Appointment setting – securing meetings with new prospective customers via cold calling – is one of the most challenging aspects in the entire repertoire of sales challenges.
But appointment setting is also one of the most valuable. In fact, it’s essential to keeping the sales pipeline fed and cared for. Filling the calendar with quality sales appointments is essential to healthy growth and to having a happy sales team.
What are the essentials for effective appointment setting? Here are a few of the most important:
1. Make the calls: Salespeople can spend too much time researching the target of their cold call. Sure, knowing something about your prospect is valuable, but it’s important to when to draw the line and make the call. Between research and all the other distractions salespeople are naturally subject to during the course of the work day (along with reluctance to make cold calls in the first place), getting a healthy quantity of calls made might never happen. Studies show it’s critical to get a high number of calls out. Sales Rule No. 1 - you fail to close 100% of the prospects you don’t call.
2. Adopt a consultative mindset: Sales Rule No. 2 - people like to buy, they don’t like to be sold. Open the prospect’s mind to an appointment by framing the conversation as a benefit to them, not a sale for you.
3. Be cool: If you come across as scared or needy your prospect will head for the hills. When making your appointment setting call, keep in mind that your career and livelihood do not rest on individual prospect. Similarly, don’t come across as too eager or hyper. Adopt a medium to low-key attitude that conveys a peer-to-peer relationship between you and your prospect. There’s an old saying in sales: enthusiasm is contagious – it makes everyone sick.
4. Use real-world proof: Become proficient in the successes your customers have had with your company’s products, Know the details of how they solved a critical industry challenge. When you’re making appointment setting calls, ascertain if the prospect faces the same challenge, then tell prospects you want to share the details of those customer successes.
5. Be careful who you hire: If your sales team is too busy to make appointment setting cold calls, be careful who you hire on an outsourced basis. Among other things, make sure the appointment setting service does not require a long-term commitment, that you have the opportunity to meet, get to know and work with the cold callers working on your behalf, that the result of every appointment setting call is captured and reported on, and that you can hear recordings of their calls.
Mark Fichera, CEO
Call Center Services