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Securing Appointments by Charm (and a Lot of Preparation)

As someone who prefers to sit at the back and communicate by written word, this workshop was slightly out of my comfort zone. What I soon realised was that everyone else attending this telephone appointments workshop would be in the same boat – it’s those who are less confident with these kind of things that turn up to these workshops. My nerves were calmed slightly by realising that everyone else’s nerves were just as bad.


The need for this kind of workshop – if you’re wondering why people need to be trained to pick up the phone and call someone, is for companies that use appointment making to expand their customer bases.


Our tutor for the day was the engaging and passionate Julie Biddle. It was clear from the get-go that this would be an interactive and participative session, because that’s the best way to learn right?


Julie implored us to keep our minds like parachutes – open. She set the objectives for the day and got the participants to introduce themselves so that everyone got to know one another and felt more comfortable talking.


We went over the A.I.D.A principle; awareness, interest, desire and action, all the ingredients necessary for a successful phone call. Then Julie explained the need for preparation, it turns out that you don’t just pick up the phone and call someone – there is work that goes into it beforehand too.


Through Julie’s friendly and informative explanations, we covered everything from getting past the “gatekeeper”, having a hook, having a desirable element and link phrases. One thing’s for sure – there are a lot of acronyms involved in learning these techniques.


All these elements were put together in a plan that one would need to follow when making such a call to get all the key parts in there. It went a little something like this:


  1. Introduce yourself and your company
  2. Confirm you are speaking to the decision maker
  3. Use you pre-prepared hook
  4. Talk through the desirable elements
  5. Use a link phrase
  6. Suggest appointment times
  7. Confirm the appointment
  8. Email through the confirmation


Using this we created our own script of how we would conduct such a call. It was surprisingly longer and more detailed than I would have imagined.


Then we had to do a role-play and actually make the calls, yep as you can imagine I was looking for the doors to make a swift exit. We were put into twos and given a number through which we could call one another and the conversation would be recorded… for us to listen back to collectively. *Cue horror music*


Making Telephone Appointments

Telephone Appointments


To do this we split into two rooms and did the role-play twice, once as the customer and once as the sales person. Thankfully we had a super friendly group which made it less daunting and a lot more enjoyable. I found that through talking through the script you learn better what works and what doesn’t.


We then all reconvened and listened to all the calls together giving both praises and our opinions on each one. Julie gave incredibly useful tips that suited each of us and our way of talking. I was impressed with the calls that my teammates had made, the structure we were given to follow made an obvious impact in the effectiveness and professionalism of these calls.


As you can imagine mine was not on the same level.


As awkward as it is to listen to your own voice out loud, I fully appreciated that it was only by doing this that you get an idea of how you sound and what needs building on. Although this isn’t a skill I use on a daily basis. It was really fun and important to learn, a lot of the skills taught are transferable and it was worth it, even if only to help build confidence.


This workshop is in conjunction with IPIA (The Independent Print Industries Association) and part of a set of four workshops taught by Julie Biddle. For more information in the upcoming workshops, check out the Antalis Academy’s website.

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Time’s a Ticking - 20 July 2018
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