Posted by: Christine Adams | November 11, 2009

Account Executives: How to Obtain a Difficult Appointment

Sales calls are a dime a dozen. In my industry, I receive a minimum of 100 sales calls a month. There is the disgruntled sales person that feels he is owed an appointment when usually I just know he is tired of being told no. There is the uneducated sales person who can’t pronounce my name or the name of my business. Then there is the typical assumption, “Hi. I would like to set up a time to meet with you.” The unfortunate part is that they ALL sound the same! If you are making sales calls, please make an effort to distinguish yourself from the other 100 calls per month. Here are some tips on how to do that.

telephoneTHE CALL: Here is the standard call that I get 100 times a month (DO NOT do this!): “Hi my name is so and so. I am from blah blah blah. I was wondering if we could meet today (today, really?) and discuss something something.” Instead try something unique. How about this: “Hi my name is ____. I called today to congratulate you because you are a winner!” “What have I won?” they will say. You tell them, “You have won an appointment with me! Yay! This is the part where you jump up and down and scream woo hoo!” While this may seem a bit strange and it may make you feel uncomfortable the first couple of times you try it, it is guaranteed to make your potential client laugh. People are much more apt to give you the time of day if they find you humorous or feel you have stepped outside of the box.

CREATE A SAMPLE: In radio we called this a spec. spot. We would create an ad with the company we were trying to pitch in mind. The ad would have a brilliant idea that would work for their company and we would put it through production without even having an appointment. This concept can work for any business. When a potential client sees what you have to offer and it is already tailored to their business, they have a more difficult time saying no. I will leave you with the following disclaimer: DO NOT send them a generic product with some other company’s name on it. This will completely defeat the purpose. For example, I receive a ton of pens from promotional product companies and I do not care to use a pen that says Marriott Hotels. If they would send me sharp looking product with my company’s name on it, I would not only use the product but I would be more apt to buy it.

SEND THE GIFT OF A SMILE: For the extremely “hard to get in touch with” potential client, here are a couple ideas Shoethey would never expect. 1. Send them a concert or sporting event ticket. Only send one. Include a note in the package that says you will bring the other ticket to your appointment so they have a set of tickets to the event. This will be sure to get you a moment of their time. 2. Send a shoe. Send only one shoe with a note attached that says, “Now that I have one shoe in the door, I was wondering when the other will follow.” Include your contact information and I guarantee 99% of the time they will call you.

Whether or not you like the ideas presented here, the point of the exercise is to get creative! If you want to make a sale you must start with outside of the box thinking from the initial moment of contact with your potential client. Do not get stuck in the trap of sounding like every other sales person who calls the decision maker on a daily basis. Come up with your own ideas to position yourself as unique and you will be viewed that way through the entire relationship.

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”  ~Judy Garland

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