10 Tips to improve your appointment setting mistakes
Making appointments with people, particularly when you cold call them can be extremely difficult. Many potential clients are very busy, don’t want cold calls, or don’t want to take the time to learn what you have to offer them, no matter how much it could help them.Not only is their time valuable, but so is yours.
So, how can you increase your ROI, and have more successful appointments set?
Here are a few tips:
Plan ahead. Make sure, particularly if you’re cold calling, to research your prospective client. Know what they do, how they do it, and how your product can help them. Think about meeting their needs, particularly when you’re inserting yourself into their day. How can you help them? How can you make their busy work day flow more easily? How can you help their clients? Or, how can you put more money in their pockets? Learn their needs and find out.
Act like you’re face to face. If you smile and act professionally, it comes through in your voice over the phone. Relax, take some deep breaths before you place the call, and go into it cool, calm and collected. It will set your client at ease, rather than putting them on edge because you are nervous about the call. Don’t get defensive if the potential client is short with you. After all, you’ve entered their space. Remain calm, patient and professional to win them over.
Give them an offer they can’t refuse. Many callers will object or want to hang up right away, so it’s important to tell them something special to get their attention and keep them on the phone. Running a special? Tell them about it right away. First time customer discount? They need to know in the first few moments of the call. Hook them with something great, so that you can keep them on the line.
Use objections as an opportunity. Maybe they have a good reason for not wanting to use you. But this can be a golden opportunity to set up an appointment. Use your old clients as an example, if it helps. “Company X felt the same way you do (or Actually, we get that a lot). But, after they (shopped around, did some research, heard us out—any number of variables will do), they found that our company was an excellent fit for them. Why don’t I set you up with a meeting and you can learn more?” Explaining that they’re not alone in their opinion, and addressing how you can help them is an excellent way to turn an objection into an appointment.
Make sure the conversation is two ways. Do not ever talk AT your potential client. Make sure you are engaging them with back and forth conversation. Ask questions, let them tell you something about themselves and their business. And, listen when they talk! Use the information they give you to tailor the call to them, and give them the best possible customer service experience you can. This way, you encourage them to want more from you, and your company. The more you learn through this back and forth, the better you can allow your company to meet their needs.
Don’t fake it. Ask questions if you don’t understand something. Never fake an answer just to keep them on the line. That will only get you into trouble later, particularly if you provide false information that they uncover down the line. If they ask you something that’s beyond your knowledge base, ask someone near by, or ask them if you can call them back with an answer. Explain that you’d rather give them factual information than a guess, so that they have as much information as possible when they make decisions about your working relationship. They will respect your ability to admit you need help, know your limits as an employee, your commitment to excellence, and your follow through.
Never give up. Most prospects will object at least once. They don’t need your services right now. They’re busy, let them call you back. They don’t have time to hear your spiel. But don’t give up. Get creative, and ask polite questions to get to the bottom of their rejection. Don’t ask why flat out, because that will lead to a firm answer, and the conversation will be over. If they tell you they’re too busy, ask something like, “Why don’t you tell me a little about what your day is like?”. Or if they don’t need your services, consider asking how they are meeting XYZ need that you can fulfill. Then use the information they give you to help them understand that they do need to make time for you, and they do need your services.
Interested, but busy. Great! Your caller is interested. But when they tell you their schedule, it’s legitimately jam-packed. That’s ok. Be persistent. Set the appointment for a month out, or even two if necessary. Do what you need to be flexible with their schedule. If they have an opening after your normal business hours, consider scheduling someone to be there, just to get this client, who’s actually interested, in to see you. If you’re willing to go the extra mile for them, they’ll appreciate it in the long run.
Meet their needs. Make sure that you are listening to the prospect’s needs, and cater your product or services to that. Explain how you can help them provide a faster turnaround time to their clients, or give them a cleaner product, or whatever the case may be. Again, give them an offer they can’t refuse, and they won’t.
Buh-bye. When you’re closing a successful call, be sure to repeat the time, place and date of the appointment, and if possible have the prospect repeat the information back to you. Provide the address if needed, so there’s no confusion, as well as the phone number they can call you at if they need to reschedule for any reason, or if they have further questions. If it’s an unsuccessful call, make sure to remain kind, and professional. Just because they said no now, doesn’t mean they won’t say yes in the future.
Calling prospective clients can be a difficult and daunting task, especially if you’re calling them cold. But, with the help of these simple tips, you can increase your ROI, and book more solid, worthwhile appointments for your company. Which means, your company is serving more of the community, and they’re making more money. And that means everybody wins.
This post is created by members of the Skedify team.