Before we pick up where we left off, there is something about appointment setting you should be aware of: If anyone tells you they know a winning appointment-setting strategy, consider it a red flag. It’s The Emperor's New Clothes all over again.
Actual appointment-setting experts never promise you success with every prospect or claim to score appointments with 100% of all prospects. The sad truth about appointment-setting is that you can never guarantee that every meeting will end in a closed deal or that all your prospects will even show up at the scheduled time.
There will always be no-shows.
A part of your end-of-funnel audience will stray, no matter what you do.
It doesn’t depend on your techniques or your marketing. It happens because people are people. Sometimes they change their mind before the meeting and you can’t really influence them once that happens.
The only solution is to increase the number of prospects that arrive at the final stage of your sales funnel and, as a result, increase the number of appointments. You should also never forget about reaching out to the prospects who didn’t show up. Even if you don’t schedule another appointment with them, you know why they didn’t show. Knowing this goes a long way.
Naturally, communication is the key to a better, more productive, and organized appointment-setting process.
We will continue sharing tips and tricks that help you remove all the roadblocks and generate more meetings.
Appointment-setting rules: What else you should know
Always ensure availability
When it comes to choosing the time and day for the appointment, some sales teams make the mistake of speaking over their prospects. They say the time, the place, and the day without thinking about the potential customer’s comfort. As a result, they get more no-shows because some prospects agree to the meeting while knowing that they are quite likely not to show up.
You should always approach your sales delicately and show a full awareness of the fact that you’re interrupting your prospect’s routine, so you want to make your interaction as convenient as possible. When it’s cold outreach, you start with brief and informative introduction templates. When it’s appointment-setting, you adjust to your prospect’s schedule and workflow.
Before you start talking about appointments, you should ask your prospects what their schedule looks like, how busy they are and if they are up for a conversation with your sales executive. If you’re planning a face-to-face meeting, you must first find out where your prospects can meet your sales executive. Is it their office? A cafe of choice? A trade show?
If that’s an appointment via Skype or any other messenger, ask your prospects when they are able to take a call. Some people prefer to chat in the morning, while others choose to call in the evening.
We’re firmly against using sales scripts in B2B outreach. They don't’ sound human and leave no space for creativity or natural communication. Instead, the prospects have to deal with a sales executive who can’t say even a couple of words without consulting with a paper. Moreover, if you teach your sales teams to work via a script, you dissuade them from thinking on their own. They can’t improvise. They sound less interested in the prospects’ situation. And they show less flexibility when they need to think fast and offer prompt solutions to pacify the potential customers.
However, a sales pitch is not a sales script. It’s more like a set of lines that work and that you can use in building your phrases and templates. The best way for you to create a solid arsenal of appointment-generating techniques is to write down every line you use and decide which campaign it fits best.
At Belkins, our sales teams work with recommendations from the senior employees but they are encouraged to build sales pitches of their own. It helps them to be more confident in their communication and choose the best approach for each campaign intuitively.
Don’t sell appointments in a first call
You will fail.
Modern B2B buyers don’t shy away from research. They know what they need and what they’re looking for. They use the internet to explore your business inside and out to ensure they will be closing the best deal for their business, assuming you let them do so, of course.
At Belkins, our communication doesn’t start with a call, but with an email. It’s a less frustrating and more effective way for our potential customers to learn more about us, our services, and what we have to offer. Emails ensure they have enough time to do their research, check our credentials, and see where they want to go from there.
After that, we take a call with a prospective customer. Even then we don’t push them towards a face-to-face meeting or to make a deal.
- We ask them about their business. We let our prospective buyers voice their concerns, their thoughts about their work, and their vision for their brand. It provides useful information and it allows us to understand the prospect’s mood, as well as their approach to changes and improvements.
- We speak positively about the client’s company. It may seem like an obvious thing, but few people are really aware of the importance of highlighting the strongest traits of their prospect’s business. The “Did you know you could get 50% more revenue you’re getting now?” approach is obsolete and outdated. It pushes people away, instead of drawing them in. What you can do is highlight working with businesses similar to the prospect’s business, tell how you dealt with the challenges, and outline the growth perspectives of your prospect.
- We don’t make promises we can’t keep. We avoid talking about fail-proof plans, lack of regrets, and other colorful sentiments. The language of numbers and statistics is more reliable. As we introduce our infographics, the average number of appointments we can score, the open rates we manage to achieve, and the number of inboxes we can work with, we create a clear picture of our processes and how we provide our services. When prospects have something more definite and tangible, it’s easier for them to understand their chances with a certain vendor and their cooperation opportunities.
Be in love with your services
There is a huge difference between presenting services and proudly introducing your services. Believe it or not, your prospects can pick up on a phony pitch. If you introduce your brand in a monotonous, by-the-book way, your potential customers will know how disinterested you are. And if you cannot find it in yourself to care about your business, why should your prospects care?
Of course, it’s not possible to make someone care about something, especially if you just throw all of your trainees into a sales communication frat without explaining anything, but expecting them to deliver results.
This is why we take our time with our new employees. When they first arrive, they go through a trial period. During this time, they work with our senior team members, learning how to communicate with the target audience, how to craft exclusive email sales templates, and how to build a unique value proposition and sales pitch. After the trial ends, new workers are assessed by our colleagues in the United States. If everything is okay, they are allowed to work with the customers of our clients.
With that approach, we manage to tackle several issues in:
- Develop a sales culture. Our new sales team members can be very professional and skilled, yet they still require adaptation to the company’s values, philosophy, and pace. Our teams must work in sync, never letting a fellow member fall behind. Also, this communication creates more opportunities for our new experts to understand what we do and why it’s awesome. The disposition of the sales executive speaks volumes about the business’s efficiency. And we want our teams to speak sincerely.
- Ensure top-quality performance. Our new employees have plenty of space and time to practice and hone their skills. When they are given a new task, they are more confident about what they are going to do and how they are going to meet their KPIs. To us, it’s safer to prepare our new teams in advance before they are assigned to work with our customer’s leads.
Establish your responsibilities
Each email and call is another step towards the ultimate goal. The more coherent and structured your communication is, the sooner you will hit the appointment-setting stage. Once you do, stick to the point. And ensure your prospects do the same.
- After your prospects agree to make an appointment, send an email with the key takeaways from your conversation.
- Establish deadlines. When will your prospects submit the brief? When will you send an estimate? Add those days to the calendar and send the link to the prospects so they can confirm their participation.
It’s important to generate engagement with every little step. The more involved your prospects feel, the easier it is for them to stay involved and be willing to meet you.
Let’s say you managed to schedule an appointment with your prospect. Where do you go from there? Letting things go their way and idly waiting for the Big Day is out of the question. Even if everything went splendidly, and you felt that your prospect was genuinely interested, it doesn’t prevent things from going wrong. Anything from a meteor crash to your prospects simply forgetting about the appointment can still happen.
People forget. It has nothing to do with you or your business. When you work with a super busy audience, you need to be aware that your prospects have a lot on their plates. It helps when you to take responsibility for reminding your prospects about your meeting.
But, how do you remind potential customers about an appointment without coming off as annoying or intrusive? You don’t have to call your prospects every day, but you should send no less than two reminders.
We recommend sending reminders:
- A day before the meeting. Make your reminder relevant and give prospects enough time to think about whether or not they can meet you on the scheduled date.
- An hour before meeting. This ensures that you won’t be dealing with a no-show. If the prospect responds or make their presence known, you can prepare the agenda of the meeting. If you send a reminder and your prospects don’t show up, it gives you an opportunity to reach out to them and start processing them as no-shows.
Approach no-shows carefully
If your prospects don’t call you on the designated day, don’t be in a hurry to drop 100 emails into their inbox. But, don’t wait a week before contacting them. You should always act before your prospect’s trail goes cold. But, instead of pursuing, coax them out carefully. At Belkins, our algorithm of interacting with no-shows looks like this:
Day of the meeting
- The prospect doesn’t respond in 2 minutes. Send them a message about the appointment and let them know you’re waiting for them. Attach the meeting agenda or make a quick recall of everything you intended to discuss at the meeting to brief your prospects.
- The prospect doesn’t respond in 10 minutes. Send an email to let them know they are missing the appointment. But, instead of pushing them to join you right away, ask if it’s the best time to call and give them the option to reschedule.
2-3 days after
If the prospect didn’t respond to any of your messages, you may duplicate your previous messages. Or, if you see that your prospect is not coming back, you can inquire about whether they changed their mind and want to shift gears. Make it clear you don’t want to pressure them, but you do need a clear response.
If it’s not the first time you reschedule an appointment for your prospect and they still don’t show up, send them a final message asking them if they’re interested in dealing with you. Doing so may seem counterproductive, but wasting your time and energy on the prospects who are never going to reciprocate is even less rewarding.
Summary to Part Two
We find the process of appointment-setting very intuitive. The more you speak with your prospects, the more you understand them. The more you understand them, the easier it is for you to choose the best message and moment to suggest an appointment. Honing your appointment-setting skills takes time. There are several key points you should focus on when finding your voice and your unique approach to appointment-setting.
- Meet your prospects halfway. Always ensure that your offer is not about you, but about your prospects, their comfort, and convenience. Provide them with a choice of when and how to meet you.
- Make relationships, not sales. Don’t get ahead of yourself when taking a call with your prospects. Just because your potential buyers want to speak with you, doesn’t mean that they want to buy from you. It’s just the beginning and everything depends on you.
- Speak with care. Sound enthusiastic about your services and show that you’re passionate about what you do and not how you sell. Your prospects will share your fascination.
- Tell your prospects what to do. When you move to the appointment-setting stage, you should be more instructive and mindful of your prospects’ steps. They should know their deadlines, your plans and the actions that will follow. However, make sure not to pressure them. Your communication should always be a dialogue.
- Remind and let go tactfully. Send your prospects reminders of the upcoming appointment to keep them engaged till the very end. If your prospects prefer to remain no shows, regardless of your efforts, know when to back off. Ask politely for clarifications.
Do you have any appointment-setting experience you would like to share? Want to consult with us on your appointment-setting routine? We are always ready to chat and help you out.