Appointment Setting Best Practices and Must Knows

By Neil Smith

Appointment setting is a critical step in the sales cycle. It’s generally the first impression of the solution or company for which the opportunity is being qualified. This makes it even more crucial as a make or break factor when it comes to b2b sale with conversation percentages highly dependent on the quality of conversations you have at this juncture.

Appointment Setting Services

On a raw level appointment setting may be defined as telemarketing undertaken to generate and setup qualified sales meetings. The objective of an appointment setter is to convert prospects into interested buyers. In most cases a presentation isn’t the challenge. Getting the presentation setup is! Here are a few sure shot tips to help you increase the efficiency of your B2B appointment setting and lead qualification efforts.

Utilize Multiple Media for Communication

When we say communication it does not necessarily always involve a phone call and your sales speech. It is very tough to get a prospect on the call much more so than earlier times unless you are exceptionally lucky. Leaving no stone un-turned is the key to surety for at-least making sure that we are reaching the prospect. Using various means such as email, leaving voice-mails, handwritten mail, etc can be your accelerator as well

Appointment setting tip 1 - Utilize multiple media

Try Targeting C level Executive

The higher the better, getting in touch with C level decision makers not only makes sure that the you are talking to the right person in the organization but also speeds up the sales process. Talking to non decision makers is majorly a time waste as people with lower job titles will not be responsible for even evaluation of the solution, so contacting them can prove to be just a round rider

Appointment setting tip 2 - target c level executives

Get Referrals

Getting a second known link from your present network is how you can effectively leverage referrals. This gives an increased chance of getting the prospect to speak to you at length and converting him, as he has a pre- existing faith on you. The best way to do this is by contacting executive assistants to the presidents or chief operating officers, they can provide huge information here and will often point you in the right direction and even provide a referral, but that’s only if you ask

Opportunity qualification tip 3 - get referrals

Be Clear and Ask for a Meeting

In general perception and trend our sales reps are reluctant in pitching for a meeting or demo call as their prime motive, unless the prospect himself asks for the motive of the call. The bad catch out here is the fact that no one has the time nowadays to run around in circles. Be crisp and clear about your value proposition and be straight forward in inviting prospects for a meeting. This approach is much appreciated and valued by prospective clients

Opportunity qualification tip 4 - ask for a meeting

Ask for a Good Time to Call

A cold call is as it is an interruption for the prospect but the good thing to do immediately is to ask if u did catch him at a bad time or not, this opens a vent for you to build rapport as well as gives an opportunity for you to fix a 10 minutes call next day or week in-case he is not free at the moment. The apprehension for asking this has to be shunned, in most of the cases not asking this basic start of a call question results in your call ending up as a failure

Lead qualification tip 5 - ask for a good time

Learn to Handle Objections Effectively

There is absolutely no remedy for not facing objections; it is an unsolicited call after all. What we as sales guys have to do from our end is to be totally prepared on the front of our solution cum product knowledge and be open to handle objections spanning across cost, time, no requirement ,etc. The best way to do the same is to align your value proposition with the predictable objections. We shall cover common prospecting exceptions and the best ways to handle them in one of our later posts in detail. For a quick read about some common prospecting objections and how to handle them, access this free eBook for now

Lead qualification tip 6 - handle objections well

Utilize Mirroring as an Effective Psychological Tool

A very effective technique utilized by successful appointment setters worldwide is mirroring. The basic premise is that people buy from people like them. At times this is a subconscious occurrence. However a skilled lead qualification rep can make a deliberate effort and push up his chances of securing a meeting. For an appointment setter this is a bigger challenge because they seldom get to see and meet their prospects in person. Having said that, with careful inspection mirroring is possible over phone calls and even emails. As an example try talking to a slow talker slowly and vice versa for a fast speaker. Try and use words you feel are more likely to be used by the prospect himself

Appointment setting tip 7 - use mirroring

Stop Talking and Start Listening

A quality that separates quality appointment setters from others is their ability to listen. A well drafted sales script might be good for calling but there is nothing that beats the power of listening. And when we say listen we mean active listening which involves molding your words and behavior in sync with what you hear!

Lead qualification tip 8 - start listening

Try to Help Your Customers

Lastly, remember your aim as a cold caller (or appointment setter) is to actually help the customer. Once you start believing this your prospect will too. That’s because you’ll behave accordingly. Prospects will resist any attempt to set a meeting if they feel you are in it for yourself. In those first few crucial moments of a call you must exhibit service and not selfishness

Opportunity qualification tip 9 - keep your customers first

In the end what really matters is not the sales meeting you just scheduled. It’s the quality of conversation you had in the meeting that will leave a lasting impression in the prospects head forever and that will make him come back to you later when he has a need. Thinking long term is the key to be successful after all.

We hope these tips help our fellow sales reps qualify better opportunities. Feel free to leave your experiences below.

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