How to Cold Call for a VIP Appointment

How to Cold Call for a VIP Appointment

Cold calls make some business owners shiver with fear. But you can learn to love making them once you see the results in a bigger pay cheque, more sophisticated clients and a whole new world of opportunity.

Here’s my story. A notice in the national business news announced that Robert had just been promoted to VP of Sales for the largest of our target companies, headquartered in a city that was also hosting a conference I wanted to attend. That was my double opener. I called, got through to Robert on the phone, and said that I was the owner of publishing business serving his industry and that I’d like to meet with him while in town to discuss how we could improve the performance and retention of his sales force.

I got the appointment. And I still have a copy of the first cheque we received from that company. The amount? $184,652.50! One cold call. One appointment. And the biggest sale of my career. Thank goodness for all those sales trainers and mentors over the years.

Here are a few tips to help you once you’ve identified an ideal prospect.

Find a Connection and work it into your conversation.

Use a script, even if it’s just a few notes you jot down to prepare yourself for the call.

Know the Benefits you have to Offer. Clients don’t buy products or services. They buy solutions to problems – in other words, the benefits, not the features.

Make Friends with the Gatekeeper. The job of the receptionist or secretary is to put through important calls, not just to block unnecessary intrusions. Help her do the job by sharing how important this call could be to the decision-maker.

Be Clear about the Purpose of your Call which in this case, is to get the appointment. Period. The actual sale takes place somewhere down the road after you’ve done your fact-finding, prepared and presented a proposal. The first step is meeting the decision-maker.

Get down to Business Promptly. Neither you nor your prospect has time to waste. This is not a social call: it’s a business call. Your prospect will appreciate that you don’t beat around the bush.

Know Your Prospect or at least know common areas of concern for companies in their industry. Can you help them make more money? Improve retention? Be healthier? More secure? Learn to ask probing questions to identify the key issues in your prospect’s mind.

Be Prepared for Objections. That’s where your script comes in. Anticipate what a person might say at any point in the conversation and be prepared with a question or an answer that will ease the prospect’s mind and allow further discussion. Common objections when asking for an appointment are: We already have a supplier (We’d like to be your back-up supplier should the need arise). Our budget is already spent for this year (We plan ahead and would like to make you aware of some other possible options when this comes up for review next year). Timing, too busy. (I am happy to meet your schedule. Would a breakfast meeting work better for you?)

Invest in Training and Coaching for yourself and your team. It makes the learning curve so much easier and gets results faster.

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