Us sales folks love the fairytale ending, don’t we? Talk the talk, close the deal, then you and your client get to live happily ever after.
But that’s not where the real magic happens.
The real magic happens when someone successfully convinces potential customers that your product or service is the knight-in-shining-armor they need in their lives — we call these unsung heroes the appointment setters.
Appointment setters are the ultimate wingmen. They are the team members who take care of cold calling and prequalifying leads, and they are the ones creating opportunities for sales reps to pitch the company’s product.
Where would your sales funnel be without this secret weapon? (Quite literally nowhere.)
To shift your call-to-appointment ratio in your favor, don’t place another call without checking out these five appointment setting tips.
Tip #1: Find the right prospects and level-up your reach-outs
Did you know that it takes an average of eight cold call attempts to reach a single prospect?
Don’t quote me on this, but I bet you’ll have more chances of setting appointments with prospects who have already interacted with your company in the past.
That’s where marketing and sales come together.
To call the leads that are closer to being qualified, RAIN Group’s Bob Croston recommends working with marketing and following-up on certain metrics:
- Website downloads: Do you offer white papers, webinars, or case studies? The prospects downloading this content are the people you want to follow up with.
- Website visitors: If you’re not getting notified when prospects visit your website, add that to your to-do list. Knowing when they think about you is a huge game-changer. Plus, you can even leverage these notifications to reconnect with prospects you’ve already spoken with.
- Event attendees: Nab the full attendee list of any events or webinars that your company sponsors or participates in.
Obviously, there’s more to appointment setting than cold calling — but you gotta do a hell of a lot of it to get through, and not just through the phone. Welcome to the 21st century.
Having a leg up on which prospects are interested before you call is a bonus, but that doesn’t get you out of this next mandatory step of the appointment setting process: reaching out through multiple channels.
If you’re not leaving voicemails, writing emails, connecting on social media, and sending carrier pigeons or smoke signals, good luck breaking through the noise! Your prospect is probably receiving someone else’s’ meeting request as we speak.
Tip #2: You’ve got nothing without trust
Why can you trust a calculator? Because it’s something you can count on. *Badum tss.*
Channel your inner calculator, people. Your prospects aren’t going to hand over their time — much less their money — if they don’t trust what you’re saying or selling. Why should they?
On your next appointment setting call, try building trust with these two strategies.
Be a human and build rapport
If your prospect wanted to talk to a robot, they’d call Mr. Big Name seller to get their order wrapped up without any hassle.
But nobody wants that — they want you. So you can ask about the dog you hear barking in the background, or the toddler singing along to Frozen 2. Hear some piano-playing? Hell, ask about that, too!
“Rapport is the foundation that supports your interaction with prospects. If you want to be more effective in appointment setting, you have to know how to build rapport,” explains Belinda Summers.
You only have a few seconds to capture the attention of a cold lead, so help your prospect loosen up by making the call all about them. Ask the right questions, and more importantly, be empathetic.
Believe it or not, the goal is not to sell
Contradictory, right? Not as much as you think.
Appointment setting calls are meant to entice a prospect enough to get a face-to-face meeting — AKA, your goal is to set an appointment, not to sell them something.
Look, I get it. As sales folks, we naturally want to sell the minute we’ve hooked a potential buyer. But remember: No one wants to be pressured into buying something.
Instead, call with a genuine desire to help, and let the rest flow naturally.
Tip #3: Be prepared to handle objections
You’re not making appointment setting calls without doing research, are you? (Are you? 👀)
When you know your stuff and your customers, you know how to best position your value.
But know this: “Part of your preparation should be understanding objections and ensuring you have a logical set of steps to help the prospect overcome their objections,” says Internal Results’ Noel Hooban.
Overcome objection with these tips:
- Research your marketplace
- Align your prospecting efforts with the solutions your company provides
- Develop an exact profile of the audience you’re targeting
Tip #4: When in doubt, script it out
Before you ask — yes, you can sound like a human and use a script! Even if you’re the master at winging it, you need to perfect the script you use to pitch to leads.
Keep in mind that a good script:
- Has a branded introduction
- Identifies who you are and the company you represent
- Sounds natural and unrehearsed
If your pitch ain’t up to par, your lead will be out of there before you can even think about setting an appointment.
Tip #5: Go for gold (and be specific!)
Now that you’ve built just enough interest and curiosity to make the prospect want to continue the conversation, ask for a follow-up meeting — but don’t be vague.
Say, “How does October 7 at 10 a.m. work for you?” instead of, “Would you like to meet about this?”
See the difference? One is serious and ready to commit, and the other just wants to text you at weird hours until you both move on.
And don’t forget to wrap things up. Send your lead a confirmation email message that includes a brief recap of the call, and when you’re scheduled to meet next.
Want outrageous sales results? Combine cold calling with social selling! Download the ultimate prospecting guide today, and don’t ever look back.