"Dialing for Dollars"

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Dialing for Dollars
by Joe Bonura , CSP


A.G.B.'s Contribution

Save time, save steps, increase your effectiveness, and make more money by using the telephone to make appointments. It is sad that many sales people do not like to use the telephone. They are intimidated by Alexander Graham Bell's contribution to sales efficiency.

They're Off and Running

Assume that two sales people begin making sales calls at 9:00 am. One sales person chooses to cold-canvass on foot, and the other does the cold-canvass on the phone. Which sales person will have the most productive day? Actually, the phone person will be more productive.

In the time it takes the foot warrior to drive to the first call, get out of the car, walk in to the business, and ask for the prospect (only to find the target is not in or too busy), the phone warrior has made ten or more dials.

Even if you have a better chance of getting in to see the prospect with a face-to-face encounter, you will have more opportunities to fill your calendar with real appointments using the phone.

High Impact Appointments

Your sales calls will have more meaning and impact if you have an appointment, than if you barge in because you happen to be in the neighborhood.

Still Time To Hoof-it

You will still have time to hoof-it between set appointments. Let us say, you have a firm appointment with ABC Company at 9:00 am, you have allowed thirty minutes to drive to the location and one hour for the appointment. You arrive at the appointment, visit with your prospect, and the call took only thirty minutes instead of the hour you had planned. Walk out the front door, look left, then right, and pick one or two cold-call targets. If you have allowed thirty minutes to drive to your next appointment, you will have thirty minutes to fill. If the prospect is not in, you have not wasted the gasoline getting there because you had your set appointment in the neighborhood.

Painless Dialing

So, what do you say on the phone to make it painless and to get an appointment? What do you say to the gate angel to get to the decision maker, and what do you say to the decision maker when she answers the phone? How many dials do you make each day to get one contact with a decision maker? How many decision makers do you speak with to get an appointment? How many decision makers do you visit with to make a sale? These are critical questions to ask because selling is a numbers game, and you have to know your numbers.

Several years ago, I was doing a sales training program for a major company in San Francisco, and there were thirty sales representatives in the room from around the USA. Outside the room, there was a bank of forty phones that were not being used. I decided to try an experiment, so I told the group to leave the training room, go to the phones, and make ten dials with the intention of getting an appointment.

What If They Are Not In?

The first question was, 'What if they are not in?' I said, 'Make the dials and come back to the meeting.' The next question was, 'But what if I get voice mail?' I said, 'Make the dials and come back to the room.' After fielding several more excuses, everyone left the room and went to the phones.


Thirty people came back in less than thirty minutes. The group had sixty appointments, or an average of two appointments each. Was it just a fluke?

Four weeks later I did a program with a major media outlet, and there were forty people in the room. This time, I asked them in advance to bring their cell phones. The forty sales people left the room, and they returned with eighty-two appointments.

I have done the same experiment hundreds of times over the years, and the results are always the same - an average of one to two appointments per person. Some people will end up with only one appointment, some will get no appointments, and some will get two or more appointments. It is the average that counts.


If thirty people making ten dials in less than thirty minutes can set sixty appointments, how many appointments can one person get, making ten dials, thirty minutes a day for thirty days? That is right - approximately sixty.

Say What?

OK, so you believe me, but what do you say when you make the call?

You: Hi, my name is _____________. Whom am I speaking with?

Prospect: Mary.

(If you are calling a business number, the person on the other end may think that you are a customer at this point, so don't worry; they will treat you with respect.)

You: Mary, I need your help!

(It is important for you to repeat her name back to her at this point.)

Mary: How can I help you?

(She will say that, or something like that, in response to your plea.)

You: Mary, we work with businesses that want to (your key benefit here). Does that make sense to you?

(Notice that you have not yet identified your company. The benefit is more important than your company name. Asking does that make sense gets the person on the other end to respond. It sure beats, 'How are you today?')

Mary: I guess so?

(She might say, 'How can I help you?' or 'What can I do for you?' or something in that vein.)

You: Mary, what do we have to do to speak with Mike?

(Notice that you used the word we, and not I. You want her to be on your team, and not just a lackey you are sending to fetch Mike.)

Mary: Uh, who are you with?

You: I'm sorry; I'm with ABC Company. Is Mike in today?

Mary: Let me get him on the phone for you.

(Ring, Ring . . .)

Mike: Hello, Mike speaking.

You: Hello, Mike, this is Joe Bonura; we work with companies that want to (insert benefit here). Does that make sense to you?

Mike: It might.

You: Great! I'm with ABC Company, and I will be across the street from your office tomorrow at 2:00 pm. I would like only ten minutes of your time. Is two OK with you?

Mike: Two sounds fine.

You: See you then.

If he is not interested, hang up, and go to the next call. It is more productive to be making the next call, than it is to convince someone, who is not interested, to change his mind. That is what makes the phone so productive. Just like the Energizer Bunny, you can keep going, and going, and going.

Thank you, Alexander, for making it so easy for us to get in touch with potential business.


© 2004 Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.

To see Joe and hear one of his favorite selling tips, follow this link to a video he created to share with folks who are interested in making more sales, or finding a job:



Joe Bonura would be pleased for you to reprint the article text free of charge (non-exclusively), but asks that you include his name and contact information:

Joe Bonura
Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.
Website: www.bonura.com
407 Landis Lakes Court
Louisville, KY  40245

(502) 553-1746 phone

E-mail: joe@bonura.com

About Joe Bonura

His background is unique. Joe owned and operated a highly successful advertising agency for 18 years. During that time, he found his advertising campaigns were more effective when he educated his clients in the areas of sales and service. He conducted training seminars for his clients as added value. Word spread that Joe was a quality speaker and more and more people asked him to speak. The demand became so high that he sold the agency to three of his associates to start his own speaking and consulting company, Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.

Joe is past President of the Kentucky Speakers Association and a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), a prestigious designation earned by only 8% of the 3,600 member National Speakers Association. Joe presently serves on the board of directors of NSA.

He is author of the audio learning systems "Three-Dimensional Selling®" and "Turning Customer Satisfaction Into Customer Excitement®." He is author of the book Throw the Rabbit—The Ultimate Approach to Three-Dimensional Selling.




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