Make it meaningful: That’s the secret behind successful B2B appointment setting.
You love your product, but why should everyone else?
Getting the opportunity to prove the value of your product is one of the hardest parts of business development, and the most difficult task for sales reps.
Research by Hubspot found more than 40% of salespeople say prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process, followed by closing (36%) and qualifying (22%).
The wild west of lead generation
Most B2B sales depend on speaking directly with a potential client. If you can get in front of a prospect (either in person, on the phone or online), you can start making a sale, right?
If you know your product is better than your competitors’, proving that to prospective customers should be easy. The challenge is getting a chance to present it to them in the first place.
Your success as a salesperson requires you to become an outstanding appointment setter.
Yet, 85% of prospects and customers have said they are dissatisfied with their on-the-phone experience.
Who will benefit from B2B appointment setting tips?
These tips are not just for professional salespeople. In fact, anyone who is responsible for developing a business should be skilled at setting up appointments. SMEs, e-commerce companies, and B2B organisations alike will all benefit from this advice. Need proof?
- 74% of companies say converting leads into customers is their top priority. (Hubspot, 2022)
- 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. (MarketingSherpa)
- Sales reps that call prospects 6 times will increase their contact rates by 70%. (CallHippo, 2021)
7 essential tips for setting more appointments
Here are seven essential strategies and behaviours which can help you set more B2B appointments.
1. What’s in it for the prospect?
After you’ve reached a decision-maker, your next task is to discover whether your company has something that feels valuable to your prospect.
Before you even open your mouth, your prospect is already in a defensive position. People will instantly refuse to set an appointment with you if you only seem interested in meeting your own goals.
Every moment of your call must be focused on how you can help them, not selfishness. It should have nothing to do with you or what your company seeks to achieve.
Look critically at your offering and product marketing material. If you cannot find a benefit to your listener – either right now or in the foreseeable future – move on to where you can offer value.
2. You don’t NEED to convert every prospect
In his book No: The Only Negotiating System You Need for Work and Home, author Jim Camp reminds us that while there are some things you do need like air, water and food, your business does not need to win every single deal. When prospects sense fear in your voice (fear of not making a sale), they instinctively pull back.
At least 50% of prospects are not a good fit for the product or service that you are selling. (Sales Insights Lab)
Remember that not every prospect will be a good match for your product. You’re looking for the ones that are.
3. You know your product, so you don’t need a script
There are many ways a conversation with a prospect can go. Even the best script can never account for all the possibilities. When you rely on a word for word script, it sounds like you do not care about the conversation.
Here’s what to do instead:
- Make notes on your key conversation points stay focused on the main goal.
- Only ask relevant questions that establish whether there is a need for your product. If there is, agree on how you will follow up.
4. Other companies love our product, and so will you
One of the best ways to make an impact and lead a prospect to respond with genuine interest is to offer an example of how you helped a similar customer with a problem that they can relate to.
For example, you could say, “Example Company was losing a lot of time and money because their bookings system wasn’t handling customer data efficiently. We introduced our system and they began saving £20,000 a year, with a payback time of six months. Have you ever experienced any problems with your booking system?”
Short, sweet and speaks straight to the bottom line.
5. Keep your questions open and positive
Appointment setters miss great prospects by asking closed questions which shut down the conversation.
Asking “Would you like to set up a time for us to talk more about your business?” leaves only two outcomes: a yes or no.
Instead, keep your questions open. Try saying: “Which day would be best for you, Thursday or Friday?” Prospects are more likely to set up a meeting when questions are rephrased openly and positively with two or three options.
6. Be careful with the word ‘interested’
By default, many appointment setters find themselves using lines like: “I’m calling to check if this is something you would be interested in.” This, again, is a closed question with only a yes or no answer. And it leaves you with the difficult job of convincing the prospect on the spot that your product – out of all your competitors – is the best for them.
You should have already established that they are interested by finding out if the product will benefit their business. Your priority here is to arrange a follow-up call so you can take the conversation further, not start a sales pitch.
7. Never stop learning
There is no single correct way to cold call or set appointments. The only secret is to be self-aware and have a keen eye for detail. If your approach does not work or you make a mistake, take note and learn from it.
If you find something that works, keep doing it… and find ways to do it even better.
Appointment setting services
Outsourcing your appointment setting can be a cost-effective way to produce a reliable supply of fully qualified B2B leads. If you’re considering employing an outside agency, make sure you carry out careful research before you choose a company.
Your business’ reputation depends on how you are represented during each call. Look for appointment setting services whose ethos is compatible with your own and who communicate with you openly and consistently through every stage of your enquiries.
At Straightahead UK, every B2B appointment setting call we make accurately reflects the way our clients want to be represented. Our strong ethical values and script-free conversational approach ensures your business’ reputation is always protected.