These were the first words I heard when I answered the phone in the middle of a training workshop. Normally I wouldn’t answer a phone during a workshop, but we were in a hotel boardroom, and the call came through on the hotel phone, so I answered it. There was a very excited voice on the other end.
“Derrick! I know you’re in a seminar, and I’m sorry to interrupt but I just had to call you so that you could tell the group what happened. Can you talk now?”
Two weeks prior to this, I had conducted a sales training workshop with a group of salespeople. The workshop I was conducting on the day I received the call was with a second group of salespeople from the same company. It was mid-morning of the second day of the workshop when the call came through.
I was intrigued, and so I asked the group to excuse me while I took the call.
“Go ahead – what’s up?”
“Well – you remember we talked about how to approach prospects, and then you told us about sending an agenda for our sales meetings?”
“Sure I do – in fact we discussed that yesterday with this group.”
“Well – guess what – it works! I’ve been trying to get a meeting with the Purchasing Manager with ABC Company for over two years. He turned me down every time I tried. So he was the guy I targeted when we were practicing the initial call and the agenda technique. You know what?” he asked.
“He gave me the appointment and I just got back from the meeting.”
“Well – I used the phone call approach we’d practiced during your workshop, and he gave me an appointment to meet him. Then I sent him an agenda for the meeting just as you had taught us. He’s asked me to quote on a $100,000 bid and I was so excited I had to call you so you can tell the class that your stuff works!”
“Wow- that’s fantastic.” I replied as he paused for a breath!
“Yeah – not only that, but I asked him at the end of the meeting why he had agreed to see me after all this time. He told me he was waiting for me to approach him as a professional so he knew it wouldn’t be a waste of his time. He told me I had finally acted like a professional, so he decided to see me. Now I have a good chance at a $100,000 order! You have to tell the class what happened so they’ll pay attention and try this!”
We hung up and I relayed what had happened to the class. Talk about getting a real time endorsement for what you’re teaching!
There are several morals to this story:
1. Never give up – persistence pays.
2. Communicate the value in meeting with you when you approach new prospects for an appointment.
3. Send an agenda prior to your meeting that states what you and the prospect will accomplish during the meeting (whether it be face-to-face or a phone meeting). You can either send this as a separate e-mail, or include it in the body of your meeting notice to the prospect.
By the way, this salesperson called me a month later to say that he had been awarded the order.
Try it – it works!