1. Only sell the club tour, not the club itself
When you are on the telephone talking to a potential prospect, it is very easy to become distracted and begin talking about the club, it’s facilities, services and membership fees. This is a great mistake. Selling actual goods and services over the phone is a real skill and requires a very different approach than selling an appointment or club tour. As soon as the prospect begins to ask about the club, or wants some details about membership fees, then you need to turn these into reasons why they should book a club tour/appointment. Simply suggest that you can cover these fully when you get together
2. Make appointments 3-4 days in advance
This will serve three purposes:
- It will create the impression that you are organised, professional and busy!
- There is more likely to be space in the customer’s diary
- It will leave you some time for hot prospects, e.g those that ‘have to see the club immediately!’
It is worth noting here that even with our own Membership Sales teams, we encourage our sales consultants to simply make appointments today or tomorrow. Even with a strong confirmation we find that the longer after 24hrs the appointment is made, the lower the ‘show’ ratio (I will be covering how to deal with ‘No Shows’ in future articles).
3. Don’t answer the customer’s objections on the telephone.
When a prospect gives you and objection, such as they are too busy, the fees are too expensive, they don’t have the time etc. defer them to when you meet fact to face. These objections are very difficult to isolate and outweigh on the telephone and even if you could, the prospect would probably not allow you the time to complete the process satisfactorily. Instead you simply have to acknowledge them and emphasise your reasons for taking them through a club tour.
4. Don’t put things in the post too easily
There are two reasons why people put things in the post:
- because it is easy
- because there is no obligation.
It is an easy way for prospects to get you off the phone. They know from experience that if they ask for us to put something in the post, then most sales people, because they are helpful, friendly and obliging, will of course agree to their request. However, the conversation then comes to a close, their information is put in the post and usually glanced at then put in the bin or delayed.
It is expensive for your company, and it moves you further away from gaining a possible appointment or club tour. The only reasons you ever put anything in the post are:
- to prove you are reliable and keep your word
- to confirm your appointment or build agreement
- to keep in touch with an on-going prospect
- to pre-empt a follow-up call or club tour.
Consider for a moment what may happen if you stopped putting things in the post. What if you have no brochures, leaflets or letters to send out? Would the number of club tours increase or decrease?
5. Follow up every lead.
In the past, some clubs might have been unconcerned if staff didn’t follow-up every single prospect. The chances are, the door was continually swinging open with a new stream of potential members. Over the last few years however, this has changed. Today every sales opportunity, every prospect, every telephone number and every contact is vital.
You need to manage every prospect as if they were your most important. So if you have a bottom drawer full of old leads and enquiries, or a card index system that you haven’t touched for months, then make it your number one priority to get them sorted and actioned.
When Clubs hire Sales Teams, they always find it amazing when sales professionals spend the first 2 weeks following up their previous member and old lead databases. Typically these are over a year old and most clubs don’t even keep leads this long, but as always, with a dedicated focus on prospecting, a professional sales team never fails to drum up good sales business through these old databases.
6. Stay in touch.
One of the simplest and perhaps one of the easiest things that you can do to increase your success rate in gaining new prospects by telephone, is to simply call every prospect regularly. It is not uncommon for people to procrastinate about joining a club – they know they want to, but just keep putting it off. Your encouragement and little ‘nudges’ may be all they need.
Consider for a moment how easy it is, both psychologically and also in terms of managing the conversation, to speak to someone you have spoken to before, not matter how briefly. Not only do you have a reference to talk about when you speak to them, but also the level of resistance may be much lower.
Remember that when you get a ‘no’ on the telephone, it simply means ‘not now, ‘not today’. If you are targeting your market correctly, the prospect will buy at some time, from somebody. If you don’t contact them, then somebody else will!
7. Create your ‘golden hour’.
The actual activity level that you choose will obviously depend on how many club tours or appointments you need and your type of club. However, one of the effective habits of a successful and professional sales person is that they schedule time, usually every day, for prospecting. Make sure you develop a habit and a routine for spending at least one hour every day in an intensive telephoning campaign. Call it your Golden Hour.
In that one hour, it is important that your Golden Hour is uninterrupted and completely focused, as it may mean making as many as 25 – 30 phone calls. This in itself will over time, generate several appointments a day. Do not use a “lack of time” as an excuse – MAKE TIME!
8. Keep good records.
Brief details of your conversations to prospects should be noted. A few key words or a few notes to jog your memory is usually all that is required. It is also important to make a note of when you have called people and why they have not been available. This will allow you to judge the time to call them on the next occasion.
9. Get a tracking system that works for you.
One of the things that increases call reluctance, or the fear and resistance to making telephone cold calls, is a lack of organisation. By not having clear lists of people to telephone and by not having enough people to telephone, we actually allow ourselves to avoid the activity.
- make sure that you do follow up every lead.
- ensure that you give yourself no excuses not to make the calls
10. Be Persistent.
Persistence works when nothing else does. When prospecting, you will need to be persistent, professional and patient. There are no quick fixes, there are no easy answers, there are simply more effective ways and less effective ways, and both take a good degree of persistence.
By simply making the right number of calls on a consistent basis, regardless of your current skill level, you will be successful in making appointments and developing enquiries into new members. The statistics work for you as well as against you, for example:
At least you have secured 35 second visits more than you would have if you hadn’t been this persistent!
“We are what we repeatedly do… excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
If you would like more information on how to get the best from your membership sales give us a call [http://www.synergy-training.com/contact.php], you’ll be very surprised how little it costs to make a huge difference.
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