For some businesses, reaching out to potential clients to schedule appointments can be a difficult undertaking. The obstacles you face while attempting to organise sales appointments can vary depending on which industry you operate in and the markets you target; however, there are several challenges that all organisations face when establishing appointments. You wouldn’t have much luck closing deals if you didn’t have an appointment set-up process in place. The appointment setting is important in many B2B businesses.
This essay dives into these issues, their implications, and how you might devise a strategy to solve them.
High-level decision-makers are busy people who don’t always have the time (or patience) to answer every marketing or sales contact.
Depending on the day of the week you call and what time of day you call, you may see a significant difference in how many decision-makers you reach and have full talks with.
According to a study conducted by CallHippo in 2017, the greatest days of the week to call prospects are Wednesdays and Thursdays, while Friday is the worst day of the week to call prospects.
The findings of this study aren’t very shocking and are easily explained.
Mondays, especially in the mornings, are a time for decision-makers to get back into work mode, planning out their week and responding to emails that have come in over the weekend.
On Wednesdays and Thursdays, halfway through the week, the prospect will have likely cleared some of their heavy burden, and your call will be less of an interruption to their day.
Of course, businesses are winding down for the week on Fridays, particularly in the afternoon, and decision-makers will not want to be kept on the phone with a telemarketer.
If you’re going to dedicate a few of days a week to your appointment making plan, make sure you choose the days that will give you the best contact rate so you can get the most appointments.
Getting Past the Gatekeeper
Every salesperson or telemarketer must overcome gatekeepers on a regular basis, and some are easier to overcome than others.
When speaking with a decision-maker, it’s critical to make a solid first impression, and the gatekeeper is no exception. If you get through to a gatekeeper and come across as pushy or nasty, the call may be cut short, making it more difficult to reach the decision-maker on subsequent calls.
It’s crucial to remember that if a gatekeeper asks you questions about who you are, what firm you’re coming from, and why you’re calling, they’re simply doing their job; being unpleasant or rude won’t help your professional reputation.
Approaching a gatekeeper from a position of authority is the best method. This does not imply being nasty or harsh, but it does include being assertive, direct, and providing as little information as possible.
See the examples below for what to do and what not to do when approaching a gatekeeper for the first time. The gatekeeper appears to have power in the first chat, whereas the caller in the second session is assertive from the outset.
Impressing the Decision-Maker
It’s one thing to get through to the decision-maker; it’s another to impress the decision-maker and generate genuine interest.
Every week, decision-makers may receive dozens of sales calls, some of which may be from rivals, so simply repeating the same’salesy’ presentation as everyone else will get you nowhere.
One of the worst blunders that some telemarketers make while trying to impress a decision-maker is talking too much about themselves and their organisation.
Sure, your personal and professional accomplishments are intriguing, and citing industry experience is useful, but the decision-maker will be considerably more pleased by the way you interact with them, provide value to them, and actively listen to and respond to their questions and concerns.
It’s also a good idea to do some research on your possibilities to impress the decision-maker. The majority of telemarketers will pitch their product and discuss how well it has worked for other businesses and the outcomes they have witnessed. The decision-maker isn’t interested in how it works for other businesses; they’re interested in how it will work for THEIRs.
After considering their business type, the industries they operate in, the products and services they offer, and the current climate of their industry/market, you may adapt your presentation to talk about how your offering will help that prospect especially.
All of this will impress a high-level decision-maker far more than a pushy, irrelevant’me, me, me’ pitch, and will help you secure more excellent appointments.
Missed or Cancelled Appointments
The challenge does not end once you have obtained an appointment; you must now ensure that the appointment goes ahead without any delays or cancellations.
So, how do you lower the chances of a prospect cancelling the appointment you worked so hard to set up?
Timing When Booking Appointments
Timing is one of the most important aspects that might influence appointment cancellation rates.
When scheduling appointments, keep in mind how far ahead of time you’re scheduling them. If you schedule a meeting for four weeks from now, for example, the chances of the prospect cancelling the meeting skyrocket. This varies based on the business and the level of interest developed with the prospect, but it is the overall tendency we observe in practically every campaign we conduct.
Setting appointments as soon as possible after receiving a call, ideally within a few days or up to a week, will result in a significant reduction in appointment cancellations and allow you to get started with customers as soon as feasible.
Sending meeting reminders is another strategy to lessen the likelihood of appointment cancellations. The first thing you should do after successfully booking an appointment with a qualified prospect is send out a calendar invite. This guarantees that the prospect is aware of the meeting’s specific date and time, as well as reminding them every time they open their calendar.
In some circumstances, this may be sufficient to avoid appointment cancellations; but, if your meeting is scheduled for one or two weeks, it’s critical to send a reminder email to the prospect 24 hours before to the appointment.
This is just a pleasant reminder email that says, ‘Hi [Prospect Name], I’m just emailing to confirm that our meeting tomorrow is still on.’ I’m excited to meet you and your colleagues. ‘Warm regards…’
If you word your reminder emails incorrectly, you may be offering the prospect the perfect opportunity to cancel. ‘Hi [Prospect Name], I’m just emailing to make sure you’re still available for our meeting tomorrow,’ for example. Please let me know if you need to reschedule. Warm regards… While it may appear that you are being considerate and nice, you are actually hurting yourself by giving the prospect an excuse to cancel or reschedule your meeting.
We’ll be writing a detailed post on this issue in the New Year to help you reduce your appointment cancellation rate.
Lead & Data Management
Managing sales leads and campaign data is a significant difficulty for many new firms.
Managing your appointment leads and prospects, as well as properly maintaining your database, is critical for an efficient and effective appointment setting campaign. You would certainly struggle to manage your leads properly without a well-structured CRM system, which could result in missed opportunities.
All of your interactions with prospects will be managed and tracked in your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. Using your CRM system to its full potential (writing detailed call notes for each interaction, correctly marking hot and warm callbacks, NFAs (No Further Action), and GDPR removals) allows you to prioritise who you should contact, keep track of previous interactions, and manage record removals while maintaining data compliance.
The big mistakes start when prospect interactions/relationships aren’t adequately managed. This is when you begin to lose track of what has already been discussed with various prospects, who the correct decision-maker is within various companies, whether other members of your team have already contacted a particular prospect, and, most importantly, whether you are contacting someone who has previously exercised their data protection right to be removed.
To summarise, failing to properly use your CRM system not only causes you to cross wires with other members of your team, negatively impacting the success of your appointment setting campaign, but it also puts you in hot water with data protection authorities if the issues also affect data compliance.
When establishing B2B sales appointments, you will confront a variety of problems, some of which are inherent in the process and must be addressed, and others that you can create for yourself and must be avoided via effective planning and maintenance of your strategy.
You might notice an increase in quality leads and appointments as well as a much higher conversion rate from your appointment setting efforts if you implement a strategy that incorporates all of the above.