An appointment setting is a strategy to bring in new prospects by setting a date on the calendar for your sales team to talk about your product and potentially make a sale. It helps your company to get noticed in the market, and it will get you a good name in the market and ultimately produce you with more clients. If your job is an appointment setter who follows a script with the objective of arranging appointments for company sales representatives, obtaining sales, or otherwise creating interest in the products or services on offer, then this article is for you.
So, without further ado, Let me help you with a few tips that are proven to be effective.
Set A Clear Goal
The goal is to get the potential customer to commit to sustaining the conversation. One way to get appointments is to get people to want to work with you and your client. That means capturing their attention and setting yourself and your client apart with customized value-focused messaging.
You may also want to prepare a script to use as a guide during your call. Steer clear of writing the entire script word-for-word and practice your script so it sounds more natural when you use it. Be sure to include a branded introduction that identifies who you are and who you represent.
Believe it or not, the goal is not to sell. Appointment setting calls are meant to entice a prospect enough to get a face-to-face meeting, your goal is to set an appointment, not to sell them something.
As sales folks, we naturally want to sell the minute we’ve hooked a potential buyer. But remember, as mentioned above: No one wants to be pressured into buying something. Instead, call with a genuine desire to help, and let the rest flow naturally.
Research The Company You Are Representing Before You Call
You cannot represent something you don’t know. Make sure to know all the details about your product or service. Some prospects will ask you questions to see how much information you know about your product or service. Identify ways your product or service may be able to help them with issues they may currently have. This may also help prepare you to answer any difficult questions the prospect may ask you.
The first principle is that the virtual assistant should aim to present the reason for the call as quickly as they can. Following the system of saying WHO we are, WHAT we do and WHY we’re calling, straight after the initial “hello” greeting, is good practice. Don’t expect people to be immediately interested in what you have to offer when they hear from you for the first time. This means they won’t be exactly enthusiastic about agreeing to meet you, which is normal given that there are so many pushy salespeople whose primary goal is to sell regardless of whether their product is the right fit for the people they call.
And in case you still haven’t had a chance to work with some popular brands or well-known personalities from the industry, you can still attract the attention of your prospects and intrigue them by sharing examples or some successful case studies of how your client/ the company you represent helped people and companies in similar situations. You may refer your prospects to a review website or a landing page where they can read what happy customers say about your product, you can mention this during the call and send them the links to these resources.
Don’t just inform the prospect of the product or who you are representing. Do not forget they are people just like you and me, and take the time to build some rapport when needed to convince them. Use your conversation as a way to build rapport with the prospect, and focus on getting to know the person and earning their trust. Emphasizing your genuine desire to help them may help you do this.
“Rapport is the foundation that supports your interaction with prospects. If you want to be more effective in the appointment setting, you have to know how to build rapport” explains Belinda Summers.
You only have a few seconds to capture the attention of the prospect, so help them loosen up by making the call all about them. Ask the right questions, and more importantly, be empathetic. Acknowledge their concerns and avoid interrupting them when they speak. Use their concerns as an opportunity to discuss ways an appointment or your company may be able to help them resolve their issues. It is more important to be calm, positive, and natural than it is to have assured phrasing. It won’t hurt to say “thanks” instead of “thank you”, “you’re” instead of “you are”, “have a good day” instead of “goodbye”.
Support Your Claims
Support your claims about your product or services when talking to prospects. Use social proof to highlight and talk about how you’ve helped others and how satisfied they were. In addition, case studies and examples of previous work and testimonials from satisfied customers would be a great help.
You can leverage referrals as a way to find and gain prospects. Prospects referred to you may be more likely to trust you because they receive your information from someone they trust. Provide them with resources to help them do their own research about your product or services. This may reinforce your genuine interest in helping them and strengthen their certainty in you.
Prepare To Handle Pushback
When you know your stuff and your customers, you know how to best position your value. But, bear in mind that even qualified prospects that are a perfect fit for your solution have objections too. That’s why you need to understand objections and learn how to handle them so that you can present the situation in a favorable perspective and explain to your prospect why your product or service is in a class by itself.
A prospect may object to your respect for them or schedule an appointment. It’s important that you prepare yourself to handle these objections. Once you qualify the prospect and start working toward the close, chances are, you’ll encounter a few pushbacks. We are talking about cold calling, after all. At a minimum you can expect to hear “not interested”, “don’t have time”, “send me an email”. Get ahead of the inevitable and give yourself a counter to every common objective they might encounter during that call. You may ask thoughtful, open-ended questions. When the prospect says something like “It’s too expensive, I don’t know if we have the budget right now”, you might respond with something like this: “I totally understand that price is a concern”.
Script it out whenever you are in doubt. Research your marketplace and know how your product or service stands out among the others. Make sure to align your prospecting efforts with the solutions your company provides.
Focus On Your Goal
Approach your phone call with a specific goal. Focus only on your goal of moving the prospect through the sales process pipeline during your discussion. Avoid moving too far ahead in the process and trying to close the sale during your conversation rather than requesting an appointment. You may also want to ask probing questions during your phone call. This ensures your discussion is more engaging for the prospect and promotes an interactive conversation.
You may also gain valuable information that helps you secure the appointment and later, close the deal. Listen more than you speak because it is important that your conversation is mutually beneficial for you and the prospect. Ensure you listen to their concerns more than you speak to them about yourself. This may help you better understand their needs and how your product or service could benefit them.
Confirm The Details
Once the date and time have been agreed, send a meeting request to confirm the details as soon as possible. Make time to initiate this contact a day beforehand to avoid disappointment. When asking for the meeting, be specific. Setting appointments with prospects takes hard work.
Be prepared to hear a lot more “no” than “yes”, but don’t stop at the first no unless you’re sure it’s a dead end. Send an email immediately after you finish the call with the details about the appointment such as time and date. Do not forget to thank the person for their time and for speaking with you. Following up with a prospect about their upcoming appointment to remind them about it may provide them with an opportunity to cancel. Instead, include a calendar invite with the email to make it easier for the prospect to add the appointment to their personal calendar.
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