// January 18th, 2011 // 2 Comments » // building relationships
I wanted to kick off the “Qualifying on the Phone” Series by sharing a one of my earliest experiences working the phones. The post below should illustrate common misconceptions, and the result of scheduling appointments properly. Whether or not you been successful scheduling appointments over the phone, this post should provide some useful information.
When I was going through my initial sales training in the insurance field, I was given the telephone schedule that was used by all the top producers. Our success was dependent on the appointments that we set for ourselves. On my first day of training, I was handed a script and given a spot to sit in. I decided to listen for a bit so I could get the juices flowing. But I noticed that everyone was loud and no one was given the “right of way” to make a call. I could already tell this style was not for me. I heard what other sellers were saying to their prospects:
“Let me explain the plan.”
“You will need to give me a check.”
“If everything looks good we will be writing an application.”
“When was the last time you were hospitalized and for what?”
“What medications do you take?”
I certainly wouldn’t give that kind of personal information to someone I didn’t know; yet, I was told that we needed to acquire this information on the phone before the appointment. I was also told that I shouldn’t go on an appointment unless I was going to be picking up a check—plain and simple.
“Why waste your time? What if the person doesn’t qualify?” my trainer asked me. And my favorite statement from the trainer: “Don’t be such a girl by trying to make friends with everyone.”
Something Doesn’t Add Up…
My schedule went something like this:
Morning meeting- 8:00am-10:00am
Phones- 10:30am to 9:00pm.
If I scheduled enough appointments on Monday, I didn’t come back to make calls on Tuesday. If I didn’t reach my quota, Tuesday was a shorter day of calls. I was (and am) a woman who thrives on building relationships—and sitting in a call center for days, making call after call, hardly qualifies as building a relationship. Being face-to-face with someone and listening to them is what I do best. I was determined to figure out a way to make that happen. I lasted on Monday until about 1:00pm.
The idea of being on the phone for so many hours just didn’t make sense to me. So, I told my sales leader that I needed a quieter environment and that I would have the 20 appointments per week that were required—just not from the office. I was excused, but told that if I didn’t have the 20 appointments I would either be back in the office calling or I would be out of the job. After that, I never showed up at the office with less than 20 appointments.
I also didn’t qualify anyone over the phone, yet was in front of more people and wrote more business by building relationships and receiving referrals from clients I went to see in person. I had discovered that my system worked—but my sales leader didn’t think the system could be duplicated by others. I was fighting an uphill battle with no support.
As a sales professional, how would you handle this situation? In the next post in the ““Qualifying on the Phone” series I will share how I decided to handle this battle, and what the results of my decision were.