The 2 Reasons a Prospect Will Grant You an Appointment
(Hint…one of them isn’t the vast amount of knowledge you want to dump on them!)
He was rambling big time, running off at the mouth about his products, how great they were, how much better they were than his competitors. He couldn’t stop talking about how needed and important they were. He was like the Tasmanian Devil of data dump, spinning around and wearing me out, just as I imagined he was doing to his prospects when he got them on the other end of the phone.
He wanted a few minutes of my time—was asking for my help. His appointment count was way down. He was converting only a small percentage of the targeted prospects he was able to personally reach. I asked him to role-play with me. I wanted to hear what he sounded like.
It was horrifying. I wouldn’t have given him an appointment either!
In this short blog article I’m going to tell you the one thing that some salespeople do that absolutely KILLS their chances of setting appointments in volume. I will also give you the two primary reasons your qualified prospects WILL ultimately decide to meet with you.
By the way, the guy asking for my help wasn’t brand new to sales. He’d been in the game for a year or so. He was afflicted by what we call, “The Curse of Knowledge.” We talk about this phenomenon a lot in our CAP Equation© training. This is the disease that some salespeople come down with as they learn more about their products and services—more about their industry.
As they learn volumes of specific details and factoids about their products, services and craft, they feel compelled to regurgitate it—all of it—they dump all of the data they know all over their prime targets.
It was painfully obvious that this was exactly what this dude was doing! He was verbally vomiting, blowing his only chance to ever meet with his targets. As a result, his prospects were shutting down on him. They were saying things like, “Call me after the new year. I’m way too busy right now.” The truth is, they aren’t going to give him an appointment when he calls back. They’re going to screen his calls and avoid him like the plague.
I’m recognized as an expert in frontline sales training techniques, but you don’t have to be an expert sales trainer to spot this guy’s error from a mile away. I asked him if he set a lot of appointments when he was brand new. He told me he set a “Ton of meetings,” when he was green. I asked him how much he knew just after he got started, the first 30 – 90 days. He told me, “Not much.”
So, what’s going on in this scenario?
For one thing, The Curse of Knowledge took hold of this guy. Instead of him offering his prospects one or two compelling reasons to meet and asking for the appointment quickly—within the first 20 – 30 seconds—he was drowning his prospects in useless facts about his product and services. In fact, he was giving them so much specific information about his products and services that they were making value judgments of whether they wanted to do business with him right there, on the spot.
You see, when this same struggling salesperson was brand new, he simply called or dropped in on a prospect (and with genuine enthusiasm), asked for the opportunity to meet. He got to the point quickly. He wasn’t burdened with a vast amount of knowledge. He was sincerely excited and he knew only enough to ask for the time to tell his story. His genuine passion and brief front-talk captured his prospect’s curiosity.
He sold the prospect on giving him an appointment; he sold them on the time to meet, NOT on his products, services or his endless and frivolous knowledge.
The second thing that wasn’t going on with my struggling friend’s appointment setting techniques is that he wasn’t feeding his prospect’s REAL MOTIVATIONS for meeting, the ones that ultimately compel them to spend their precious time with a salesperson. In order to set appointments with the type of key prospects you want to meet with in volume, you have to tap into these two stimuli. You have to join the conversation that’s going on inside of your prospect’s head.
Think about it…your prospects are busy; they are important people inside of their organization. Their time is at a premium. Ultimately, they need to make firm decisions of what vendors or salespeople they meet with and why. They simply don’t want to and, worse, CAN’T waste their precious time.
You have to somehow feed one or both of the two primary motives they have for scheduling time to meet with a salesperson.
Okay…here are the two reasons they’ll decide to meet with you, and ultimately the only two:
#1: They believe that you have information that is NEW to their world.
Don’t think product. Don’t think service. In fact, don’t think tangible at all. You may have a new product or service to offer, if you do that’s great. But, more often than not, you aren’t going to have a tangible new product to talk about.
I want you to think intangible…about a NEW IDEA, a new strategy or a new solution for a problem you know they are trying to solve.
Key decision makers—your target prospect, don’t want to miss a new good idea! They hate to be on the outside looking in. They want to be on the cutting edge of the thing we call differentiation. They want to have something that their competitors don’t have. Of course, I’m referring to a B2B sale with this suggestion, but this method works universally. It works just as well for individual product selling and network-marketing (MLM), also.
Think about it…if you are promoting a network-marketing program, the prospect you want to have involved in your business has a center of influence and has probably been hit on before. You must convince them that you have a new strategy or method to help them reach their objectives. If you simply call them up and data dump, try to convince them how great your widget is, how yummy it tastes while it helps you lose weight, you’ve already lost them. They’ve heard that before.
You have to go deeper than that—you have to convince them you have new information, strategies or methods, ones that will create a new and improved reality for them.
If you’re able to tap into this first motivation, the impulse they naturally have to get new information about their market or world, the desire they have to know something that their competitors or friends don’t know…
…then you’ve gone DEEPER and your appointment conversion ratio will go sky high!
The second reason that a target prospect or decision maker may schedule their valued time to meet with you will speak less to new information and ideas and more to who YOU are and what you can help them do with the information.
#2: They believe you can help them APPLY new information to their BENEFIT
This second and equally important motive speaks to the fact that important people value their time, and even if you persuade them that you have new information, strategies or methods, they still want to know that they’re meeting with someone that can help them understand and employ those ideas.
They want to meet with an industry THOUGHT LEADER, a professional that has the ability to transform their business, their personal or financial life.
You may have some decent knowledge on a subject, but if they aren’t convinced that you can take them into a deeper application of it, they still may not meet with you. They don’t only want to learn about something new, they want to work with really smart people, people that are on the cutting edge…thought leaders who can show them how to benefit from those new ideas or strategies!
Let me give you a real life (and very personal), example.
In July of 1982 a co-worker and friend, Bill Cover, suggested I meet with a guy who was building a home-based business, an MLM business. I resisted taking the meeting because I’d been pitched on various network-marketing businesses on several occasions. I was a polished salesperson. I knew how to prospect, present and close at a high level. I was also a good recruiter. I was a fearless, high-energy twenty-something—a prime target for any MLM person looking to sponsor their next young superstar.
Bill sold me on meeting with the MLM guy, but he didn’t sell me on meeting with him based on the guy’s great company or wonderful products. He succinctly sold me on meeting with him because the guy had information that was cutting edge with regard to the market space he was in. In short, he convinced me that this MLM guy had ideas that were new to my world, an approach to the MLM business I’d never seen or heard of before.
But my friend Bill didn’t stop there.
Just to make sure I couldn’t possibly say “No” to the meeting, he told me that this person could take me “by the hand” and show me how to build a profitable side business faster than anyone else in his industry, because, as he said “That’s what this guy is known for.”
So, my friend Bill had nailed it.
He didn’t babble on about great products and services and he didn’t try to amaze me with his own personal knowledge of the MLM business opportunity. He simply satisfied the two motivations that any of us naturally have to take a meeting with someone.
He simply told me that this guy had proprietary knowledge that I didn’t have and he had an astonishing ability to show people, like me, how to apply it to an immediate benefit.
I had no intention of meeting with another MLM guy before Bill positioned the opportunity the way he did, using these two caveats. I was sucked in and met with the guy. There is a “rest of the story” to this meeting with the MLM guy, but we will save it for another time! LOL!
My point is this…we are all the same. We are busy. We don’t like to waste time. Your prospects don’t care about all the details you want to dump on them about your products or services. If you want their attention, you need to convince them that you have something new to talk to them about, something that will differentiate their current business or personal position. You also have to convince them that you are skilled enough to help them utilize this information to their immediate benefit.
Then they’ll meet with you.
Oh, and also, you need to get to the point quickly. You must learn how to engineer your front-talk and scripting so that you are asking for an appointment within the first 30 seconds you are on the phone or in front of them.
You need to get to the point quickly; you only have a very small sound bite of time with these decision makers in this digitally infested, information overload world!
In summary, all of your specific product and service knowledge is not your friend when you are trying to drive qualified appointments in volume. Learn and take action on the following steps:
Don’t data dump
- Sell the APPOINTMENT—the time to meet, not your products or services
- ASK for an appointment QUICKLY—within the first 30 seconds
- Also…know that you may have to ask 3 or 4 times!
Know and feed your prospect’s only two motivations for meeting with you:
- You have information that is NEW to their WORLD
- You have the ability to help them APPLY the information to their immediate BENEFIT
- Gear and build your front-talk around these two motivations and stimuli
I wish it was more complicated than this, but it’s not. This is how the pros do it.
Your knowledge of WHY they will meet with you in the first place and the ability for you to model your front- talk to feed those motivations are the factors that will create your appointment setting success.
As for my friend that was rambling on…I think we have him back on track. I asked him to pretend he was brand new again and when the prospect asked questions about his products and services, I taught him to respond with, “That’s why we need to meet!”
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