March 2010

When sending new business introduction letters that request an appointment (phone or in person) you might consider accompanying the letter with a fax back reply form. Faxing is easy for them and immediate for all concerned.   I find faxing a little refreshing with all the glitzy technology methods that everyone’s using these days.


by Sheryl Tuttle

The C-Suite Executive has a mound of papers on his desk, numerous incoming messages, important meetings to attend, reports to review, emails to send, and presentations to prepare. Besieged with cold-calls and pitches via email and direct mail, he has taken your call. You have about 30-seconds to make that busy executive want to talk to you, and only a few minutes to convert the curious into an appointment.

But how?

Much of what goes into a successful prospect call relates to the art of storytelling. Telling stories is a talent that requires knowledge of the subject matter, interest in the audience, and sincerity at its core.  Here’s five easy ways you can improve your prospect call results right now.

A good opening

It’s not enough to provide your name, company, and a brief description. Your prospect gets several of those calls a day. Your call needs to be different and to stand out.

The easiest and best way to do this is with a little research beforehand. Anything you know about the company can help. Visit their website and their blog if they have one. Check the news and press releases. Tailor your opening statement to include a value proposition that focuses on what they need. They don’t want to know how great you are, but rather how you can help them solve a problem.

Stay true to the plot

Keep focused on the purpose of your call and do not go on and on. Remember you are speaking with a very busy executive. Stay to the point and keep it short and simple.

Deliver with feeling

Don’t read a script or make your call sound rehearsed. Be natural and relaxed, and fluctuate your tone to add emphasis where appropriate. Using variations in pitch and volume adds personality and passion, often eliciting a more enthusiastic response.

Engage with your audience

A good storyteller will “read” their audience, listening and changing direction if needed. Engaging in a successful dialog requires good listening skills too. Make sure your prospect is part of the conversation. Ask questions, then listen. Pause and wait for the response, then ask clarifying questions if needed.

A satisfying ending

Don’t make the prospect guess what you want. Your ending should be clear. If you are calling for an appointment to meet with the prospect, then ask for the appointment.

Challenge 4 U: Make your next prospect call with the zest of a master storyteller. Does your call outcome differ?