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Go For The Appointment, Not The Sale - Part 1

Top 8 Tips To Help You Secure More Appointments With Prospects

In our post earlier this year –– Prospecting Calls Are Alive And Well –– we talked about how chambers that focus on outbound prospecting calls are experiencing impressive results. We illustrated how prospecting calls are the most cost-effective way to connect with prospective members and control your recruiting destiny.

Still, membership pros can inadvertently sabotage their chances when they take the wrong approach in prospecting. This may seem counterintuitive, but prospecting isn’t about selling a membership or securing an investment. Why? Because less than 5% of membership sales happen during a prospecting call. In many instances, a sale may not happen for weeks or months, especially if you’re going after a major investor.

The goal of prospecting is to arrange a future call or meeting, not make a sale.

When one of your prospecting calls finally gets through, the primary objective is to establish enough interest to get on your prospect’s calendar.  That’s it. Try it, and you’ll find that going for the appointment is way less stressful and far more productive than trying to make the sale. 

You’ll also discover that prospects are much more receptive when you reconnect, because they agreed to set aside time to learn more about your chamber. And, they are open to having a productive recruiting conversation – where you and your prospect can determine whether your chamber is a good fit.

Small improvements add up to major impact.

Success arranging future calls and meetings is the product of minor factors that make an enormous difference. Read on to learn the first four of Holman Brothers’ Top 8 Tips to Help You Secure More Appointments With Prospects.

1. Know Your Prospect

Basic research is all you need to get familiar with your prospect. We find that the WHO, WHAT and WHY concept works rather nicely. The WHO calls for a general feel for the company and their brand. The WHAT amounts to a basic understanding of the products or services they offer. And the WHY is your educated guess why your chamber may be of service. 

Check out our post – You're Spending Too Much Time On Prospect Research – to learn how LinkedIn Company Pages offer a quick and effortless way for you to uncover insights about prospective members.

2. Did I catch you at an okay time?

Membership pros often feel like they must grab a prospect’s attention and jump into a sales pitch, or immediately start asking questions. However, this screams sales call, and most prospects will tune you out.

We suggest asking, “Did I catch you at an okay time?” Or something of the like. We call this technique our Pleasant Introduction. You may be concerned that prospects will grab the opportunity to end the call. However, the Pleasant Introduction demonstrates that you understand that you just interrupted your prospect and that you respect their time.

You’ll find that many prospects joke about never having time but still choose to have a conversation, and it changes the tone of the call. Don’t worry if your prospect doesn’t have time right now. Calls never go well when prospects are in a rush. Simply say you understand and try to identify a better time to call back.


3. Don’t Sell

We talked about this at the top of the post, but it bears repeating. Avoid overselling your chamber’s resources and services. Your prospects will be much more receptive during a scheduled appointment than they will be on an initial call they weren’t expecting.  

Instead, shift your focus onto your prospects. Create interest with open questions to engage your prospects and gain a better understanding of how your chamber can genuinely meet their needs.

4. Develop Messaging Maps

There is a very small window for you to make a possible connection on prospecting calls, let alone create enough interest to get on your prospect’s calendar.  Clearly not a time to try to wing-it. When you ad-lib, your approach lacks consistency, and your results will suffer.

You must be knowledgeable and equipped with all the information necessary to sell the appointment. Prospecting message maps offer a consistent, proven framework for every call. You naturally develop fluency as you repeat the process and generate the most value from every call.

Prospecting calls can make or break your success as a membership professional. In many ways, they are the most critical part of the recruiting process. They can open doors or shut down opportunities. In our next Insights post, we'll follow up with the remaining four tips to help you secure more appointments with prospects.

If you really want to hone your appointment setting skills, join us for this month's Holman Brothers Virtual Learning event - Prospective Member Appointment Setting Skills: You Have to Sell The Appointment Before You Can Sell The Membership.


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