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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Selling Techniques for Getting that First Appointment


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.

So, provide them with a solid reason why they should want to talk with you. We call this concept the valid business reason.

See also: Six Ways to Help You Get That First B2B Sales Appointment

A valid business reason is the reason the prospect would want to meet with YOU. It is not the reason you want to meet with them! You can deliver your valid business reason in the form of an email, a phone call, or a face-to-face meeting.

It really doesn’t matter! The selling techniques for getting that first appointment have very little to do with the method of delivery.

What matters is establishing a strong reason for them to meet with you—not only because it increases your chances of getting that meeting, but because it increases the chances it will be the quality meeting you want.  

The Best Valid Business Reasons Do the Following Three Things:

  1. Show that you know something about THEIR business.

  2. Give the prospect a reason to meet with YOU.

  3. Gives them a reason to meet with you NOW.

Make sure your valid business reasons are dangling process rather than product. Let me explain what I mean:

  • Dangling product. When you entice the prospect with your product and its impact, it sounds like this: “I would love to talk to you about this custom idea that we created that will deliver results for your business in 4th quarter.”
  • Dangling process. When you entice the prospect with your process, you move the focus to HOW the results were achieved. It sounds like this: “We have a powerful process that’s worked very well with a number of companies like yours and helped them to achieve their desired sales lift.”
    See also: It Pays to be Smart: Finding a Valid Business Reason to Connect

In general, clients get more intrigued and excited about the process than about your product’s impact.  

So, how do you know if your valid business reason is on track? Here is a good test. Ask yourself if your valid business reason is more about them—or more about you. If it’s loaded with words like the name (or slogan) of your company, you probably have a flimsy valid business reason, propped up mostly with why you want to meet with them.  

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Editor's Note: This post was originally published February 26, 2015 and has been updated.

Topics: sales strategy Sales