Communication and Appointment Setting: Part One

We have mentioned moving your prospects towards the appointment-setting stage a lot. By now, you might be wondering what exactly we mean.

We already know that appointment setting is not merely adding the date of a meeting to the calendar and calling it a day. Appointment setting is a process that involves a lot of nurturing, talking, and nudging in the right direction.  

By the time we started off as an independent lead-generating business, we didn’t have a tutorial or an instruction to scoring deals and prompting our prospects to schedule an appointment right here, right now. All we had at our disposal was our experience of working with the sales team and being the link between our employers and their customers. 

How did that experience help us to provide appointment-setting services and make progress? 

Rules To Appointment-Setting Communication 

It takes more than one call

Don’t even hope to bring your prospects and sales executives together on the spot, — especially if you decide to start with a cold call. Time goes by very quickly and your prospects value every minute. Modern audiences hate wasting time on talking if they don’t see how it benefits them. You interrupting their routine with a call means they may miss out volumes of useful information or activities. 

This is why we always start with cold emails. They let our prospects take some time to consider our services, look us up, read some Clutch reviews and by the time a second-wave email arrives, there is a high chance of them being interested in responding and even agreeing to speak with our sales executive. 

The impersonal approach puts people off

“Nothing personal, just business” doesn’t work in real life. There are two types of sales managers: 

  1. The Drone. Monotonous, by the book, recite the company’s value proposition instead of describing it. Mentions the advantages that don’t fit you because they couldn’t care less about adjusting the proposition to your needs. Is highly impersonal yet polite, sounds like a human answering machine 
  2. The Barnacle. Overly friendly tries really hard to be a chum. Asks about your routine and gives out empty praises. Applies too much effort to be likable and therefore gives off a strong vibe of insincerity and duplicity. Calls you up religiously, sends tons of emails if ignored, never drops the chummy tone. Feels like an ex who just can’t let go.

Both of these types are insanely annoying and not personalized in the slightest. The only reason why they still deliver results is that some prospects become tired and desperate enough to agree to a call. However, nowadays, it’s more likely to end in a scandal and a lawsuit. 

Before you begin speaking with your customer, you must be keeping this set of “Who? Why? How?” in your head. 

Who?

Who are you? You are a representative of your company. You are a business person who knows the strong points of your brand. 

Who is your prospect? Your prospect is the person you’re interested in working with because of the opportunities and possibilities your partnership may provide

Together, you are the professionals with mutual respect for each other`s time and efforts. You are amicable and mindful 

Why? 

Why do you call? You want your company to benefit, of course. However, you also want the efficiency of your products and services to be tested and proven by multiple happy customers so the word goes around and attracts new audiences and revenue 

The only way to make it happen is to provide quality. It means both the quality of services and the quality of communication.  

How? 

If you built your ICP right, you should know certain things about your prospect: 

  1. Their age; 
  2. Their preferred use of technology; 
  3. Their company size; 
  4. Their struggle of the market; 
  5. Their top-of-mind concerns. 

Therefore, you don’t have to look for generic topics to begin the conversation. Say “Hello,” ask your prospects about how they’re doing, but don’t try to befriend them. Your tone should show that you care about them, are willing to hear them out and give them enough space to make their own choices and conclusions.

By doing so, you present yourself as The Expert: the type of the sales executive your prospects would love to speak and share their relevant issues with. In time, you will naturally learn to diversify and adapt your approach.

For instance, our bilingual sales executives can switch the conversation from English to French and German to make the prospect, who is a French/German speaker feel more at ease and “at home” when it comes to discussing the issues of their business and their demand for a vendor

Never deny the obvious 

It makes no sense to convince your prospect that you’re not trying to sell to them. Why else would a random person be reaching out if they need nothing from you? Your prospects will think the same.

Be honest with them: yes, you do want to sell.

What you want to sell and how you want to sell is an entirely different thing. Before we start offering, we ask questions. We let our prospects lead the conversation and share their frustrations. Then we get to respond and: 

  1. Acknowledge their situation and describe our experience with solving it; 
  2. Outline several case studies with clients from the same niche; 
  3. Describe the process of our work and the benefits our prospects will get. 

We want to sell what works for our customers — not what works for us. 

Keep the sales pitch for decision-makers 

common mistake that many sales executives make is that they start pitching their services to the wrong crowd. As they look for the decision-maker, they describe the value proposition in great detail to any person in the company, tiring everyone out even before the decision-maker becomes involved. 

If the person you’re speaking with doesn’t cover the areas that are relevant to your product or service, they have no need for the benefits you describe. They don’t know why those advantages give your brand the edge; they don’t know what to do with all the information you pile upon them. Moreover, they have their hands full, so they won’t take kindly dealing with something not included in their duties. 

By pestering the titles that don’t cover your field of interest, you risk not moving forward in your sales cycle. They won’t retell your extensive value proposition to the decision-maker. If they do, it will be a much shorter version without the necessary emphasis 

If you’re not sure who is your real target in the company, ask around. Introduce your services briefly and keep the juicy details for those who care about them. The titles will appreciate you being mindful of their time and will help you find the right person a lot more eagerly.    

Build bridges 

Accept the fact that your prospects will have concerns and objections. Let them say it.

Don’t interrupt.

Acknowledge their situation. 

At this point, you and your prospect are standing on two opposite shores. Your prospect is very comfortable on their shore; they don’t see the need to cross the fast and dangerous stream just to reach you. They can walk away any minute. 

Since you are the one who must reach them, you need to find a way to them. In that case, you won’t be throwing rocks; you will be making a bridge, making a connection.

Understanding. 

By responding with empathy and understanding of your prospect’s reluctance, you give them enough reasons to pause and hear what you have to say. From that point, you can continue bridging your conversation, elaborating on the specifics of your services and how you’ve helped businesses in the prospect’s industry. 

Don’t pressure the prospect into setting an appointment right here, right now. Give them some room. Offer to follow up later if they’re busy right now. If your prospect is dead set on not closing any deals, back out gracefully and leave your contact data. In case your prospect changes their mind, the bridge will still be there, ready for them. 

Summary to Part One 

In the course of our work with B2B leads, we learned to find balance in the conversation and keep several things in mind:  

  1. Structure the pattern of communication with the prospects  in your head and stick to it; 
  2. Be honest about wanting to close a deal;
  3. Be interested in that deal actually helping prospects; 
  4. Be ready to invest your time in talking to your prospects; 
  5. Be The Expert, not The Drone, not The Barnacle; 
  6. Reach out to your prospects with respect. 

There are many more intricacies to the B2B communication that precedes appointment setting, and we will certainly get back to the next month. Stay tuned!

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