Appointment setting is an integral part of telemarketing. As @townsendwardlaw puts it:
“It does not matter how eloquent, persuasive, good looking or charismatic you are if you never get the chance to position yourself in front of a prospect – in-person or over the phone.”
Although it’s crucial to telemarketing success, helping your business to make sales and generate valuable leads, appointment setting is notoriously difficult. Convincing your contact to commit to putting a date in the diary requires skill, patience and understanding, so it’s incredibly important your telemarketers know exactly what they’re doing if your company is going to have the best possible chance of success.
1. Begin with an open question
In previous posts, we’ve talked about the importance of beginning with an open question during telemarketing calls, and appointment setting is no different. Asking an open question will help you to catch your prospect off guard and help you to connect with the person you’re speaking to. Once you’ve got a conversation going, it will be a lot easier for you to raise the subject of appointment setting and get the ball rolling.
2. Don’t be afraid to go in cold
Ideally, when making appointment setting calls you should be contacting people who have already had some sort of relationship with your business. Decision makers are very unlikely to set a date with someone on the first call. Work together with your marketing and sales departments to develop lists of potential customers who are well suited to the products or services you have to offer. If your list is well profiled and you have something genuinely interesting, you shouldn’t be afraid to pick up the telephone to a potential buyer. The telephone is a great way of engaging buyers in a one-to-one conversation about something which could help them improve their business. You can’t direct a mailing, email or any other medium to ask questions and build a discussion around the unique needs of a buyer, telemarketing can do that.
3. Build a rapport
People are always more likely to make appointments with telemarketers that they like. Use your open question to get a conversation going and then ask insightful questions about the company and person you’re speaking with to build rapport. Once you’ve got a dialogue going, you should be able to bring up appointment setting fairly naturally.
4. Don’t be aggressive
No one wants to feel forced into making an appointment so whatever you do, avoid being overly keen or aggressive. If the person you’re speaking to doesn’t want to make an appointment now, ask for permission to contact them again in the future and leave things on a friendly, positive note.
5. If at first you don’t succeed, try again
Most decision makers won’t set an appointment on the first telemarketing call, especially if you’re calling cold. Work towards setting an appointment by getting their consent to call again. Calling the company on more than one occasion and building a relationship with the contact you’re speaking to will make them a lot more likely to put a date in the diary.
6. Get referrals
Word of mouth recommendations are incredibly powerful. Wherever possible, try to get your customers to refer your business to other companies that might be interested in what you offer. If you can mention the name of a business they trust during your conversation, the decision maker will be a lot more likely to hear you out and set an appointment for a future meeting.
Find out more about effective and innovative telemarketing techniques by exploring the information on our site today.