I first read this book back in early 2000 when I was a phone jockey at Standard Register Co. (SRC). I was employed in the division of SRC that service printers.  It was our job to sell service contracts on printers, telephonically.  The typical annual quota was about $1 Million per agent. 

This book provided the team with great methods for improving follow-up and response rates. Furthermore, it gave a clear roadmap for understanding our sales funnel.  Stephan’s APS (Appointments – Prospects – Sales) approach to cold calling was an easy way to determine actually hourly targets.  We knew from our metrics that we had around a 5% close rate based on call volume. As a result of the APS method, we knew we needed to make about 65 calls per day (or 8/hr) to hit our targets. Of course, we were using appointments to mean phone calls where you reached a human. Luckily, in the year 2000, people were much more likely to answer their phone than now. I’m guessing today’s metric would be more around 24 calls per hour.

Beyond providing an easy to understand goal system that kept our sales funnel full, the book also helped us increase our close rate to 10%. Granted, because we weren’t actually visiting customer sites, we augmented some of the scripts.  Regardless, the premise is similar.  The scripts helped us close more deals.

Now, that was 18 years ago. I am receiving the cold calls these days. Stephan’s techniques are still being used.  They are that effective. Even so, knowing the techniques allows me to cut through the fluff with sales folks. It also allows me to only answer probing questions that I want. Most people, by nature, want to be helpful. Sales agents use this to their advantage and so do the scripts in this book.

Additionally, using this book as a gold standard for initial contact, I can quickly rate the quality of the person calling me. Things that are red flags are meandering messages, mumbling, not getting to the point, sounding tired. Good items are hearing the smile, having your pitch down, and knowing what I/my employer does.

This book could also be used as a guideline for how to leave good voicemails. The introduction script would be a good one to use. I, personally, use the following formula for voicemail. Name, Title, Phone Number, reason for call, Action Request, Name, Phone Number.  Sound happy. and leave the number slowly enough for it to be written down or typed. My biggest pet peeve is having to play a message 15 times to catch the phone number or name.   You’ll have an easier time winning my call back with a good voicemail.

Happy Calling!  May the sales funnel always be in your favor.

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