74. How can you overcome telephone reluctance?

Overcome telephone call reluctance. Use the telephone as a tool to become more cost effective.

The average cost of a personal visit by a sales rep has more than doubled in the past ten years. Time management, carefully prepared sales presentations and making firm appointments for new account calls now have a new meaning.

Working without a schedule, making unprepared calls, spending too much time on marginal or unprofitable accounts, taking too many small orders and not making good use of the telephone are just a few of the old habits that do not work any more.

Efficiency is the ability to do the greatest amount of work with the least possible amount of effort, in the shortest period of time. Always be thinking of an easier way to get things done.  It is not being lazy, it is being smart.

It is estimated that the average sales person spends only about one to two hours of their working time each day actually selling the prospect or customer. One of the largest percentages of time is wasted by calling on customers who are not available at the particular time when the sales person calls.

Use the telephone to call customers and prospects for definite appointments. A few minutes on the phone in the afternoon confirming tomorrow's appointments can be the most productive time spent.

The best way to overcome telephone call reluctance is to have all the calls grouped together and make them all at once. That way if someone turns you down for an appointment, is rude to you, or doesn't give you the business this week, you can move right on to the next call before you have a chance to think about it.

Prospecting by phone differs in the objective you have when you are calling on someone in person. You are not trying to sell your company, products, prices, service, quality or anything, for that matter. The only thing you are trying to sell is an appointment and the only purpose is to get some information.

"Hello, this is Jane Smith with (your company) and we are doing some research on how we might better serve the healthcare industry. Would you be kind enough to schedule a 15 minute appointment for me to ask you a few questions"?

Their possible response: We don't need any more suppliers - we have a contract with.....

"The purpose of my visit is not to try to sell you anything, but simply to ask you some questions, what day do you set aside for appointments? Would 2 o'clock work?

Their possible response might be: I am really pretty busy... I don't have time."

"I will not need more than 15 minutes. Would morning or afternoon work out better for you?"

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