Eleven Rules About Field Based Sales People And Making New Business Appointments.

By | June 21, 2007
  1. The more senior the person you are trying to get a new sales appointment with, the harder it will be for anybody to make that appointment other than a sales person working directly on the phone.
  2. Cold calling is a waste of time. The only chance you have is if you are lucky on the timing and your call answers an immediate problem. This ‘spray and pray’ method of telephone calling is very unproductive, and also can increase the perceived commoditisation of your offer.
  3. You need an ‘in’. This has got to more than an initial benefit statement, its got to show real research, or pain point insight. This requires a combination of hard work and perceptive thinking. Imagine yourself in their board room over the last months, what are they obsessing about? What issues/challenges/threats/ opportunities are they wrestling with? How can you help them?
  4. The other major route to an ‘in’ is through some kind of relationship connection. We are seeing the Networker competence becoming one of the key differentiators when profiling successful salespeople.
  5. You need to approach the PA/Secretary as if the are the Director. Assume they know everything, sharing the Director’s perceptions and concerns. Trying ‘clever’ techniques to get past them is counterproductive. They can be a huge asset to your selling effort, engaging with them as professionals will get much further.
  6. Gravity applies. Its much easier to be move down a hierarchy than move up. Aim high. A CEOs PA can give you enough credibility to speak to another Director or senior manager. See previous point.
  7. Plan the activity in chunks of time, don’t do it on the fly. The best time to ring somebody to make an appointment is just after you’ve made a successful call. An intense 2 hour session done regularly will be productive.
  8. Feed your prospect list with new names, build the profile data. Phoning someone is only 10% of the iceberg. The real work is done ‘under the surface’ before the phone call.
  9. Learn to use Google properly for your research. Many salespeople still don’t know how to formulate search queries, just typing in the company/person and then wading through lots of irrelevant data.
  10. If you sell into PLC environment subscribe to FT.com. Keep up-date with your prospective customers. Being able to talk about what’s in today’s paper about them is a great ice breaker.
  11. Pick up the phone! You’ll learn much more by doing it then you will by just thinking about it.

In partnership with our sister company, Structured Training we run a very dynamic one day training programme for managers on making effective appointments. For more details contact us.

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