Dialing for Dollars
by Joe Bonura , CSP
Save time, save steps, increase your effectiveness, and make more
money by using the telephone to make appointments. It is sad that
many sales people do not like to use the telephone. They are intimidated
by Alexander Graham Bell's contribution to
They're Off and Running
Assume that two sales people begin making sales calls at 9:00 am.
One sales person chooses to cold-canvass on foot, and the other
does the cold-canvass on the phone. Which sales person will have
the most productive day? Actually, the phone person will be more
In the time it takes the foot warrior to drive to the first call,
get out of the car, walk in to the business, and ask for the prospect
(only to find the target is not in or too busy), the phone warrior
has made ten or more dials.
Even if you have a better chance of getting in to see the prospect
with a face-to-face encounter, you will have more opportunities
to fill your calendar with real appointments using the phone.
High Impact Appointments
Your sales calls will have more meaning and impact if you have
an appointment, than if you barge in because you happen to be in
Still Time To Hoof-it
You will still have time to hoof-it between set appointments. Let
us say, you have a firm appointment with ABC Company at 9:00 am,
you have allowed thirty minutes to drive to the location and one
hour for the appointment. You arrive at the appointment, visit with
your prospect, and the call took only thirty minutes instead of
the hour you had planned. Walk out the front door, look left, then
right, and pick one or two cold-call targets. If you have allowed
thirty minutes to drive to your next appointment, you will have
thirty minutes to fill. If the prospect is not in, you have not
wasted the gasoline getting there because you had your set appointment
in the neighborhood.
So, what do you say on the phone to make it painless and to get
an appointment? What do you say to the gate angel to get to the
decision maker, and what do you say to the decision maker when she
answers the phone? How many dials do you make each day to get one
contact with a decision maker? How many decision makers do you speak
with to get an appointment? How many decision makers do you visit
with to make a sale? These are critical questions to ask because
selling is a numbers game, and you have to know your numbers.
Several years ago, I was doing a sales training program for a major
company in San Francisco, and there were thirty sales representatives
in the room from around the USA. Outside the room, there was a bank
of forty phones that were not being used. I decided to try an experiment,
so I told the group to leave the training room, go to the phones,
and make ten dials with the intention of getting an appointment.
What If They Are Not In?
The first question was, 'What if they are not in?' I said, 'Make
the dials and come back to the meeting.' The next question was,
'But what if I get voice mail?' I said, 'Make the dials and come
back to the room.' After fielding several more excuses, everyone
left the room and went to the phones.
Thirty people came back in less than thirty minutes. The group
had sixty appointments, or an average of two appointments each.
Was it just a fluke?
Four weeks later I did a program with a major media outlet, and
there were forty people in the room. This time, I asked them in
advance to bring their cell phones. The forty sales people left
the room, and they returned with eighty-two appointments.
I have done the same experiment hundreds of times over the years,
and the results are always the same - an average of one to two appointments
per person. Some people will end up with only one appointment, some
will get no appointments, and some will get two or more appointments.
It is the average that counts.
If thirty people making ten dials in less than thirty minutes can
set sixty appointments, how many appointments can one person get,
making ten dials, thirty minutes a day for thirty days? That is
right - approximately sixty.
OK, so you believe me, but what do you say when you make the call?
You: Hi, my name is _____________. Whom am I speaking with?
(If you are calling a business number, the person on the other
end may think that you are a customer at this point, so don't worry;
they will treat you with respect.)
You: Mary, I need your help!
(It is important for you to repeat her name back to her at this
Mary: How can I help you?
(She will say that, or something like that, in response to your
You: Mary, we work with businesses that want to (your key
benefit here). Does that make sense to you?
(Notice that you have not yet identified your company. The benefit
is more important than your company name. Asking does that make
sense gets the person on the other end to respond. It sure beats,
'How are you today?')
Mary: I guess so?
(She might say, 'How can I help you?' or 'What can I
do for you?' or something in that vein.)
You: Mary, what do we have to do to speak with Mike?
(Notice that you used the word we, and not I. You want her to be
on your team, and not just a lackey you are sending to fetch Mike.)
Mary: Uh, who are you with?
You: I'm sorry; I'm with ABC Company. Is Mike in today?
Mary: Let me get him on the phone for you.
(Ring, Ring . . .)
Mike: Hello, Mike speaking.
You: Hello, Mike, this is Joe Bonura; we work with companies
that want to (insert benefit here). Does that make sense to you?
Mike: It might.
You: Great! I'm with ABC Company, and I will be across the
street from your office tomorrow at 2:00 pm. I would like only ten
minutes of your time. Is two OK with you?
Mike: Two sounds fine.
You: See you then.
If he is not interested, hang up, and go to the next call. It
is more productive to be making the next call, than it is to convince
someone, who is not interested, to change his mind. That is what
makes the phone so productive. Just like the Energizer Bunny, you
can keep going, and going, and going.
Thank you, Alexander, for making it so easy for us to get
in touch with potential business.
© 2004 Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.