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4 1/2 Steps for Doubling Your B2B Appointments

Cold calling. Most people hate to do it and there is a cottage industry of people making a profit by selling ideas on how to generate business without cold calling. They're making money because they are using a basic marketing tactic that most of us have forgotten how to use - give your customer what they want! Tell a salesperson that they can get appointments without making cold calls, tell them to buy your book, and you'll make money hand over fist. Why? Because it's a solution that fits what that market wants.

The fact of the matter is that there are many things you can, and should, use to help generate leads. However, business-to-business cold calling will always be an effective basic tactic that will help you get an appointment with your prospect.

Effective appointment setting begins with 4 1/2 simple steps that will help you get back to the basics of giving your prospects what they want.

The steps are so easy and basic that you might have a tendency to be suspicious of them. But if you just follow along you'll be on your way to doubling your sales appointments in record time.

½ Step) Put yourself in the place of your prospect. Think about what it will be like to get a call from you. You know your product/service inside and out and are hopefully excited about and believe in it. Your prospect isn't excited about your product/service and doesn't believe in it yet. You have set aside time in your day to make calls but your prospect hasn't set time aside to take your call. That's why it is very important to make the call all about them. Give them what they want out of a cold call ? hint: the solution to what they worry about at work.

Step 1) Identify your ideal customer and their critical wants and needs. At the very least you should have some generic information about the markets that you serve and the obstacles that they face from industry magazines, trade associations, or industry analysts to help you target your cold call message.

Step 2) Ask the "cold sweat" question. "What is it that wakes your prospects up at 3AM in a cold sweat and in such a troubled state that they would give anything to solve that problem?" If you answer this question within the first 7 seconds of your call, you will be more likely to gain the attention of your prospect and be that much closer to gaining an appointment with them.

Step 3) Create multiple positioning statements that focus on solving your prospect's most difficult problem or achieving their most important goal.

Step 4) Test those positioning statements and determine which one results in better dialogue with your prospect and gets you the appointment.

Here's a very successful sample cold call script that I'm using for my own business based on the 4½ steps:

Good morning Mr/Ms. VP of Sales, this is David from EMDCO here in Chicago. We are the major B2B lead generation firm in the area. Because of our expertise in your industry, we're able to solve the problems of the call reluctant/time constricted sales force by delivering quick, reliable, and affordable lead generation services. The reason I'm calling you today specifically, is to set up an appointment so I can tell you the way in which we've been successful with (name client) companies. How's (day) at (time)?

That's it! I mention that I can solve what most owners, presidents and sales directors worry about. They are always thinking about the revenue numbers they have to hit, they know they have sales people that don't make the calls for various reasons and they know they want a reliable source of leads. I know I'm not wasting my prospects time with a telephone introduction like that.

Using this simple 4½ step process will help you formulate your own quick introduction, allow you to quickly answer any questions they have about you or your product/service and redirect the call back toward getting the appointment.

David Wells is a business development expert, speaker, trainer, consultant and founder of a provider of business-to-business lead creation, data confirmation and integrated marketing solutions.

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