?? Dear Scott: Ask for the Sales Meeting or a Few Minutes Now?

?? Dear Scott:

I love your books! 🙂

I work as part of small telesales team, in charge of lead generation and selling all done over-the-phone starting with a cold call. We are selling seminars and various business courses which cost between $375 and $630 and are conducted over 3 – 5 days depending on the course.

If they express interest after my initial pitch, instead of ending with “Would you have some time in the next week or two?” could I end with “Would you have a few minutes now?” Or, should we just set an appointment?”

Interested to hear your reasoning behind your answer.

Puzzled Peter

Answer: I would set the appointment rather than go for something immediately.

Why? This is not a low priced off the shelf standard package product. (The dollar cost of your courses is not super high but a 3 to 5 day time commitment is. To a buyer this is high-cost.) The people you are talking with have no meaningful relationship with you. They don’t know you, respect you or trust you yet. You are not only asking for a not insignificant sum of money, but even more, you are asking for people’s time. People don’t decide to take major blocks of time out of their schedule and travel on whims. They need to be fully comfortable with the decision. Comfort takes time. Unless you are dealing with a low-cost commodity type off-the-shelf offering, reality is that it takes time and multiple interactions for people to buy. No multiple interactions, no sale. Period.

Going too deep into your offering on a cold “set the appointment” call comes with very very high risks and very little chance of  reward. Let’s take the situation where someone has a need for what you offer. Your eloquent scripting and verbal delivery entrances them with thoughts of how great life could be with you in it. They ask questions and want to talk now. You are extremely knowledgeable, have the answers to their questions, have handled similar situations many times before and know how to help them. Why not show them right now how smart you are and what a great resource you would be? Here is the problem.

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They don’t know, trust and respect you yet. You don’t know the details of their current situation, their previous experiences, the extent of their knowledge on the topic, their expectations, or their comfort zones. You don’t know Jack about them. You are walking into a mine field. Odds are that you are going to take one step too many and be toast.

It has nothing to do with whether you are “right” and giving them great valuable info. Nothing.

If you give them info they are not ready to absorb yet, you are done. If you assume a fact to be true and it is not, they say “that is not us” and you are done. You mention an example from another industry and they think “we are different.” You mention costs, time investments or transitional issues before they have confidence in you and can contrast them with all the benefits from the end result, and you are done. Stay focused on solidly selling the next interaction. Remember, no future interactions, no sale. Period.

Also, I’m guessing that the major source of your revenue are those companies that send multiple people to an event, or multiple events or even have you do something in-house to a group. Those larger transaction “A” type accounts need even more time, care and attention. They have options, more to consider and the consequences of their actions are greater. If you are speaking to one of those, even more so, you want to move solidly and methodically through the steps to close a deal. Skip steps or leave a step incomplete and your sale rests on a foundation of sand. Good luck.

Unscheduled conversations tend not to convert to an immediate sale. Sales will come when people make a commitment of time, you can fully communicate your value and credibility, and there are multiple interactions. At this stage, given that these are cold calls, all conversations should be used to cement the next interaction. I would opt for the appointment, whether it be by phone or in-person as a matter of process.

Peter, thanks for the kind words about the books,
Hope this helps,
Scott

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