6 min read

Appointment setting: How to win more sales calls

Appointment setting: How to win more sales calls
10:57

Appointment setting means scheduling meetings with potential buyers. It’s essential for kick-starting the sales process. 📅

Check out this guide to effortlessly secure more discovery meetings. Inside, you'll find insider tips, a practical script, and handy tools to help you book more appointments with ease. 

 

A sales person at a laptop with a calendar, focused on appointment setting.

What is appointment setting?  

In sales, appointment setting is the process of scheduling a meeting with a potential customer to start the sales process. The primary goal is to create an opportunity for a discovery meeting to see if the customer's needs match the company's services. 

Appointment setters (dedicated booking people or teams) typically follow a set script and target a broad range of people who are willing to talk, often through cold calling.

What’s the difference between lead generation and appointment setting?  

Lead generation and sales appointment setting are two distinct stages in the sales process.  

Lead generation is about attracting potential customers. This phase involves identifying individuals or businesses that might benefit from your company's products or services, typically through marketing efforts like advertising or engaging on social media. 

Appointment setting is a more focused activity. Once you have a list of potential leads, the goal of appointment setting is to reach out and arrange meetings. In these discussions, you explore the lead’s specific needs and how your company can fulfil them, moving the sales process forward. 

Inbound vs outbound appointment setting 

Inbound appointment setting involves scheduling meetings with warm leads who already showed interest in a company's offerings.  

Outbound appointment setting, on the other hand, is about proactively contacting potential customers to generate new leads.  

Inbound Appointment Setting

This method handles incoming inquiries from interested leads. These prospects might contact the company through the website, email, social media, or in response to marketing campaigns. The primary goal of inbound appointment setting is to convert these leads into scheduled meetings.

Outbound Appointment Setting

This is about proactive outreach. The company's sales team contacts potential customers who might not yet know about its offerings. This approach is about generating new leads and creating opportunities for sales meetings through initial contact and introduction. 

When should you consider appointment setting as part of your sales strategy?

Is one of your main goals to boost the number of qualified sales meetings? Then appointment setting could be a key part of your sales strategy.

With appointment setters handling the initial stages of the sales process, the sales team can concentrate on what they do best – closing deals and building customer relationships.

Picture your sales team focusing their efforts not on maybes, but on engaging with leads that are already leaning towards a 'yes.' This focused approach not only streamlines your sales pipeline but also targets interactions with leads more likely to convert, driving efficiency and sales growth.

Should you outsource appointment setting?

Are you a business owner recognizing the importance of appointment setting but don't have the resources in-house? Outsourcing to an appointment setting agency can be a practical and cost-effective choice. It lets you tap into specialized expertise without the extra cost of hiring and training a new team.

This way, your current team can stay focused on closing sales and other essential business activities, while the outsourced appointment setters schedule the meetings with prospects.

The 5-step process for booking appointments that turn into deals  

The appointment setting process typically involves five key steps:

  1. Research and Targeting: Begin by identifying and researching potential leads. This involves understanding their business, needs, and how your product or service can provide value to them.
  2. Initial Contact: Reach out to these potential leads through cold calling, emailing, or other communication channels. The aim here is to make a positive first impression and introduce your company and its offerings.
  3. Qualifying Leads: During or after the initial contact, determine whether the lead has the potential to become a customer. This involves assessing their interest, need for your product/service, and their purchasing authority or capacity.
  4. Scheduling the Appointment: Once a lead is qualified, schedule an appointment by coordinating times and sending a calendar invite. This can be for an in-person, phone, or virtual meeting.  
  5. Confirmation and Follow-Up: After scheduling the appointment, confirm the details with the lead. Close to the meeting date, send a reminder and any necessary information to ensure the meeting goes smoothly.

But isn’t cold calling dead?  

Think cold calling is a thing of the past? Stina Dansie, CEO and founder of Good Call Oy and lovingly called the 'Cold Calling Queen,' is challenging that notion. She's on a mission to transform traditional sales calls into opportunities for meaningful connection.

It's about a mindset shift from being an interruption to being a valuable problem-solver. Her focus is on understanding and solving client challenges, not just selling products.

Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of a cold call that dives straight into a hard sell.

But imagine receiving a call that starts with a friendly introduction and a timely solution to a problem you've been facing. The caller is informed, attentive, and genuinely interested in helping you. By the end, you’re saying, "Yes, let's schedule this meeting; I'm excited to hear more!"

This is the kind of effective, solution-oriented call that Stina Dansie advocates for, leaving prospects eagerly anticipating what you have to offer them.

3 tips for successful cold call appointment setting

  1. Qualify your leads: Before you even pick up the phone, do your homework. Effective lead scoring helps you prioritise your calls by identifying which prospects are most likely to convert. Look into the lead’s background, their company’s position in the industry, and any previous interactions they might have had with your brand.  
  2. Resist the urge to pitch and sell: The first call isn’t about closing a deal; it’s about building a connection. Resist the temptation to launch into a sales pitch right away. Instead, focus on understanding the prospect's needs and challenges. Ask open-ended questions, listen actively, and show genuine interest in their responses. Building rapport creates a foundation of trust and paves the way for future sales discussions. 
  3. Leverage Technology and Automation: Utilise technology and sales automation tools to streamline your cold calling process. CRM systems can provide valuable insights about leads, helping you tailor your approach. Automation tools can assist with scheduling calls and follow-ups, ensuring you don’t miss opportunities.

What’s the perfect script for appointment setting?

Appointment setters typically follow a set script. The idea is to have a structured guide that ensures key points are covered and the conversation stays on track.  

Stina Dansie recommends treating the script more like a conversation guide or a storyboard rather than a strict script to be followed word for word. This method enables salespeople to stay organised yet flexible, allowing for authentic connections with potential clients. 

 Consider this script framework:

Opening: "Hi, this is [your name] from [your company]. I hope I'm catching you at a good time?" 

Introduction: "I noticed that [prospect's company] specialises in [prospect's industry]. At [your company], we offer [specific solution or service] that might enhance and support your [specific business area or process]." 

Value Proposition: "I’m not calling to sell you anything. My aim today is purely to understand your situation and see if we can offer any helpful solutions." 

Addressing a Challenge: "Are there any specific challenges you're facing? Understanding these will help us see how our services might align with your goals." 

Ask for Appointment: "Could we schedule a brief call, perhaps next Wednesday at 3 PM, to discuss how our solutions could align with your needs and add value to the services you offer?" 

Closing: "Thanks for your time, [prospect's name]. Looking forward to our chat next Wednesday at 3 PM to see how we can help. Have a great day!" 

Remember, this script is a starting point. Tailor it to your own style and the person you're speaking to.

💡A key tip is to suggest a specific meeting time. It reduces the mental effort for the prospect and creates a sense of action, rather than leaving the interaction open-ended.

What are the best tools for appointment setting?

To have a sustainable outbound sales pipeline, you not only need to have a well thought out strategy in place but also the right tools to make it happen. These tools are great for streamlining the entire process: 

CRM Software: Essential for keeping track of your appointments and managing your lead database, CRM software is a cornerstone tool in appointment setting. It helps organise and monitor every interaction with your prospects. 

Appointment Scheduling Software: Tools like Calendly remove the back-and-forth of scheduling. They allow clients to easily view your availability and set up meetings, simplifying the booking process. 

Outbound Calling Solutions: Specialised tools like Outbound by Enreach are key for refining your appointment scheduling. They enable you to focus your efforts on leads with the highest conversion potential, ensuring your time is spent where it matters most. 

 

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Streamline your sales appointments with Outbound

Outbound by Enreach is a cloud-based tool designed to simplify your sales outreach. It merges powerful calendar features with advanced contact center capabilities, giving you a one-stop solution for managing sales calls. 

Sync it with your favorite calendars – Google, Office 365, Outlook, Apple – so you can keep everything in one place. 

appointment-setting-1

For sales reps, this means you can send Google Meet and Teams links directly from Outbound. Say goodbye to the back-and-forth of scheduling and hello to more meetings with less effort. The convenience of instant links makes it easier for prospects to join, boosting your chances of getting those all-important meetings.

Discover Outbound

 

Struggling to find the right outbound calling solution?   

This guide equips you with 10 key questions, must-have features, and a 10-point vendor evaluation checklist to make an informed decision. 

OutboundEssentialGuide

Download your free guide now

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