Successfully setting appointments with valuable leads is essential for building your sales pipeline. But how do you maintain a consistent flow of appointments? Prospects can be elusive, their priorities can change. They get new jobs or move to new companies. Budgets expand and contract. Getting that appointment requires some serious agility.
Here are five different ways to get better results from your B2B appointment setting efforts. Embrace all five, and you’ll be blown away by the number of appointments on your calendar.
1. Aim high
Cold calling might sound intimidating, but it’s extremely effective – especially when it connects you to a decision maker.
Say you’ve got a collection of business cards from people you met at the last trade show. When you follow up with those contacts, try to find out who has the authority to choose your solution. The higher up the value chain you climb, the greater your chances of showing the right person how your offering addresses a critical business issue.
2. Create a realistic timeline
Booking appointments with targets can take more time than you think. People go on vacation, take family leave, and spend inordinate amounts of time off site or in meetings. It could take several attempts to secure an appointment, so be realistic when estimating how long it will take to connect with a lead.
Also be mindful of your sales cycle. If it’s typically a six-month cycle and you need to hit certain revenue goals by a certain date, start booking appointments at least six months in advance. Otherwise, your efforts could miss the mark.
3. Focus on objectives
Ultimately, an initial appointment is an opportunity to understand the critical business challenges confronting your prospect and an opportunity to frame your solutions vis-à-vis their needs. It is not to spend an hour extolling the virtues or your company and products. It’s to find out what problems the contact is having and determine whether it makes sense for the contact to speak with sales.
4. Anticipate obstacles
From gatekeepers and “straight-to-voicemail” transfers, to impatient or unaccommodating contacts, you will encounter obstacles during your efforts to set appointments. Be sure to think through what potential clients might ask and be prepared with data, value-added collateral, and thorough, thoughtful explanations. And if you’re expecting to leave any voicemails, don’t forget to prepare a message that’s friendly, professional and most of all, compelling.
5. Expect to reschedule
A certain percentage of scheduled appointments are “no-shows.” Contacts get called into last-minute meetings or have other, more pressing issues to address. Doing confirmation calls a few days prior to the appointment will help to reduce the number of no-shows. Bear in mind many of the no-shows are willing to reschedule the appointment. It’s all part of the appointment setting “game,” so hang in there!
Start setting valuable appointments today
Intelemark can help you connect with decision makers, overcome the obstacles to consistent appointment setting, and secure meetings with valuable contacts. If it’s time to start scheduling more appointments with leads that are likely to convert, contact Intelemark today!