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How to succeed at Appointment Setting

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 Back

To be successful at appointment setting you need to have the right caller delivering the right message to the right person in your target market.

Professional appointment setting companies make this look easier than it actually is because of the systems and skills they have developed over many years and many campaigns.

If you are thinking about running your appointment setting in-house, there are many factors you will need to consider.  Here are the key elements that are essential to operating it successfully:

  1. Make appointment setting the #1 priority: If you give someone two tasks and one is cold calling, you can be sure that the other will be given first priority every time. So ideally you need a dedicated resource focused only on cold calling. But how do you avoid burn out and keep them focused and motivated? Rather than hire full time resources, hire part time telemarketers. This will make them more productive and will create a team environment.
  2. Apointment setting takes time: A good telemarketer should make about 15-20 phone calls per hour. Because decision makers are not always available when they call, on average they will speak with 5-8 decision makers per hour. If it takes 20 presentations to decision makers to generate 1 appointment, you will need to allocate 4 hours of cold calling per appointment. So, if you want 10 appointments each week, you will need to allow at least 40 hours of cold calling each week.
  3. Sell the appointment not the product: Many products and services are too complex to sell over the phone. A face to face meeting will give your sales team the best opportunity to uncover needs, sell the benefits and close the sale. The cold calling script must be written with the sole objective of setting the appointment not selling your product or service.
  4. Set targets and monitor results: KPI’s will vary depending on the product and industry. The key indicators you should track include:
    1. number of hours worked per week
    2. number of calls made per hour
    3. number of decision makers presented to per hour
    4. number of presentations it takes to set each appointment

    These figures will give you the ability to monitor conversion rates, identify trends and fluctuations and measure your telemarketer’s success.

  5. Push for a good outcome: Ensure your telemarketer is not accepting easy rejections such as “send me some information” or “keep in touch”. The best outcome from a cold call is obviously a “yes”, but a “no” is often better than “I’m not sure”. Train your telemarketer to work through objections and to secure a “yes” or “no” outcome wherever possible.
  6. Identify and nurture future opportunities: A prospect may be interested in your product or service but not ready or able to meet now. It’s important that these prospects are followed up consistently so that future opportunities are not missed. The conversion rates from call backs tend to be much higher. So make sure your telemarketer has access to a good CRM giving them the ability to schedule call backs and record call notes for future reference.   
  7. Rejection is never personal: To avoid becoming disheartened by rejection, focus your telemarketer on their KPI’s rather than the outcome of every phone call. If you know that they will need to speak with an average of 20 prospects before they find one who will want an appointment, you can motivate them through the 19 “no’s” they will get along the way.
  8. Celebrate and reward results: Appointment setting is a tough job. Don’t shut your telemarketer away in a corner and expect them to produce great results. Make them part of the team and celebrate their wins – publicly if you can. Implement a reward system that recognises good performance. Remember the sale starts with the appointment they set.

Of course you will only get good results if you have the right person making the calls in the first place, but these key elements will give you the best opportunity for successful appointment setting.

Richard Forrest

Managing Director


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