While much of the work To Market carries out is with telephone based teams, a growing number of clients with field-based sales teams also want to help their personnel achieve more appointments, more easily and more quickly over the phone.

The easiest trap to fall into is to try and do the selling on the phone. Instead leave that to the face-to-face meeting. After all, that’s the bit you’re good at right?

Tip 1

Bring the conversation to a conclusion at the point when the prospect or customer is clearly engaged in the conversation and asking lots of relevant questions. You can tell when they’re interested. Instinctively. Make the booking of the sales appointment an easy next stage ……… “OK, good question. How about I come along and explain it all in more detail to you next week. I’ll also be able to show you …………..” and so go for the close while the conversation is in full flow.

And no, “can you send me some prices” is not a buying signal. Well it may be, but not necessarily. Confused? What I mean is it’s all about context. If they want prices having just asked you about your products and services and how they’d use them in their application, then wanting to know prices is logical and part of the buying process. I’d suggest that it is a buying signal at that point.

However if “just send me some prices” feels like an attempt to get you off the phone, and they’ve not engaged in any deep and meaningful conversation, then you’re probably right – it is just a fob-off. In these instance you can always attempt to squeeze some extra detail out of them by asking “OK, I can send you details on all sorts of stuff, but to make sure it’s relevant, what products are you most interested in seeing some details on?” That may work. And if it doesn’t – you’ve lost nothing by asking have you?

Tip 2

One of the key differences between appointment setting on the phone and a face-to-face meeting is to do with preparedness. If you go to see someone, you are both by definition prepared for what is about to happen and what you’re there to talk about. This is not the case with a telephone call.

Whoever you call and whatever time you call, the person you’re now speaking to was in the middle of doing something else. So you have to engage them in conversation and win their full attention. The most effective way of doing this I find is to get them to do the talking – NOT the listening. How many sales people ignore this?!

So ask them some questions, get them talking about their environment, their business, their interests. And where you’ve spoken to them before, this should be easy because you can start by using information from your previous call.

Tip 3

I can hardly believe I’m offering you this one – but use the ol’ “I’m in your area next Tuesday.” I strongly dislike this approach on B2C calls when the caller offers you an appointment on a cold call.

So please use it sparingly and hopefully with people you already know reasonably well where the sales process has stalled. Alternatively where you may not have met them, but you have a good rapport with them on the phone. Sometimes I use this to nudge things along a bit. It doesn’t always work, but then again, if you don’t ask, they can’t say ‘yes.’ Something like “I’m on my way down to xx next Wednesday, so I’ll be driving by your door. I wondered. Could I pop in to see you to have a chat about y for an hour or so?”


To Market runs both in-house training and open courses for field based sales teams around the UK. It covers many tips on how to set appointments on the phone for field sales people. There are also many interactive sections where you can all pool your ideas for the benefit of all.

To find out more contact us today on 01858 461148 or by dropping some details into our contact form. 

To Market  runs training across the Midlands including Birmingham, Leicester, Northampton, Coventry, Daventry, Solihull, Lichfield, Derby, Nottingham, Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough, Peterborough, St. Ives, Newmarket, Cambridge, Bury St. Edmunds as well as wider parts of Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.