Setting an appointment with the right potential clients is the first important step in b2b telesales. Not least because making the right selections at this stage could take you to next year’s game changer relationships. Giving you the chance to come face to face with potential clients, appointments help you to strengthen your business connections and secure exciting pipelines for new business.
However, for an appointment to be of any meaningful value, it needs to be of the right quality and fit your, and the potential client’s criteria. The last thing you want is for your potential client to cancel as soon as you’ve put down the phone, or for either of you to feel the meeting was a waste of time because you didn’t exploit the opportunity to gather detail when you had them on the phone. We share how below.
Pencil it in, or cement an action?
If you tell someone you want to ‘pencil in an appointment’, you’re unwittingly sending out a message that you’re not sure you can help them, and providing them an excuse to cancel. When you’re using the telephone and can’t make eye contact, it can be hard to define how well someone is listening or taking on board what you’re asking them for so b2b telesales needs to be followed up with a meeting if your product or service is of substantial value or if you’re looking for a long term relationship as opposed to a single transaction. So if the appointment isn’t set in stone, the potential client won’t feel obligated to meet the commitment. Many will actually cancel as soon as it feels even a little inconvenient. Instead of giving prospects this ‘easy out’, get them to commit to a firm time and place for the appointment.
Begin by finding out when they’re free to meet and make the appointment as convenient for them as possible. Make it clear that, as far as you’re concerned, the meeting is going ahead. This should help to prevent them from cancelling and ensure the appointment takes place.
Motivation to meet
From your point of view, a meeting is important because it gives you the opportunity to get to know their business a little better. It’s also a valuable chance to get under the prospect’s skin, boost brand awareness and increase your chances of making a sale not just in the short term, but as a valued long term business partner.
It’s really important then that the benefits for your potential client are absolutely clear. When Harrods throw open their doors on sale day, people climb over each other to purchase their products so great is their desire for a shoe sale! Think about how you can create desire, the opportunities your product or service represents to the prospect, and how you are better than the competition, who will also be using b2b telesales to compete for your buyer. If they’re not 100% sure they want to use your products or services, they may be unwilling to commit to an appointment. As salespeople, it’s our job to show them how the meeting will benefit them as well as us.
Before you pick up the phone to make an appointment setting call, try to think of a few good reasons why the potential client should commit to a meeting. For example, as publishers Biz Journals say’s “Who has greater knowledge in the solutions you offer: You or your buyers?” Make sure you think carefully about their context and what you can offer them that will make enough of a difference that they actually want to meet you. If it’s important to them, they’ll meet you because you did your job of communicating the specialness – the differentiators of your business.
When setting an appointment, it’s incredibly important to be clear about when and where the meeting is going to take place. Repeat the time and place at the end of the call and make sure they’ve put it in their diary. It’s also imperative to ensure you know exactly where their premises are so that you are able to find the location easily and efficiently. Check details such as parking.
I’ll be in your area ☹
Finally, b2b telesales gets a bad enough rap without professionals using limp excuses for a meeting such as “I’ll be in your area”. Surprisingly, high numbers of people still think this is an OK strategy. It’s not, it will undermine you and your brand and is highly unlikely to entice a decision maker to give you their time face to face or take you seriously in the future.
Learn more about b2b telesales and making good quality appointments by taking a look around our site, or getting in touch with a member of our team.