Appointment Setting Best Practices

phones 6_opt               Image credit – Pavan Trikutam (Licence)

“So… could I set you up with an appointment?”

“No thank you, I’m not really sure we need your help. But thanks for calling.”

Appointment setting is crucial to the success of your sales. So how do you avoid this turn down at the end of your call?

Appointments give you the opportunity to speak to someone and calm any reservations they might have about using your products or services. It can also be the beginning of a solid relationship if the prospect decides to come on board. So if you are not managing to nail your appointments you are missing out on some major deals. Here are some tips to help you get those all-important dates.

Talk to the Decision Makers

It is so easy to get carried away trying to make a good impression. You want to show that you know your company, and that you can help that prospect on the other end of the phone. But before you begin trying to win someone over, make sure that the person you are speaking to can actually make a decision, or at least influence it. Otherwise it will be a waste of time and you will only have to explain it again to someone else. There is nothing more frustrating than delivering a good pitch, only to be told that you have to perform it all over again to someone else.

Know Your Prospect 

Make sure that you know your prospect. It is embarrassing to ring up and not know what the company does, or why they should be interested in your product. Make sure that you research as thoroughly as you can, so that you can impress them with your knowledge. This helps to prove that you are a hardworking and trustworthy company.

Creating Rapport

Creating a relationship with your customer is crucial to appointment setting best practices. But sounding approachable, knowledgeable and friendly on the phone is not easy. You can’t see the other person’s reaction and have to rely on voice. Techniques that will improve your telephone report include copying the prospect’s tone, and using appropriate language that is suited to your prospect’s needs. For example, if you are selling IT to someone in the business industry, technical IT terminology is only going to alienate them.

Adapting to your potential client requires judgement. For example, if someone is talking very quickly and is stressed, a calm and confident demeanour is the best way to grab their attention. It is about assessing the needs of the speaker, and then reflecting it in your conversation.

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Listen and Gauge 

Don’t just jump straight in with your offer. Ask the customer some questions to discover what is important to them and their business. This also allows you to evaluate the extent of understanding that a prospect has about your services, so that when you finally do begin to outline your products or services, you can highlight what might be best for them.

If you choose to use a script, remember that it is ok to deviate from it once you know more information. Being personable and human is much more important than trying to cram in all the sheet requirements.

Be Flexible

A lot of calls are cancelled or rearranged, mainly due to time constraints. Instead of endlessly pursuing a face to face call that just can’t be pinned down, why not ask for a telephone appointment? Or an online meeting? Also ensure that you offer multiple options, and multiple times throughout the day. Make sure that you confirm it immediately, and leave no confusion as to whether the meeting might be going ahead. End the phone call with a polite, “see you on….”

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To summarise, the most important thing to remember when you’re setting appointments, is to remain flexible. Make sure you have a range of offers to talk about, you have multiple time slots for wither phone or face-to-face meetings, and that you can adapt depending on the needs of the prospect at the other end of the line.

Would you like some help nailing some appointments? VSL specialise in appointment setting, and many other aspects of telemarketing. For more information call +44 (0)1403 788480


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Andy Dickens

Andy Dickens is a veteran of IT Sales, used to leading by example. He is the CEO of Virtual Sales Limited (VSL) who offer telesales, telemarketing, lead generation and appointment setting services to B2b businesses. He previously was Sales Director EMEA for Red Hat and before that ran sales at Visio before it was acquired by Microsoft.