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1 incredible way to increase conversion rates by over 35%

The two options, three questions technique!

Listen carefully, I shall only say this once...well, twice..., well, three times...
This post is for anyone who has more than a "one call" sales process. For those lucky few, have a good day, and be on your way!
In one of my first sales jobs, at around 11:30 one weary Tuesday morning I called the 4th of 5 appointments I had set for that day. I had already figured out how I was going to spend my commission, how I was going to walk proudly up to the sales board and put myself back to the top of the list. Yet as the ringing continued past the 15 second mark it became very apparent to me that this was yet another "no answer".
Frustrated I got up, walked away from my desk and began to mope. Up popped Mr Sales Trainer extraordinaire, the most infectious, motivated, geekiest boss I have ever had. He asked what was wrong (he obviously already new), took me back to my desk and proceeded to make a standard first sales call. First came the attention of the client, his interest, his desire and then.. he stumbled. He got nervous, and wanted some time to think. My boss tried to uncover any issues he had and reluctantly offered a call back. 
At this point I got a punch in the arm for daydreaming, and it was motioned to me to pick up a pen. The dialogue went like this:
Manager: So John, I'll send the documentation over and give you a call back next week. What's better, Monday or Tuesday?
Client: I'm free either day
Manager: Ok John, but which works better for you?
Client: Well, Monday is best, I'm headed to the bank on Tuesday
Manager: Ok great, Morning or Afternoon?
Client: Afternoon, Monday mornings are always a bit busy for me
Manager: Monday afternoon, ok, I have an appointment at 2, but we can do 3, or 5 o'clock, which do you prefer?
Client: erm.. 5, I've got a weekly meeting at 4 so that should fit perfectly. 
Manager: Thanks John, once again, my name is Jake, I'll call you next Monday at 5 o'clock and we will come to a decision, have a good evening.
And guess what..yes, the guy picked up the phone at 5 o'clock the next Monday (he didn't buy though, you can't win them all, even when you are the boss).
As with anything I have ever learned from any type of sales training, I believe the proof is in the pudding, so I A/B tested it. For my next 30 appointments I did it my way, just asking them straight out when i should call back, and I had a conversion rate of about 20%. The next 30 I did the way my manager had, and roughly 60% of the appointments were kept. Not only were they kept, but the clients knew exactly why I was calling, and were prepared to make a decision.
But WHY???
The power of commitment.
Robert Cialdini (author of one of my favourite ever business books, more to come about that) stated that people strive for consistency in their agreements. However, this statement simply supports the claim that if a client says he will make an appointment, he will. 
This is where our technique goes a little deeper. As anyone who sold B2C throughout the 90's and 00's will testify, getting someone to sign a cheque, is much more difficult than getting a verbal agreement even for a higher amount. There's something about writing down an agreement that makes our commitment that much more solid.
The same goes for repetitive verbal agreement.
By limiting the client into one of two options at each stage, we are forcing an answer. By repeating the style in which we ask the question, the client begins to actually consider what impact having an appointment at that time will have on the rest of his life. And finally by asking for a time period, and stating that we have other plans around the same time, we are showing that we are setting a specific time from our schedule for that client, he naturally feels like he should reciprocate.
This two option, three question technique really gets the client's mind considering his whereabouts at the time of the appointment. 65% of clients will note the appointment down, and therefore will also prepare themselves for your call.
Finally, by repeating your name and again, the time and date of your appointment, you are allowing the client a chance to note this alongside the appointment in his calendar. The extra rapport you will have by him remembering you will pay dividends.
"The more effort that goes into a commitment, the greater is its ability to influence the attitudes of the person who made it." - Robert Cialdini
As always, don't take this advice for granted, A/B test it, and let me know your results.
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