Are you an appointment setter who makes cold calls? Then, you’re aware of the essential role sales engagement plays in the overall sales call process. The quality of your outreach is dependent upon your abilities and the tools you have to work with — And today’s buyer is definitely harder to reach.
According to The Sales Development Technology Report, it now takes an average of 18 dials to connect with a buyer. Yes, you read that right. It now takes double the amount of tries to connect with a buyer than it used to.
So, when you do finally get connected with the buyer, you need to be on your game. Here are some tips for better appointment setting when it comes to prospect calls.
1. Think Time Zone
Time is of the essence for every person working in appointment setting and inside sales. It’s also important to every prospect you contact, so you want to catch your target contacts at optimal times. Don’t cold call consumer prospects during dinner. Also, remember to think about that person’s time zone. Dinner time where you are may be after 8 p.m. for your prospect. What’s worse than a sales call during dinner? A call when you are trying to relax or spend time with family. You don’t want to interrupt downtime or worse, sleep. Instead, make sure you are calling at convenient times.
Sometimes you’ll have an idea of downtimes in an industry just by having worked in it. This is especially true in business-to-business (B2B) scenarios. If you don’t know the industry from first-hand experience, do your homework. Know typical hours your target decision makers will be in the office and call at those times in their time zones. When you are calling a business to set up a sales demo or consultation appointment, know when the business is open. You may think you’re making a quick afternoon call to an East Coast potential client from your West Coast perch, only to realize that the business is closed and you’re directed to voicemail. Don’t be that appointment setter. Do your research and plan ahead so that you are calling at convenient times whenever possible.
2. Do Your Research
82% of B2B decision-makers think sales reps are unprepared. – MarketingProfs
One of the most annoying habits an appointment setter can have is not preparing for a call. You need to understand your audience well enough to know what its members might appreciate or actually need. An effective appointment setter knows the product he or she is supporting and is able to anticipate the possible needs or concerns of the call recipient. Do your research. Know your product or service well. Learn about the industries your business serves. Anticipate hard questions and plan your answers ahead of time. Do a little research on the company you call if this is a B2B scenario. Check out a prospect’s social media profiles to gain insights into his or her personality and preferences. Know the mission and key goals of the companies where your prospects work. Also, ask questions and listen carefully to the answers provided by the prospects you are calling. The more you know, the better you will be able to anticipate the questions and needs of the individuals you are trying to set appointments with.
3. Express Interest in Service
36% of B2B executives believe that salespeople understand their business problems and offer clear solutions for them. – Forrester Research
A basic rule of appointment setting and inside sales is having empathy and interest in your prospect. Really try to understand the wants and needs of the person you contact. Don’t just act interested. People can spot disingenuous chatter. Try to be genuinely interested in the life or business of the person you are calling. This will make you a better appointment setter because you’ll be able to connect real-life human experiences and speak to situations that are troubling, challenging or difficult for your potential client. The client always wants to know what really is in it for him or her at the end of the day. Work hard to earn their trust and clearly communicate the value proposition you are offering. People do business with people they like. Make it easy for them to say yes to an appointment.
4. Don’t Pressure Too Much
17% of salespeople think they’re pushy while 50% of prospects view them as pushy. – Hubspot
Yes, you are an appointment setter, which means you are going to have to deploy some classic sales skills to help you set the appointment. That means you’re going to have to apply a little pressure. But you don’t have to apply too much. In fact, if you come on too strong, too quickly, the prospect may feel uncomfortable and annoyed and may write you off completely. Be courteous by asking if now is a good time to talk before you dive into your pitch. Take time to ask some questions that demonstrate your interest. Be consultative in your objection-busting instead of trying to bully the prospect into setting an appointment that he or she never intends to keep. Use persuasive language, customer stories, and facts versus pressure tactics to set the stage for a positive sales appointment.
5. Let Technology Move You
At the end of the day, one of the best ways to set great appointments is to have the latest technology. You want a solution with appointment setting software features that help you:
- make time-zone appropriate calls
- call the next-best lead based on qualification criteria
- overcome objections with logical branch scripting that also keeps you on message
- drop messages in voicemail while you proceed to the next call
- increase dials per hour with progressive or preview dialing
- follow up via email
- nurture leads that aren’t ready for an appointment
- set appointments based on geographic proximity based on a sales rep’s location
- combine multiple calendars for effective team selling
- make setting appointments more seamless by automatically setting appointments on calendars in the next free time slot
- send email notifications about the appointments that have been set
Appointment setting software can help you be more efficient in your B2B and B2C calls, so make sure you are taking advantage of it.
What are your tips to help appointment setters and sales reps meet the needs and wants of prospects? It’s always important to remember that selling is an interaction between two people – not just an action executed by one person. Meet your prospect on his or her terms to make appointment setting more positive for both you and the prospect.