Get your ‘story’ straight:-
- Construct an introduction which conveys positive messages.
- Build a ‘hook’ into your introduction.
- Look for common links e.g:-
- We have provided a quality service to the company in the past.
- Other parts of the Group have provided a quality service to the company in the past.
- We have had meaningful dialogue with his organisation in the past.
- We know (or know of) people he knows.
- A name he will have heard of refers us, or will make an introduction.
- We can demonstrate a knowledge of his business which we can relate back to our services.
- Make the future the key issue.
NB: The more important the ‘phone call’, the more preparation you should do.
Secretary/a n other departmental obstacle
Empathy and assertion – not aggression.
Be prepared for the “obvious” objections.
- “Write in”
- “He’s too busy”
- “What do you want to talk to him about?”
Very few ‘rights’ or ‘wrongs’, just sensible tactics:-
- “Would waste his time or fill his in-tray. 60 seconds on the ‘phone would establish if there’s scope to move things forward ……”
- “Of course …. A very short conversation is all I’m looking for …. when should I ring to catch him?”
- Refer back to introducer
Refuse/decline to discuss it
Blind him/her with science
Give very scant detail and then back to ‘b’ above.
NB: Give away only what you have to, and then grudgingly:-
– Your name only.
– Company name only if asked.
Objections from the person you want the appointment with
Have your ‘story’ ready before you pick the ‘phone up. Tilt it towards the person you’re talking to
- Senior manager —> The future/bigger picture
- Middle level manager —> Time/reducing hassle
- Buyer —> Money/admin savings
Again be ready for the “obvious” objections:-
- Happy with existing supplier/s.
- Too busy.
- Write in.
- Tell me on the ‘phone.
Some ways of handling these are:-
- That’s fair enough. But no-one got to be where they are today by not considering the future – and that’s what I’d like to talk to you about …(date).
There are a number of services which we provide which are unique to us – and I’d like a short meeting with you to discuss them.
Just an exploratory discussion at this stage to see if there is any common ground between our companies for the future.
- “From what I hear, you’re very busy … I may be able to help take a bit of the pressure off you in the future (date).”
Go for out-of-hours meeting. (i.e. early or late)
- “Not a lot I can write until I have a real grasp of what’s important to you”/”filling your in-tray won’t help … a short meeting would be much more productive.” (Date)
- Give a sound reason why the telephone is not the best medium for the discussion.
E.g.: “A conversation, on-the-hoof, over the ‘phone is not the best way to cover important business issues.” (Date.)
ALWAYS Confirm appointments in writing.
ALWAYS Write afterwards, summarising the key points of the meeting.