How to Set Appointments: A Comprehensive Guide to Land More Clients!
To set appointments, the business’s sales team typically has to get in contact with the established leads. Once they get in touch with them, they’re responsible for qualifying them as prospective clients that will likely make a definitive decision.
Setting and winning an appointment is critical for your business in order to experience efficiency, productivity, and higher sales and profits. To ensure the success of a sales appointment, the people responsible for this process must be equipped with the right skills.
This blog enumerates the steps to successfully land a sales appointment, replete with actionable tips and templates.
- Know your ideal customer
- Make time for client research
- Prepare an appointment setting script
- Engage your lead in a conversation
- Make scheduling easy for your clients
- Follow-up and avoid no shows
So let’s get started!
1. Know your ideal customer
Setting up an appointment has a few pre-requisites. Before you even start to make dials or send emails at all, you must first be crystal clear on exactly who you want to be talking to. This is where the concept of Ideal Prospect Profiles comes into place.
Creating the Ideal Prospect Profile (IPP) is all about collecting relevant data on your prospects and building up a picture of not only who they are, but what they want and need. If you find this out, you have a much higher chance of giving your prospect what they really want.
If your IPP is skewed, there is significant wastage of time engaging with prospects who were never going to buy from you in the first place. So, the clearer you are about your IPP, the more effective your outreach will be. And, in turn, you’ll be able to get more sales appointments.
Pay close attention to the factors that make an individual or organization a particularly good or bad fit. Think carefully about how you can target these characteristics in your marketing campaigns and identify them in the early stages of a sales conversation.
One of the best ways to tighten up your IPP is to identify who you don’t want to speak to. Who are those candidates you might come across that are likely to not be a fit? Getting very clear on who you don’t want to talk to will ultimately help you clarify exactly the person you want to connect with.
2. Make time for client research
Making time for proper discovery is very important. You need to get to know prospective clients before hitting that send button — otherwise, your email ends up unread, deleted, or marked as spam, like the majority of the other emails people receive every day.
Prospect research is critical to personalizing and delivering a successful sales pitch. Without the appropriate background information, your offer lacks context, personalization, and authority. These three factors are super important when it comes to making appointments and closing a deal.
Consider these statistics from the B2B Digital Marketing Insights Report:
- 90% of business professionals agreed that sales outreach personalized to their industry is very important.
- 83% of business professionals agreed that sales outreach personalized to their specific business problem is very important.
- 70% of business professionals agreed that sales outreach personalized to their specific role within their company is very important.
Looking at these numbers, it’s clear why prospect research is so important to getting sales appointments. How can you speak to a person’s industry, their pain points, or their job role without doing any research? You simply cannot.
It’s imperative that you understand the ins and outs of your prospect’s company before you get on the phone with them. This will help you determine if they’re a good fit for your product or service, and also help you deliver a more precise sales pitch.
Here are some pieces of information you should be on the lookout for –
- Business basics
- Leadership information
- Financial standing
- Technographic information
- Purchase behaviors
- News and trigger events
- Industry background
- Competitive insight
It’s not enough to gather information about the business you’re selling to. You must also research your main point of contact within the company. You should research their –
- Role within the organization
- Professional background
Here are some ways can learn about a prospective client –
- Check any internal resources to see if you already have access to information on your prospect. Make a note if the prospect has recently engaged with your company’s marketing campaigns. This information can provide you with a working idea of their interests and pain points.
- Take a look at their LinkedIn profile for job descriptions, endorsements, recent awards, promotions, and other interests you can use to personalize your conversation.
- Google them to find public social media pages so you can learn more about their personality, interests, motivations, values, and influences.
- Comb through their company website to read news stories, vision statements, product releases, ‘About Us’ information, and any other section that can provide basic context about the company.
- Review websites like G2Crowd, Yelp, or the Better Business Bureau are a valuable source of information on sales prospects. Using this information, you can often determine which of your products or services might help your prospect alleviate common customer complaints.
3. Prepare an appointment setting script
Many salespeople use pre-made scripts they can adjust based on the customer. These scripts typically cover the beginning of a cold call conversation but allow room for the conversation to grow. There are multiple reasons you should write a script for yourself as well:
- A script provides you with a road map for the conversation before it begins, giving you a sense of control over the call.
- Having a roadmap can help you give the client the impression that you are knowledgeable, and that you can help them find solutions to their pain points.
- A script helps you plot out what points you want to make and how you want to approach the customer and reference appropriate facts and statistics.
- Lastly, a script creates a standard across all your calls so you can accurately gauge what approaches work best.
There are a few different approaches you can use when creating your script. Here are some examples you can use in different situations that may help you schedule an appointment:
- Use the research you have already done on the client to position your product as a solution to the client’s challenges. This can create interest in your product and make it easier to make an appointment for a discovery call. Your appointment script can look a little like this –
- If a previous client has given you the contact of a new prospect, you may have an advantage because customers are more likely to trust the advice of someone they know instead of a stranger. In fact, 73% of executives prefer to work with sales professionals referred by someone they know. In this case, you could use a script like this –
Note: Remember that you can add improvements to the script as you make more calls and continue to refine your sales approach.
4. Engage your lead in a conversation
The goal for your initial interactions should be to start a conversation. The focus should not be on the fact that they’re speaking to a salesperson. Instead, the spotlight should be on your product or service’s value proposition. To do that, start a conversation that disarms, enlights, and compliments.
A sales representative doesn’t have much time to catch their prospect’s interest. Keep in mind that most people go into a rejection mode as soon as they realize that they’re being sold to. The aim is to create an opener that intrigues them enough to break through that rejection filter. This way you can get them interested enough to get a sales appointment or at least hear you out.
Usually, if you ask the right questions and provide the right information, you’ll keep them engaged long enough to get them asking you questions. Each interaction should build on the other so the conversation earns another response. According to customers, the three most important elements of a positive sales experience are a salesperson who –
- Listen to their needs (69%)
- Aren’t being pushy (61%)
- Provide relevant information (61%)
- Respond in a timely manner (51%)
As soon as they’re curious, engaged, and qualified, you can slowly begin to share examples of how clients with similar pain points, interests, or needs have benefited from meeting with you.
One of the most important factors to get the appointment is bringing value to that next step. If prospects think that you’re just scheduling an appointment to try to sell them stuff, they’re going to be pretty guarded and uncomfortable. But once you create some context for why that next step makes sense through your recommendation, they’ll be far more likely to agree to that next step – and actually show up.
If you need an hour to deliver your pitch, then you’re talking too much and should work on tightening up your pitch. Instead, you should only be taking up 15-20 minutes of their time. If they want to meet with you again after the first appointment, that’s when you can get more of their time.
5. Make scheduling easy for your clients
Slow and steady doesn’t win the race when it comes to lead responses. According to this statistic from Sales Training Specialists, the first vendors to respond to leads win 35-50% of sales. Clearly, you need to get the appointment and meet your prospects as soon as you possibly can.
In a time when online meetings are the norm, losing a prospect to an inefficient meeting scheduling process is inexcusable. Think of all the elements that might be affecting your appointment booking flow. It could be the hassle of back and forth email or the endless search for common open slots.
Getting attention and building the case for an appointment should be the tough part – not the scheduling of the appointment itself. This is where a scheduling software can help you.
These software provide a booking page that you can configure according to the rules that you specify. This helps your prospects view your availability in real-time and self-schedule their meetings with you.
Not only does scheduling software make the experience of booking an appointment frictionless for prospects, but it also reduces the workload on sales development reps (SDRs) and salespeople.
Save precious hours of your day with Appointy’s meeting scheduling software. Explore more features here!
Since you can share the link to your booking page practically anywhere, make sure you add it to your e-signature – that way prospects can reach out to you without any prompting from your end.
We also advise you to link this booking page as a call-to-action on your website as prominently as possible. This will help people already interested in your product or service contact you directly and expedite their journey through the sales cycle.
6. Follow-up and avoid no shows
Securing the sales appointment doesn’t mean you can let your guard down. Unfortunately, getting “no-showed” is quite common and any salesperson can tell you it is a standard occurrence.
The key to preventing no-shows is by following up strategically, and you can do this in a couple of ways. Note that text messages are particularly effective, with open rates hovering around 98%!
- Start with a text that confirms the appointment. Make sure that you send this text as soon as you’re done with your call with your prospect.
- Send out a courtesy reminder before your appointment. We recommend that you look into your data to figure out the best day and time to schedule this message.
According to a study by Brevet, 80% of sales require an average of five follow-ups in order to close the deal. However, 44% of sales reps follow up with a prospect only once before giving up. The takeaway is to keep at it and stay persistent.
Despite your best efforts, your client may still not turn up to your appointment. At this point, you cannot do with just a basic template to follow up. Take this opportunity to provide value to your prospect. For instance, you could send an email such as –
By sending resources, you’ve given your prospect the opportunity to educate themselves about your product/service, and also assert why you might be the best pick for the job.
Remember that while a potential client’s time is valuable, yours is too. If there are frequent no-shows from a particular prospect, evaluate if it is worth your time (or theirs) to pursue this.
That’s a wrap on how to set appointments!
Getting leads and securing meetings can sometimes feel like an irrational game. It’s imperative that it doesn’t become that, and you bring some reflection to tune out the noise.
Your strategy should include tracking all the contacts you make according to the platform you use, to the smallest detail – the method, tone, message and media you use. Once you’re successful in identifying a trend, try it out more widely. By testing, measuring, analyzing and repeating the process, you’ll finetune your appointment setting process flow and in turn, increase your chances of making more appointments.
Clearly, your focus should be on core tasks pertaining to sales and business development, and not unnecessary email back and forth.
So what if we tell you there was a way to cut out tasks that eat into your productivity? Say hello to Appointy’s online meeting scheduling tool and eliminate any friction from your appointment setting process!
With a booking page set according to rules that you specify, your clients can view your availability in real-time and self-schedule meetings with you. The appointment is visible in the calendar app of your choosing, complete with a Zoom link for added efficiency. You can even opt to send automated email or text reminders to your client to prevent no-shows!
We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, and resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day.
If you have any thoughts on this blog or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below.
We love a good talk!