the process can be boring and downright taxing. But, there are ways to spice things up so that you’re not only more engaged, but also way more productive. Here are five recommendations we have to help you:

Topics: Social Media Setting Appointments Sales

A Sales Strategy to Double Time Spent Selling

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When a colleague conducted a "time spent selling audit" for one of her clients, the data showed the organization's best sellers spent slightly over 20% of their time actually selling. Keep in mind, the audit included the best sellers in the organization! Here are five reasons why this happens:

Topics: Setting Appointments new business development lead generation Management Sales