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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Science of Appointment Setting

In the last post, I discussed the only three things that determine how much money you earn.
  • The quality of the prospects you speak to
  • The number of prospects you speak to
  • The quality of your presentation (to schedule an appointment)
This post is part three which focuses on setting appointments, filling your appointment calendar.

It’s likely that your first contact with the prospect is a phone call. In previous posts of this blog, I recommend you send something that impresses the prospect before you call—a booklet that you published, an article written about you or that you wrote, a recorded interview—anything that tells the prospect, “this is not an ordinary sales person, this is a professional!” By predetermining your credibility, you generate trust and your first call is a warm call. And a warm call leads to setting an appointment.

On that call, you DO NOT talk about your products, your services, you, you, you. You talk about THEM. Here is a sample dialogue:
Hi, Mr. Jones?
This is Bob Richards and 2 days ago you called by office and ordered a copy of my booklet, “Six Ways to Reduce Taxes.” Did that get to you?
Yes it did
May I ask, what motivated you to order the booklet?
I pay too much taxes and I need a break
How much tax do you think you pay?
My quarterly estimates are $20,000.
That is a lot. Has your accountant been able to help you?
Not really.
Has your financial advisor been any help?
We purchased some tax-free bonds, but that did not make a big difference.
It sounds like you’re not getting the type of advice you want; is that true?
What do you think some solutions are?
I don’t know, I’m looking for someone that thinks creatively.
So you are seeking new ideas?
If you got advice on new ways to cut taxes, what would you do with those savings?
I’d probably take another vacation.
You like to travel?
Yes, it’s my favorite activity.
Where are you gong next?
That's fabulous. Well let’s see if we can save enough taxes to get you another week in Beijing. Would you like to know what other people in your situation are doing to cut taxes?
Great. Our financial services firm has community service appointments on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons as a service to the community. At those meetings we show you what other people like yourself are doing to significantly cut their taxes. Would you like to see how your neighbors do it?

Notice that our professional in the above dialogue resists talking about himself and his firm and his services. He accomplishes his objective (appointment setting) by focusing on the prospect and offering something important to the prospect. Because if you offer something to prospects that they believe have value for them or have importance for them, they are happy to set an appointment.