From start to finish, the entire process of setting appointments can be highly complex and there are a lot of different approaches, that will yield different results, for different businesses.
Carrying on from our article in February ‘6 Vital Tips for Appointment Setting Success’, this article covers six more tips that you can use to improve your appointment setting strategy.
1. Make use of Leading Questions.
Your closing statement and questions can be what makes or breaks your chances of getting an appointment. When coming towards the end of your call or email, it’s crucial to close with a leading question. Leading questions are questions that allow you to gently nudge the prospect in the direction you want them to go.
When attempting to secure an appointment, rather than asking closed questions such as “Can I set up a time for one of our consultants to come out to see you?”, try asking a leading question such as “When is the best time for one of our consultants to come out to see you and discuss your needs further?”.
With the first closer, “Can I set up..”, you are giving your prospects an easy chance to object to your proposition. Using the leading closer, “When is the best time..”, helps to subtly push your prospects towards the appointment.
2. Sell Solutions, not Appointments.
What some marketers and salespeople tend to do is focus too much on the reason for their call – the appointment. Talking mainly about organising a time to meet and the details such as, where the meeting will take place and who will be in attendance may seem like a good way to promote and secure an appointment, however, there’s a better way.
Instead of just asking your prospects for the best time to meet and discuss ‘XYZ’, tell them why meeting to discuss ‘XYZ’ will benefit them. Highlight the problems that they are likely to face within their business and their industry and how meeting with you can help to solve these problems.
The key is to focus on the solution that you can offer to their problems and hardships which will generate more interest than focusing primarily on the details of the appointment. Tell them WHY they should meet with you before discussing the WHEN and WHERE.
3. Integrate Email into Your Calling Strategy.
Although cold calling can be an effective method of generating leads and setting up appointments, it requires a certain level of skill and patience to get right. For those that are new to the world of telemarketing, there are multiple marketing integrations that can be used to increase your efficiency and help you to hit the ground running when it comes to setting appointments.
A good example of this is integrating email marketing within your telemarketing strategy. Email marketing is another effective, and cost-efficient approach to generating new business opportunities and can work brilliantly with your telemarketing.
Integrating your email and telemarketing strategy can help turn your cold calling strategy, into a lukewarm or warm calling strategy, which could help you to see more success over the phone. Sending out an email as a means of initial interaction with your prospects and then following up via phone can make your appointment setting strategy a lot smoother and your audience can be more receptive to your marketing.
Managing a warm calling strategy can involve a lot more waiting around and coordination across different departments than cold calling, however, you could see higher conversion rates with your appointment setting.
4. Appointment Reminders.
Appointment setting requires a great deal of effort to be worthwhile. After investing both time and money into your appointment setting strategy, you will want to make sure that any appointments that you generate remain in place come the day of the meeting.
Remember, your prospects are likely to be busy people and may forget the odd meeting or appointment from time to time. To ensure that your appointments are not forgotten and to avoid any wasted journeys, send them a quick email or give them a call a few days before the appointment and check to see if it is still convenient for them.
This will not only help to fully secure your meetings and appointments but will also be a useful and most likely an appreciated reminder to the prospect.
5. Qualify your Opportunities.
When generating appointments people often focus on the number of appointments they set, however, it’s far more important to focus on the quality of opportunities and what they can do for your business. By qualifying your appointments, you can determine whether certain opportunities are the right fit for your business or whether they’re not worth pursuing. This allows you to focus your time and budget on engaging with the right people and helps to minimise waste of your investment.
One model that is used for the qualification of business opportunities is 'BANT', which stands for:
Budget– Do they have the necessary budget to purchase our offering?
Authority – Am I speaking to the sole decision-maker? Are there others who need to be consulted?
Need – Do they have an immediate need for our offering? Will they ever need our offering?
Timeline – When will they be ready to buy? Is it in the near future or further down the line?
By implementing a system such as BANT you can create a process for determining the quality of appointments and other opportunities and ensure that you are getting the most out of your marketing investment.
6. Play The Numbers Game, But Don’t Rely On It.
When setting up appointments over the phone it can take quite a few calls before seeing success. If you’re only making a few calls and expect to see great results, then you’re going about it the wrong way. It’s true what people say; telemarketing is a numbers game – you have to put in the time to make calls in order to start seeing the results you are looking for. However, you need to maintain a certain level of quality for each call that you make. What some telemarketing companies and agents tend to do is take a ‘phone bashing’ approach, and make as many calls as possible to maximise their leads and appointments. Although they may see a higher volume of opportunities through this method, the quality of these opportunities will be questionable.
By taking a balanced approach that focuses on both the quality of conversations you are having as well as the quantity, you may begin to see a steadier stream of high-quality business opportunities coming through the door.