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  • 5 Steps to Keeping Appointments & Reducing Cancellations

    Here is a 5 step process to confirm appointments, reduce cancellations and decrease rescheduling! Read it, learn it, implement it!

    Post Appointment Follow Up Guidelines

    Step 1: Send confirmation email with date/ time of your appointment. Send email within a few hours of setting appointment.
    · Sample email verbiage:

    I just wanted to thank you again for taking a few minutes with me on the phone today, I really appreciate it. I look forward to meeting to meeting you in person on (date/time). Please feel free to call or email me if you need any extra information or have any additional questions. My contact information is listed below. Thank you again.

    Step 2: Send Outlook invite
    · Once you schedule an appointment (phone meeting or physical appointment) schedule the meeting in your Outlook calendar and then invite them to join your meeting (Outlook function). The individual will have to accept or decline the meeting at which point you will be notified of their decision. If they accept the meeting, the appointment will immediately be placed into their personal calendar. This is also a good indicator of the quality of your appointments.

    Step 3: Handwritten Thank You card
    · In a world full of high-tech availability sometimes the most unique, visible and personal thing you can do to catch someone’s attention is to send them a good ole fashioned hand written thank you card. Don’t under estimate the power of the personalized touch that comes with a handwritten thank you card!
    · When the market is saturated and your prospect has a variety of options here is the key to being noticed among your competition; find out what everyone else is doing then do the opposite.
    · Just think, when is the last time your real estate agent, insurance agent or car salesperson sent you a handwritten thank you card thanking you for your business?

    Step 4: Add them to your network on LinkedIn
    · This acts as one more way of getting connected and building rapport before your actual appointment. The more they have invested in you the less likely they are to cancel or postpone your meeting. Get to know them and let them get to know you. This is especially powerful if you have recommendations available on your profile.

    Step 5: Follow up with a phone call a few days before the actual date of your appointment
    If you have to leave a message call back the next day. Call until you are able to confirm your appointment. Start the attempts 5 days before the scheduled meeting because it may take you 2-3 days to actually reach your prospect. Reconfirm the meeting address, let them know you will be there a few minutes early and remind them of anything they may need to bring.

    Appointment Confirmation Rule of Thumb

    If the appointment is more than 10 days away:
    a. Complete steps 1-4 within 48 hrs.
    b. Call 1 week before appointment for confirmation.
    c. Send an email the day before your appointment to let your prospect know how much you are looking forward to meeting them tomorrow.
    If the appointment is less than 10 days away:
    d. Complete steps 1-4 the same day as you set the appointment.
    e. Call 2 days before meeting to re-confirm the details.

    In the Spirit of Success,

    Amanda Johns
    Southwestern Consulting
    formerly known as Success Starts Now!
    2451 Atrium Way
    Nashville, TN 37214

    Join my professional network on LinkedIn

     

    Please share your tips that work or let us know what  you think about the 5 Steps.

    [contact-form] [contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”true” /] [contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”true” /] [contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /] [contact-field label=”Comment” type=”textarea” required=”true” /] [/contact-form]


  • 3 Voicemails that Work to Get Prospects to Return Your Call

    Today, nobody seems to be around to answer their phones. You spend time calling, and all you get are voice-mail messages. You know people don’t bother calling back if they think it’s a sales call. Here are a few messages that get call backs.

     

    Voicemail #1 (The Mystery Message) :

    “Hey Bill, this is Steve Reiner. The reason I’m calling you specifically is I was told you can answer a question of mine. My phone number is… and again my name is Steve Reiner. It would be great if we can connect sometime today. Thank you.”

    I encourage you to not leave the name of your company on the first message. You do that and you’ll be shouting, “I’m selling something.” As proud as we are about the value we provide our clients, the reality is, people avoid salespeople and you’ll find the mystery message will be a greater enticer to receive a call back.

     

    Voicemail #2: (The Mystery Message Part 2):

    “Hey Bill, this is Steve Reiner. I’m not sure if you got my message from last week or if you’ve been on vacation but again, the reason I’m calling you specifically is I was told you can answer a question of mine. My phone number is… and again my name is Steve Reiner. I look forward to hopefully connecting today sometime. Thank you.”

     

    Voicemail #3: (The Call to Action Voicemail to Set up your Warm Cold Call):

    After you’ve left 1-2 unreturned voicemails, leave this message:

    “Hi Bill, this is Steve Reiner. You are a tough person to get hold but I consider that a good thing. It tells me you’re working hard and making things happen and you’re the  type of person I like to work with. So here’s my plan. I will be driving out to your office next Friday to meet you in person between 10-10:30. Please do me this favor: I’ll be driving 45 minutes out to your place so if that time does not work for you then please call back and suggest a time that works better. Otherwise if I don’t hear back then I will assume this is a good time to meet in person and I will plan on being at your office next Friday between 10-10:30. My number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.”

    This will either cause your prospect to call you back which is great or when you show up you can let the front desk know that Byron should be expecting you. The strategy here is rather than driving out 45 minutes to one prospect who may not even be there, now you are setting up an entire day of these warm in person calls. You should see your effectiveness sky-rocket. It requires a bit of planning on the front end but well worth the effort in the long-run!

     

    Remember, the #1 way to avoid call reluctance is to Take Action! It’s easier to act your way into proper thinking than to think you’re way into proper acting.

     

    To your success,

    Steve Reiner

    Professional Sales Coach

    Southwestern Consulting™


  • Sales Tip of the Day – DAY 1

    Leaving messages and not getting calls back? Here is a script for those folks who are not returning your voicemails:

    “Hi Mary, this is Shelly Blume over at BBI. I’ve got to tell you, you are a tough person to get hold of, but you know what? I consider that a good thing. It tells me you’re working hard and you’re making things happen and you’re the type of person I like to work with. So I’ve got an idea since the phone is not working so well. I’ll plan on coming out to your house on Friday between 3 and 3:30 to drop off the guide. Now if you can do me a favor, it’s about a 40 minute drive out there, if that time does not work for you, please give me a call and suggest a better time that works for you, that would be great. Otherwise if I don’t hear back from you I will assume that Friday between 3 and 3:30 works for you and I will plan on introducing myself to you then. Again, this is Shelly from BBI and my number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. I look forward to meeting you on Friday!”

     

    If you are wondering if this really works . . . here is how it worked for a current SWC coaching client:

    Just wanted to drop you a note regarding using this script.   It is fabulous.  I’ve used it on four calls and I’m thrilled with the results.  It definitely was a shot in the arm that I needed.  The first couple was today at 2:00 p.m. and they didn’t call to cancel but were at home waiting for me.   This was a couple I had been calling since April and never got anywhere with them.  The second call was for an appt on Friday, she did call and cancel but asked me to call her back with another day and time.  The next was an appt for next week and he called to confirm.  And the last one I haven’t heard from.

    Thanks again for your sharing this script.   Can’t wait to get going with our first meeting.

    Kathy Kemper, Community Service Counselor
    Olinger Crown Hill Mortuary & Cemetery

     

    Looking forward to your results – please comment below


  • Cold Calling Recipe for Success

    Cold Calling Essentials

    • Get your mind in the right place by effective use of positive affirmations (“I’m the best insurance agent, working for the best insurance company, with best policies to offer this prospect today.”)
    • Focus on the goal when cold calling (setting an appointment, submitting a quote, getting a referral)
    • Research your market and prospects (pre-approach information – to use 3-D names effectively)
    • Prepare an opening statement for your cold call (greeting, name(s) connection and reference point)

     

    Cold Calling Recipe for Success

     The #1 ingredient in cold-calling success is the SCRIPT.

    #2 is LIST. The first law of lists is: The easier a list is to get, the more competitors have it, the less likely it is to be any good.

    #3 is SOUND. There is such a thing as a professional sound. If you sound wishy-washy, uncertain, tired, bored, sour or have a host of other unprofessional sounds, you lose … even if you have the world’s best script.

    #4 is NUMBERS. When I am debugging a failing cold-call campaign, my first question is always, “How many calls do you make an hour?” If it’s below 40 per hour, I won’t even discuss anything else. I have to fix that one first. If you’re lolling along making 10 or 12 calls per hour, guess what? You will fail even with the best script, an optimum list and a great sound.

    #5 is STYLE. There is certainly more than one way to skin the cold-calling cat. I refer to this as “campaign style.” The style is determined by what you want to accomplish on the call. Do you want to sell something? Do you want to get an appointment on the first call?

    We’d love to hear what is working for you, too! Please comment below and share your success or questions.

    To Your Success,

    SWC Sales Training Team

     


  • The Price Build Up

    BY: Dustin Hillis

    Through training at the Southwestern Company, I’ve learned many of the best selling techniques in business.  This is one of the best “The Price Build Up”.

    The price build up is something that anyone can use whenever they have to deliver the price to the potential customer. If you have people ask you how much your service or product cost, then this technique is for you!

    There are three steps in this technique, and it is very efficient and effective for getting people to wrap their mind around the value of your service and making them feel as if the price is the best one that is out there on the market.

    Step 1:  To start with, you want to build the price up. You do that by researching and finding out how much your product costs in other industries or other markets. How much is your competition charging?  For example, if you are selling a high-end pen and you know that your pen is not the most expensive and there are more sets of pens out there, find the most expensive one. For example, a Mon Blanc pen costs two hundred and fifty dollars and our pen only cost two hundred dollars. That is a good price comparison for you to have.

    Step 2: Then you do the next step of price build up which is dropping the bottom out of the price. And how you drop the bottom out is you say, “the main reason why people like to do business with us is that instead of being $3000 or $2500 or even $2000 per month, for our service it is only $475, that’s not bad is it?” Once you say that, the psychology is such that they are thinking $3000, $2500, or even $2000 the next logical order of sequence would be $1,500. By saying $497 it drops the bottom out of what they think it is going to be.

    Step 3: The next step, step number three of the price build up, is attaching emotion to the price. Have some kind of story that one of your customers has given you in the past were they gave you a story about how they are so thankful for using your service. A good example would be with insurance; if somebody took advantage of your service and ended up having to use your insurance, tell a story about that right after you deliver the price.

    If you complete those three steps successfully, where you build the price up and make them feel it is going to be worth the value much greater than it actually is. Then you drop the bottom out of the price and, finally, attach an emotional connection to the value of the price, you will consistently have people tell you “that is not bad” regardless of what your price point is.

    For more sales insight and success stories about implementing the tips you find here, check out the resources at the Southwestern Company or on my BLOG: Selling the Way People Like to Buy.


  • Calls That Get Appointments

    Considering your focus is an outbound call with the intent to schedule an appointment, the scripting I am suggesting would be used whether the call was answered live or if you leave a voicemail. It would be the same opening statement. The call objective is to schedule an appointment.

    The first thing you want to do is create a “headline” opening statement. You want to create something that is catchy and grabs the attention through proposing benefit to the prospect.

    Three major components of your effective opening monologue:

    1. Pleasantry

    Capture their attention with their full name.

    Use a pleasantry different from, “How are you, today?”

    Don’t use your company name in the opening statement?

    2. Benefit focused statement

    Who is your “Decision Maker” and why should they choose to do business with you?

    Think and speak “Benefits”!

    – Specific, Measurable, Time Phased

    – Results-oriented

    Hit the “bull’s eye” to get the interest of the caller. The ultimate objective is to get the person to listen to you by connecting at the highest level. The key is to get closer to the bulls eye which is referral specific.

    – Generalized

    – “Companies in your city…”

    – “Other groups in your industry…”    

    – Referral Specific

    – “ABC Insurance has increased sales activity and suggested I contact you…”

    – “Mary James was able to improve first time closing ratio by 23% through our unique method…”

    3. Transitional Question

    Require a minor “yes” decision to help move the dialogue forward.

    Deliver further benefits, and then end with a question that asks for an appointment.

    Use the take away technique.

    Review of the Outline of Your Effective Opening Statement:

    Step One: Use their full name

    Step Two: Pleasantry. Don’t ask “How are you today” because it telegraphs you are a salesperson. Simply say “Thanks for taking my call”, pause for a brief second and move on. Do not ask if you have caught them at a good time, because there never s a good time. If you have caught them at a bad time, they can tell you.

    Step Three: Bridge (links communication to become conversational)         

    “Last week…”

    “Recently…”

    Step Four: Benefit focused Statement

    Step Five: Transitional Question

    Here is an example of how this may work for either the initial call or the voicemail message:

    Voicemail

    “Hi, my name is _________from Scottsdale, Arizona. Thanks for taking my call. I trust I have not caught you at a bad time (slight pause) the purpose of my call and I will be brief, I have been talking to a number of sales managers in your area and they seem to be challenged with getting their sales people to do all the necessary activity to meet their sales goals. I am sure that is something that frustrates you as well. We have a unique solution; I am not sure if it would work for you, but if we can invest a few seconds I am sure you could tell if it would work. Recently Joe Smith of ABC Insurance was able to increase sales activity by nearly 30% with our solution within 30 days of implementing it. I can not really tell you right, or show you wrong. Please call me at 800-486-7586 and we can take a quick look. My name again is_____________800-486-7586

     

     

    Opening statement on initial call

    “Hi, my name is _________from Scottsdale, Arizona. Thanks for taking my call. I trust I have not caught you at a bad time (slight pause) the purpose of my call and I will be brief, I have been talking to a number of sales managers in your area and they seem to be challenged with getting their sales people to do all the necessary activity to meet their sales goals. Is that something that frustrates you as well? We have a unique solution; I am not sure if it would work for you, but if we can invest a few seconds I am sure you could tell if it would work. Recently Joe Smith of ABC Insurance was able to increase sales activity by nearly 30%with our solution within 30 days of implementing it. I can not really tell you right, or show you wrong. How many sales people do you have on your team?

    To Your Success,

    Ron Marks

    rmarks@southwesternconsulting.com


  • Getting Your Prospect’s Attention Over the Phone

    Considering your focus is an outbound call with the intent to schedule an appointment, the scripting I am suggesting would be used whether the call was answered live or if you leave a voicemail. It would be the same opening statement. The call objective is to schedule an appointment.

    The first thing you want to do is create a “headline” opening statement. You want to create something that is catchy and grabs the attention through proposing benefit to the prospect.

    Three major components of your effective opening monologue:

    1. Pleasantry

    Capture their attention with their full name.

    Use a pleasantry different from, “How are you, today?”

    Don’t use your company name in the opening statement?

    2. Benefit focused statement

    Who is your “Decision Maker” and why should they choose to do business with you?

    Think and speak “Benefits”!

    – Specific

                – Measurable

                – Time Phased

    – Results-oriented

    Hit the “bull’s eye” to get the interest of the caller. The ultimate objective is to get the person to listen to you by connecting at the highest level. The key is to get closer to the bulls eye which is referral specific.

                –  Generalized

                – “Companies in your city…”

                 – “Other groups in your industry…”

                   – Referral Specific

    – “ABC Insurance has increased sales activity and suggested I contact you…”

     – “Mary James was able to improve first time closing ratio by 23% through our unique method…”

    3. Transitional Question

    Require a minor “yes” decision to help move the dialogue forward.

    Deliver further benefits, and then end with a question that asks for an appointment.

    Use the take away technique.

     

    Review of the Outline of Your Effective Opening Statement:

    Step One: Use their full name

    Step Two: Pleasantry. Don’t ask “How are you today” because it telegraphs you are a salesperson. Simply say “Thanks for taking my call”, pause for a brief second and move on. Do not ask if you have caught them at a good time, because there never s a good time. If you have caught them at a bad time, they can tell you.

    Step Three: Bridge (links communication to become conversational)     

    “Last week…”

    “Recently…”

    Step Four: Benefit focused Statement

    Step Five: Transitional Question

    Here is an example of how this may work for either the initial call or the voicemail message:

    Voicemail

    “Hi, my name is _________from Scottsdale, Arizona. Thanks for taking my call. I trust I have not caught you at a bad time (slight pause) the purpose of my call and I will be brief, I have been talking to a number of sales managers in your area and they seem to be challenged with getting their sales people to do all the necessary activity to meet their sales goals. I am sure that is something that frustrates you as well. We have a unique solution; I am not sure if it would work for you, but if we can invest a few seconds I am sure you could tell if it would work. Recently Joe Smith of ABC Insurance was able to increase sales activity by nearly 30% with our solution within 30 days of implementing it. I can not really tell you right, or show you wrong. Please call me at 800-486-7586 and we can take a quick look. My name again is_____________800-486-7586

     Opening statement on initial call

    “Hi, my name is _________from Scottsdale, Arizona. Thanks for taking my call. I trust I have not caught you at a bad time (slight pause) the purpose of my call and I will be brief, I have been talking to a number of sales managers in your area and they seem to be challenged with getting their sales people to do all the necessary activity to meet their sales goals. Is that something that frustrates you as well? We have a unique solution; I am not sure if it would work for you, but if we can invest a few seconds I am sure you could tell if it would work. Recently Joe Smith of ABC Insurance was able to increase sales activity by nearly 30%with our solution within 30 days of implementing it. I can not really tell you right, or show you wrong. How many sales people do you have on your team?

     Ron Marks


  • 10 Tips for More Appointments

    1. Have set times that you phone for appointments every day—call reluctance prevents us from doing it
    2. Replenish your prospect list daily—business journal, lead lists, door knocking, internet searches, referrals.  Rule of thumb:  for every reach, add a new market record.
    3. Have written positive affirmations that we refer to daily–Restores your confidence.
    4. Use 3rd-party testimonials in your approach—people would rather here from someone else about your service.
    5. Go where you have momentum- industry, location, product-line.
    6. Connect with people on LinkedIn.
    7. Have your vision board where you can see it.
    8. Have a daily goal. If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t get there.
    9. Have written answers to objections at your reach.
    10. Make it fun:  word for the day, prize if you hit your goal, 2/3 on the tough days.

    Your Partner in Success,

    Emmie Young


  • SET YOURSELF APART FROM THE COMPETITION

    In a recent conversation with a colleague, we shared some ideas on how to stand out from the crowd. Here are a few ways to differentiate yourself from everyone and become super customer service oriented as a by-product!

    Differentiators once you set the appointment:

    1. Ask the secretary/assistant what their favorite breakfast spot is or where they get their coffee.
      1. Get a gift card to that location
      2. Bring them coffee/drink when you come in for the meeting
      3. Send a hand written thank you card as soon as you set the appointment
        1. Thank them for the opportunity and their time

     Differentiators once you make the sale:

    1.  Thank you for your business gift basket or bottle of wine

    • Include a thank you note and business card with each gift
    • Deliver in person when possible
    • Personalize gift when applicable or include things that require time with you (i.e. lunch, golfing, etc…)

    2.  Have 1 luxury item that you give each one of your new ‘platinum’ customers

    • For example if a company starts a 401k with you that could make you $10K plus perhaps you give them a Mont Blanc pen (high net worth client gift)

     Differentiators to keep your clients:

    1.  Annual or bi-annual thank you gifts or business reminders

    • I receive a Titans magnet football schedule from my realtor every August  
    • Annual Christmas, Thanksgiving or New Years card (since most people send Christmas cards send a Thanksgiving or New Years card so that you stick out more)

    2.  Business anniversary gifts

    • Send bottle of wine/champagne thanking them for another year of their business

    Additional, periodic, service mailers are another added bonus. Specific marketing pieces going out to clients and prospects is just another great way to let them know what additional services that you can provide for them as a client. It’s all about being service oriented. Hit up your current clients to offer/remind them and send it out to current and past prospects as an added benefit!  Make sure your personal information is on that flyer.

    Keep the creative juices flowing! 

    In the Spirit of Success,

    Amanda Johns
    Corporate Partner and Program Director
    ajohns@southwesternconsulting.com
    Corporate website: http://www.southwesternconsulting.com
    Join my professional network on LinkedIn


  • SCHEDULING SECRETS OF TOP PRODUCING PROFESSIONALS

    Did you miss the FREE teleseminar?

    Hi! We’ve been getting some amazing feedback from the call, so thanks to all of you who have been writing and calling about it.

    In case you missed it, the topic was: Scheduling Secrets of Top Producing Professionals

    Here’s the RSS Feed:   http://tiny.cc/mt84n   Here’s the link to the audio:  http://tiny.cc/wd60a