I am often asked for the exact words I would use when looking to secure a window of someone’s time to discuss the possibility of working together.
Let’s assume that the circumstances are the fact that they have a challenge or problem that you can help them solve, you simply need a few moments in conversation with them to confirm that they are concerned about the problem you can help them with and interested in how you can help them overcome it.
The sticking point for many is the challenge of knowing Exactly What to Say to create this opportunity. So I figured I could share a precise sequence of words that has worked for me in the past, works for many today and could work for you too.
Appointments with the right kind of people are typically best achieved by engaging in a conversation with the person you are looking to influence. Conversations can be started in person, over the phone and also using written word through technology – the key is to remember that you are looking to start a CONVERSATION.
There is only one thing that starts conversations and that one thing is a QUESTION.
As you enter a conversation with the goal of winning an appointment be sure to keep that goal in mind. You are not looking to sell your product or service at this point – merely the commitment for a longer more purposeful conversation.
Here is an example of a simple script to secure an appointment over the phone.
‘Hi, it’s Phil calling, I’ve stumbled across your details and it seems that we both know (insert a name) and I believe that we might be able to help each other in business – I’ve got a couple of ideas that I’d like to bounce off you and could really do with 10-15 minutes of your time, because I would really value your opinion. If you’re open-minded to seeing how this might be able to work and how we might be able to help each other, I’m free Wednesday, Thursday next week to meet, when suits you best?’
This is a simple framework that works by using some simple principles
- Mention a mutual acquaintance/known entity – Every new contact is looking to jusge you quickly and is looking to establish if they can trust you. They are thinking “show me that you know me” and the mention of someone or something that is familiar to them demonstrates that you have some form of common bond.
- Ask for their opinion – There is one thing that everybody loves to give. That one this is their OPINION so it would make sense to ask for something that people are delighted to part with. It also has an undertone of a compliment. If you are asking for someone’s opinion it highlights a respect you already have for them.
- Ask for an appointment of a certain period of time – Decision makers are typically busy and asking for an appointment without indicating how much of their time you need ism disrespectful to their schedule and reduces your chances of winning the time you need.
- See if they’re open-minded to take action – If you know my work you will have no doubt learned the power of the words “open-minded” – If not then check out my book Exactly What To Say and you will learn why they are so influential.
- Offer one or two dates – Offering just two dates means they will either pick one or they will suggest an alternative
Try using these words (or the principles from them) the next time you’re trying to get in front of somebody. Perhaps pick up the phone, send a note on linked in or engage in a conversation at an event to invite a prospect to spend some time with you.
Use the time to find out if there’s a genuine opportunity, then introduce your product and service to showcase how it can help them overcome their challenges, and only then invite them to make a decision.