Author:Stephan Schiffman
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: epub, ebook
Publisher: F+W Publications, Inc.
Published: 1987-04-28T16:00:00+00:00


The Ledge

The concept of the Ledge in a cold call is unique to my company. As the name suggests, the Ledge is something you can step on — something you can use to regain your footing. A Ledge allows you to handle an extended conversation during your call. It doesn't limit your conversation. You use the Ledge to support your conversation as you're uncovering what it is that they do, how they do it, when they do it, where they do it, who they do it with, and why they do it that way. Then the Ledge lets you take that information and you turn it around to say, “You know something? That's why we shouldget together.”

Welcome to the Ledge

A Ledge uses the first question or negative response as a foothold to turn an extended phone-prospecting conversation around.

Probably every salesperson in the United States has had an occasion to over-talk, to get so involved in a conversation that he or she forgets the reason for the call. Remember: The number one reason you're calling is to set the appointment. But it's easy to get involved in everything butan appointment discussion. Let me give you an example of how that happens.

When I make a cold call, I sometimes hear the prospect say, “Really? I might be interested in that. Tell me about it now.”

These are truly terrible words, because you don't know enough to make any meaningful recommendation, and you can't simply refuse the prospect's request. You can't say, “No, it's a secret. I won't tell you about what we do.” (I guess you could, but it probably wouldn't help you move the sales process forward.) So you can't really say no. And yet your aim is not to sell, but to set an appointment. So you have to prepare.

Ask yourself: What are you going to say when somebody you've never sat down with says to you, “Tell me about it right now. Tell me everything about your widgets. Go.”

What are you going to do? Well, first, you're going to answer the prospect. That's your instinct, and that's fine. But that can't be allyou do. Why? Consider the following exchange.

Prospect:How long has your company been in business?

You:We've been in business for the last 17 years.

Prospect:No kidding! Well, tell me how you did that.

(So you elaborate on that. You pass along a couple of success stories. Then your contact says:)

Prospect:That's an impressive story. Tell me how you did that.

(Now you elaborate. You offer all the specifics about that success story. And all of a sudden the person says:)

Prospect:Oh, well, that may have worked then, but we don't really need that.

And the conversation is over, because the person you're talking to is right. You started talking before you knew anything of consequence about the other person. The result? What you've just described doesn't match up with this prospect. How do you avoid this outcome?

Here's an example of a prospecting call I made recently that will prepare you to use and understand the Ledge.

Steve:Good morning, Mr.


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