Making the appointment and follow up call

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Mar 30, 2007 8:58 pm

I was hoping that if there is anyone here who can share their process of following up with a prospect on the 2nd call and how you try to seal an appointment.

From my early experience, I have usually been able to schedule appointments after maybe 3-5 follow up contacts on the phone. Something in the neighborhood of

"Mrs. Jones, you know what... we've been talking a lot the last month or so and I looked at my schedule and it looks like I will have an appointment with several of my clients this coming week on thurs and friday in ___ (city) Since Im in your neck of the woods, I was hoping that I could swing by real quickly and personally introduce myself. Would you be free after 2pm?"

So how do you guys usually initiate the process of setting up a meeting?  I know that some advisors only cold call not on a product, but rather call on trying to get face to face appointments.  Im curious how your pitch is if anyone could share it. 


Furthermore, I think my 2nd/3rd follow up calls have been pretty bad if I haven't established rappor with people. I usually call by saying something like,


"Mrs. Jones, this is Mike with ABC investments. We spoke before and Im giving you a call back because I got something special to show you.  We just brought in ___ (product)."  I basically repitch them and go into a fact finding mission.


Does someone have a different approach that has worked for them for a long time?  Can anyone here demonstrate what they usually do on follow up calls? Dialogue would help. Thanks!

Mar 30, 2007 9:57 pm

Sounds needy.



Try:



"Look Mr. Prospect, I don't want to waste your time or mine. So level with

me; is your current advisor doing all that he can to help you? If so, I won't

bother you any more. If not, let's get together Tuesday afternoon and look

over your statements and tax filings."



At this point, it's time to stop dancing. There are only two acceptable

answers, and they are both equally acceptable: Yes and No. If you haven't

piqued their interest by this point, you're not going to.

Mar 30, 2007 10:57 pm

I'd love to help you with follow up calls, but I don't do them. They are for people who can't close.


Ask for an appointment the first time you speak to them. At the first appointment, set the ground rules. Let them know that after you present a solution, you expect them to make a decision. Yes or no. If they can't agree to that, send them on their way. You can't help indecisive people. Tell them that by the time to make a decision they should have already thought over whether or not they are going to move with you. Basically, you're telling them to "think it over" in advance rather than afterwards.

Mar 31, 2007 2:20 am
tsaem:

I was hoping that if
there is anyone here who can share their process of following up with a
prospect on the 2nd call and how you try to seal an appointment.





You need to get some of Steve Schiffman's books. Basicly what I do is
say that their situations sounds interesting, and that I prefer to do
business in persons over the phone/It would be a good idea for us to
meet. Then I ask them if that makes sense, and then you propose a
meeting.



This is very simple and natural. Nobody does professional business over the phone. So you want to get the relationship off the phonelines as quickly as feasable.


Apr 20, 2007 9:35 am
Bobby Hull:

I'd love to help you with follow up calls, but I don't do them. They are for people who can't close.


Ask for an appointment the first time you speak to them. At the first appointment, set the ground rules. Let them know that after you present a solution, you expect them to make a decision. Yes or no. If they can't agree to that, send them on their way. You can't help indecisive people. Tell them that by the time to make a decision they should have already thought over whether or not they are going to move with you. Basically, you're telling them to "think it over" in advance rather than afterwards.



Good Post!

Apr 20, 2007 10:28 am
AllREIT:

  


This is very simple and natural. Nobody does professional business over the phone. So you want to get the relationship off the phonelines as quickly as feasable.


I don't find this to be true. I do professional business over the phone. Is it good to meet with prospects and clients? Absolutely and without a doubt. Is it better to meet with prospects and clients than to conduct business exclusively over the phone? Point me to the definative study.


That it is better to meet in person was put out there eons ago by Independant financial planners who couldn't compete against the polished wirehouse sales forces who were eatting their lunch via the phone. With the advent of managed money/fee biz taking a lead position in the wirehouse product inventory the meet in person thing has taken on a life of its own as part of the "consulting process."  It's now accepted as gospel. Yet is unproven.



Apr 20, 2007 10:31 am
BondGuy:
AllREIT:

  


This is very simple and natural. Nobody does professional business over the phone. So you want to get the relationship off the phonelines as quickly as feasable.


I don't find this to be true. I do professional business over the phone. Is it good to meet with prospects and clients? Absolutely and without a doubt. Is it better to meet with prospects and clients than to conduct business exclusively over the phone? Point me to the definative study.


That it is better to meet in person was put out there eons ago by Independant financial planners who couldn't compete against the polished wirehouse sales forces who were eatting their lunch via the phone. With the advent of managed money/fee biz taking a lead position in the wirehouse product inventory the meet in person thing has taken on a life of its own as part of the "consulting process."  It's now accepted as gospel. Yet is unproven.



No doubt it is good to meet clients in person as time and proximity permits.  But it is incorrect to state that one cannot conduct professional business over the phone.  I have people from out of state who were referred to me and I've never met, yet I've done business with them for over a decade.  It's a large enough number that the "exception to the rule" argument doesn't fly with me.

Apr 20, 2007 2:51 pm

Allreit,


I can't decide if you know what you're doing or not.  Would you mind giving us a little background?  You go from sounding pretty intelligent on some matters to making obviously wrong blanket statements as in the above.  Help me out a little here...how long have you been an investment advisor?  What did you do for a living before you got into the field of investment management?  What's your AUM?  What credentials/degrees do you carry?


To be honest, you sound like an academic that has pretty good theoretical knowledge about the field of investments, but much less in the way of practical knowledge of how to work with clients (that comes with experience in this business).  I don't mean to be critical, as sometimes, I find your posts pretty informative...other times, not so much.  I'm just trying to figure out how to categorize you...

Apr 20, 2007 3:21 pm

I was hoping that if there is anyone here who can share their process of following up with a prospect on the 2nd call and how you try to seal an appointment.


There is no second call.  The purpose of my call is to set an appointment.   I either get the appointment or I don't.  If I don't get the appointment, I ask for permission to keep in touch.  If they say "no", their info goes in the trash.  If they say, "yes", I ask if I can e-mail them information.  Depending on that answer, they either get dripped on or not, and they then get called again in 6 months unless a specific time was mentioned to call them.

Apr 20, 2007 3:57 pm
Starka:

Sounds needy.

Try:

"Look Mr. Prospect, I don't want to waste your time or mine. So level with
me; is your current advisor doing all that he can to help you? If so, I won't
bother you any more. If not, let's get together Tuesday afternoon and look
over your statements and tax filings."

At this point, it's time to stop dancing. There are only two acceptable
answers, and they are both equally acceptable: Yes and No. If you haven't
piqued their interest by this point, you're not going to.


Starka's answer is more of my style.


However, Are you wiped out, hung over, or just trying to meet rent?  You may sound needy like Starka said. If you want to the phone to be your friend you had better sound fresh every call. Confidence oozes through the phone, just like Bobby's confidence oozes through this board.

Apr 20, 2007 4:24 pm

"Confidence oozes through the phone, just like Bobby's confidence oozes through this board."


That comment is dead on. Its amazing how a good day or week on the phone shows... Today, for example I am having a great calling day. I had an appt reschedule for Monday so I have been banging some targeted calls (fresh leads, a few qualified call backs to prospects, some suspects, etc).


29 calls, 7 contacts, 3 appts (a $3MM opportunity, a 1.8MM and a 350K). The first and last were appts that I expected to get, the 1.8MM was made out of confidence and a "F-it. Who cares how it turns out" mentality. I have been chasing them for 14 months and I finally called them on it. They conceded that they are interested and have been dragging their feet. Set the meeting for TUE afternoon of next week.


Point is- some days when I am getting trashed, it can be a drag. But on the days when things are going well- dig through some old leads and start dialing (and NEVER throw out a qualified lead card- thats amateur hour...)

Apr 20, 2007 10:12 pm
BondGuy:
AllREIT:

  


This is very simple and natural. Nobody does professional business over the phone. So you want to get the relationship off the phonelines as quickly as feasable.


I don't find this to be true. I do professional business over the
phone. Is it good to meet with prospects and clients? Absolutely and
without a doubt. Is it better to meet with prospects and clients than
to conduct business exclusively over the phone? Point me to the
definative study.





My point is that for most people, they don't conduct serious money over the phone, at least not at first. Somewhere in Kansas there is a lonely housewife ,with $100,000, waiting by the phone for a handsome broker to call with muni bonds.



If you make phone work the core of your business, then you will have a
skewed view of things since people who aren't comfortable over the
phone won't work with you. Personally, I think its weird to do business
with someone I have never met in person. It could be a cultural thing.



My view could be equally skewed, since when I'm on the phone, I try to
close on a personal meeting. Thus the phone-positive people get shunted
into at least an initial personal meeting. Maybe I could skip that with
some clients, I don't know.

Apr 20, 2007 11:23 pm
AllREIT:
BondGuy:
AllREIT:

  


This is very simple and natural. Nobody does professional business over the phone. So you want to get the relationship off the phonelines as quickly as feasable.


I don't find this to be true. I do professional business over the phone. Is it good to meet with prospects and clients? Absolutely and without a doubt. Is it better to meet with prospects and clients than to conduct business exclusively over the phone? Point me to the definative study.




My point is that for most people, they don't conduct serious money over the phone, at least not at first. Somewhere in Kansas there is a lonely housewife ,with $100,000, waiting by the phone for a handsome broker to call with muni bonds.

If you make phone work the core of your business, then you will have a skewed view of things since people who aren't comfortable over the phone won't work with you. Personally, I think its weird to do business with someone I have never met in person. It could be a cultural thing.

My view could be equally skewed, since when I'm on the phone, I try to close on a personal meeting. Thus the phone-positive people get shunted into at least an initial personal meeting. Maybe I could skip that with some clients, I don't know.


Allreit, honestly, I'm not trying to show disrespect, but your point shows that you don't know what you're talking about. Why would you say that most people don't conduct serious business over the phone when you don't know that to be a fact? I for one will tell you that you are way off base. So would the entire firm of Bear Sterns. If you want a more accurate example of a typical phone client than your loney housewife, try a Fortune 500 CEO forks over a million plus on first call. OR NBA team owner buys 1/2 million dollar blocks of bonds over phone, doesn't want to ever meet the advisor, "Just call me when you have something that fits." And then there are the business owners who build multimillion dollar accounts one 50k idea at a time. Nothing against lonely housewives. If they've got 100k to invest I'll gladly make that call, but that's not how it's done.


You've projected your feeling weird doing biz over the phone.


Again, meeting is always good, just not necessarily better, and definately not the only way it gets done.

Apr 21, 2007 2:24 am
BondGuy:
AllREIT:
BondGuy:

[quote=AllREIT]  


This is very simple and natural. Nobody does professional business over the phone. So you want to get the relationship off the phonelines as quickly as feasable.

[/quote]


I don't find this to be true. I do professional business over the
phone. Is it good to meet with prospects and clients? Absolutely and
without a doubt. Is it better to meet with prospects and clients than
to conduct business exclusively over the phone? Point me to the
definative study.



My point is that for most people, they don't conduct serious money over the phone, at least not at first. Somewhere in Kansas there is a lonely housewife ,with $100,000, waiting by the phone for a handsome broker to call with muni bonds.

If
you make phone work the core of your business, then you will have a
skewed view of things since people who aren't comfortable over the
phone won't work with you. Personally, I think its weird to do business
with someone I have never met in person. It could be a cultural thing.

My
view could be equally skewed, since when I'm on the phone, I try to
close on a personal meeting. Thus the phone-positive people get shunted
into at least an initial personal meeting. Maybe I could skip that with
some clients, I don't know.


Allreit, honestly, I'm not trying to show disrespect, but your point
shows that you don't know what you're talking about. Why would you say
that most people don't conduct serious business over the phone when you
don't know that to be a fact? I for one will tell you that you are way
off base. So would the entire firm of Bear Sterns. If you want
a more accurate example of a typical phone client than your
loney housewife, try a Fortune 500 CEO forks over a million plus on
first call. OR NBA team owner buys 1/2 million dollar blocks of bonds
over phone, doesn't want to ever meet the advisor, "Just call me when
you have something that fits." And then there are the business owners
who build multimillion dollar accounts one 50k idea at a
time. Nothing against lonely housewives. If they've got 100k to
invest I'll gladly make that call, but that's not how it's done.


You've projected your feeling weird doing biz over the phone.


Again, meeting is always good, just not necessarily better, and definately not the only way it gets done.





Bondguy, your probably right. I don't like doing business over the phone.



IMHO that's not how most people operate when dealing with money that they've taken a long time to build up. I find that alot of this business is hand holding.
Sure I could be sold some bonds over the phone, but your typical person
with money wants to establish some rapport. If fact I would venture
that most people with money don't feel confident enough to buy bonds
etc over the phone.



I'd guesstimate that the ratio is 20:1 in favor of personal meetings
over the phone. However selective observation bias works both ways. If
you got your start in the old pre-DNC cold calling days, then you got a
alot of re-enforcement for cold calling and selling large amounts of
stuff over the phone. IMHO most folks don't respond/work that way.



So, my take is that the goal of a sucessful call is to gain a
continuation into a face-to-face meeting. I don't think I'm too off
base in thinking this, as a number of prominent sales trainers agree
with me (or is it that I agree with them ).



And also a difference in target market/geography etc could be
responsible for our different experiences. This is a very diverse
business.


Apr 21, 2007 8:26 am

There is a REAL FAT JUICY segment of the market in the 50-65 year old
exec/business owner.  I have found these people all about
efficiency, decisions quickly, and results...period.  Fee's are
way down on the list.  They do not want "hand holding", they do
not want tons of "face time", and they certainly do not want to waste
any time.  They are dealing with children in college, getting to
know there spouses again, running a business or division, taking care
of elder parents, and trying to obtain some life balance.  
Your need to take there time to fit your preferred business model is of
no importance to them.



I have found face time initially to close is needed, but only during
this initial  sales call, typically 45 minutes.  After that
is mostly phone and electronic communication for maintainance and new
business.  They live on blackberry's, email, wire transfers, and
phone calls if needed (but not preferred). 



These are not mom and pop retree's, but they are all large 1mil plus
clients and they are not that hard to handle.  They just need to
see the solution that is not fluff.  I took me 15 years to figure
this out.

Apr 21, 2007 3:55 pm
rightway:

There is a REAL FAT JUICY segment of the market in the 50-65 year old
exec/business owner.  I have found these people all about
efficiency, decisions quickly, and results...period.  Fee's are
way down on the list.  They do not want "hand holding", they do
not want tons of "face time", and they certainly do not want to waste
any time.  They are dealing with children in college, getting to
know there spouses again, running a business or division, taking care
of elder parents, and trying to obtain some life balance.  
Your need to take there time to fit your preferred business model is of
no importance to them.



I have found face time initially to close is needed, but only during
this initial  sales call, typically 45 minutes.  After that
is mostly phone and electronic communication for maintainance and new
business.  They live on blackberry's, email, wire transfers, and
phone calls if needed (but not preferred). 



These are not mom and pop retree's, but they are all large 1mil plus
clients and they are not that hard to handle.  They just need to
see the solution that is not fluff.  I took me 15 years to figure
this out.



Thanks for the insight rightway.  I'm transitioning into a growth mode, and that sounds exactly like the type of target market I'm shooting for....

Apr 22, 2007 12:50 am
AllREIT:
BondGuy:
AllREIT:
BondGuy:
AllREIT:

  


This is very simple and natural. Nobody does professional business over the phone. So you want to get the relationship off the phonelines as quickly as feasable.


I don't find this to be true. I do professional business over the phone. Is it good to meet with prospects and clients? Absolutely and without a doubt. Is it better to meet with prospects and clients than to conduct business exclusively over the phone? Point me to the definative study.




My point is that for most people, they don't conduct serious money over the phone, at least not at first. Somewhere in Kansas there is a lonely housewife ,with $100,000, waiting by the phone for a handsome broker to call with muni bonds.

If you make phone work the core of your business, then you will have a skewed view of things since people who aren't comfortable over the phone won't work with you. Personally, I think its weird to do business with someone I have never met in person. It could be a cultural thing.

My view could be equally skewed, since when I'm on the phone, I try to close on a personal meeting. Thus the phone-positive people get shunted into at least an initial personal meeting. Maybe I could skip that with some clients, I don't know.


Allreit, honestly, I'm not trying to show disrespect, but your point shows that you don't know what you're talking about. Why would you say that most people don't conduct serious business over the phone when you don't know that to be a fact? I for one will tell you that you are way off base. So would the entire firm of Bear Sterns. If you want a more accurate example of a typical phone client than your loney housewife, try a Fortune 500 CEO forks over a million plus on first call. OR NBA team owner buys 1/2 million dollar blocks of bonds over phone, doesn't want to ever meet the advisor, "Just call me when you have something that fits." And then there are the business owners who build multimillion dollar accounts one 50k idea at a time. Nothing against lonely housewives. If they've got 100k to invest I'll gladly make that call, but that's not how it's done.


You've projected your feeling weird doing biz over the phone.


Again, meeting is always good, just not necessarily better, and definately not the only way it gets done.




Bondguy, your probably right. I don't like doing business over the phone.

IMHO that's not how most people operate when dealing with money that they've taken a long time to build up. I find that alot of this business is hand holding. Sure I could be sold some bonds over the phone, but your typical person with money wants to establish some rapport. If fact I would venture that most people with money don't feel confident enough to buy bonds etc over the phone.

I'd guesstimate that the ratio is 20:1 in favor of personal meetings over the phone. However selective observation bias works both ways. If you got your start in the old pre-DNC cold calling days, then you got a alot of re-enforcement for cold calling and selling large amounts of stuff over the phone. IMHO most folks don't respond/work that way.

So, my take is that the goal of a sucessful call is to gain a continuation into a face-to-face meeting. I don't think I'm too off base in thinking this, as a number of prominent sales trainers agree with me (or is it that I agree with them ).

And also a difference in target market/geography etc could be responsible for our different experiences. This is a very diverse business.


The goal of every call is to move the prospect/client forward toward a buying decision. On this we agree. As for the rest, as you said, guesstimate and opinion. Unfortunately both wrong. Still, you are entitled to them.


As for sales trainers, you're kidding right? You are aware that they know nothing?


rightway has an acurate take on how business gets done over the phone. That's a good post.



Apr 22, 2007 4:26 am
BondGuy:

rightway has an acurate take on how business gets done over the phone. That's a good post.


It's correct about a subset of people who respond well to doing business over the phone. Maybe that's a good target market, since it is easy to service/sell.


My experience is that many
and perhaps most people with money are not like that. If my experience
is wrong, so be it. But I'll keep it because it is mine.


If your main method of prospecting is cold calling, then your book
will be skewed towards phone positive people. If your main method is
networking or seminars, it may be skewed towards phone positive people but will probably not be.


Sep 22, 2011 2:31 am

Follow up is very important in marketing and sales. On follow up calls we can get more and more business. By follow up you are awaken your clients or customer to buy products from you and only you. So after appointment follow up calls are necessary.