Sales Appointment-Setting is The Bridge Between Prospecting and Closing

Want to improve your lead-to-appointment ratio? Or, how about your appointment-to-sales conversion?

There’s a battle being waged for control of your company, and the people who set your appointments are in the middle of it. On the one side is your sales team. This includes your field sales representatives, home show representatives, and your direct salespeople.

To use a hypothetical example, your sales team works hard to connect with homeowners who might be interested in our products. You’re happy to pay them for each appointment they generate, and hope that every lead turns into an appointment. As is natural, they want to be paid for all of the appointments they generate.

Sales representatives want appointments that they can close quickly and for a large amount of money. They get frustrated when they feel like the marketing team is wasting their time. That is an easy layup with a homeowner who answers their door with an open checkbook.

In the middle are your sales representatives, who are responsible for setting up sales meetings. The sales team is telling them “Hey, all the leads that are passed to you by marketing are great.”.

You will set appointments with all of the leads that are passed to you. The sales reps will then close those appointments.

Even a child could figure out how to do it.

Your sales team has a different opinion. “The meetings you set up for me are terrible. They are either single-leg or homeowners who are deeply indebted. Or they are in the seedy part of town that I would not drive through with my doors open. It’s because of your appointment setting skills that my closing rates have dropped.” they tell your meeting setters.

Fact: Your company can generate leads that turn into appointments at a high rate, but your sales reps will only close a small percentage of those.

Your company can set appointments that actually close at a high rate, but so few of them make it through the filter that you won’t generate enough revenue to keep your lights on.

It is essential that everybody in your company has a clear understanding of what a qualified appointment is. You need to be confident that everyone in your company is working to the same definition of qualified appointment, and that they are compensated accordingly.

A qualified meeting is what connects the lead gen process of your business with your sales team. It is vital that everybody on your team is on the same wavelength.

The most successful companies have clear and concise lead qualification and appointment-setting processes that both their marketing team and sales reps follow. This commitment to standardization ensures that every potential customer is given the same high level of service.

The company must have a clear and well-documented set of criteria that they apply to all of their leads. This ensures that everyone is aware of the industry standards.

There are no exceptions!

Setting and maintaining clear standards gives you a baseline by which to judge all facets of your company. This allows you to manage your company more effectively. Having standards also makes it easier to identify areas that need improvement.

Setting Successful Sales Appointments (In 6 Simple Steps)

One of the most common mistakes made by new salespeople is trying to sell their product during the first sales call.

When you are cold calling or knocking on doors, the goal should be to get an appointment with the decision-maker. This way, you can have a conversation about what you are selling and see if it is something that they are interested in.

When you’re making initial contact with a potential customer, the goal should be to set up an appointment where you can present your product or service. Pitching for an appointment gives you the chance to build rapport and establish trust with the customer, which is essential for making a sale.

If you’re lucky enough to call a cold lead who’s ready to buy on the spot, congratulations! For everyone else, try using the below approach when setting sales appointments over the phone:

1. Research before you call

The more you know about the prospect before picking up the phone, the better. If you have just a name and a phone number, you can still make an effective sales appointment.

If you can’t get enough information about the prospect, you can always turn to Google. Or, if you’d rather, you can reach out to your connections on LinkedIn.

You can even check with your network contacts to see if you know anyone who knows the prospect. You may be able to get a referral from a mutual contact.

2. Create a good opener

Once you get the prospect on the phone, you have about 10-20 seconds before they’re ready to hang up on you. Most people automatically reject you as soon as you start trying to sell them.

If you want to get past a potential customer’s rejection filter, you’ll need an opener that surprises or intrigues them. Something that will make them sit up and take notice. Once you have their attention, you can set up an appointment or at least get them to listen to what you have to say.

4. Pick a benefit that most interests your prospect

When you have done your research and know more about your prospect, you can better customize your pitch to fit their needs or pain points. This way, you are more likely to get their business.

Pick a benefit of your product or service that you think will most appeal to your prospective customer. Explain how that product or service provides this benefit to them.

Example: Our billing system protects your identity by securing your financial data, which gives you peace of mind.

5. Take the appointment

Now it’s time to seal the deal. There are differing opinions on how to close the deal on an appointment. Some experts say that you should give the person you are cold calling a choice of times to meet. 

For example, you could say, “do you prefer to meet on Tuesday at 10 or Wednesday at 2?” 

Alternatively, you could pick one specific time and say, “I can meet with you Monday at 11:30. Does that work for you?” Ultimately, it is up to you to experiment and see which approach works best for you.

If the prospect you are cold calling says no to your offer, you can try suggesting another time or date. This way, you don’t come across as pushy or assuming he’s not interested.

6. Do not give up

Don’t take rejection personally. There could be any number of reasons why a prospect doesn’t want to talk to you. Maybe they’re having a bad day, are in a rush, or are just not interested.

When you’re closing the cold calls and the prospects aren’t biting, don’t give up! Move their name to another list and try again in a few days or weeks. 

Most sales experts say that you should keep trying until the prospect says “no” three times. So don’t give up too easily – with a little persistence, you’re sure to get that appointment!

Conclusion – How to Set Sales Appointments With Ideal Prospects

The best way of setting sales appointments will vary depending on the product or service being sold and the target market.

However, some tips for successful sales appointment setting include doing your research in advance, being clear about what you are offering, and having a good understanding of the needs of your potential customer. The most important thing is to be persistent and never give up.

Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀[/sc

Editors Note:

Want to help contribute to future articles? Have data-backed and tactical advice to share? I’d love to hear from you!

We have over 60,000 monthly readers that would love to see it! Contact us and let's discuss your ideas!

Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
This post was generated for LeadFuze and attributed to Justin McGill, the Founder of LeadFuze.