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Top Tips for Laser Precision in Appointment Setting

Its not a stretch to think that every business that relies on appointment setters shares the same pressing concern: how to get the biggest return on investment (ROI) for each dollar spent. As marketing budgets continue to restrict, the production onus is squarely on appointment setters to drive interest and streamline qualified leads. Of course, theres a right and wrong way to accomplish these mission-critical tasks.

High-tech Yields to the Human Element

Peter Ostrow of the E-Commerce Times makes some poignant comments on the state of appointment setting in Business 2.0 that might be considered a paradigm shift. Ostrow points out that despite the prevalence of technology in increasing production and tracking, the human connection is actually responsible for communication growth between business and prospect.

According to data collected by Aberdeen in a March 2008 survey of more than 200 companies, organizations spend 33 percent of their overall lead generation budget on outsourced business-to-business appointment setters. The bottom line? Those appointment setting professionals had better be good.

What Could Go Wrong?

Sometimes the best way to discover best-practices is to learn from the mistakes of others. Thats exactly what the Generation Sales Group did when, in 2008, they examined over 40,000 cold-call presentations made by appointment setters across a variety of industries. Some of the findings revealed serious errors in procedure and judgment that can leave a business no better off than it was before with respect to qualifying leads.

  • Mismanagement of Objective Statements: This is sheerly a result of inadequate training. Appointment setting professionals had difficulty in answering simple and basic questions, leading to a failure in what the group describes as the Must-React System.
  • Dropping the Product-Benefit Ball: Even using product-benefit statements shows a lack of creativity, as few, if any, prospects respond to them at all. Using them in the opening can be considered instant death of interest.
  • Pushing Sales Call Attendance: Simply stated, no one is going to waste valuable working time listening in on a sales call for which they have no prior information. A brief teaser including the call value is standard operating procedure for this technique.

21st-century Appointment Setting

In his 21st Century Sales Series, Townsen Wardlaw goes into great depth covering best-practices for qualifying a prospect. Although his lesson covers telephone and face-to-face exchanges, appointment setters can learn a great deal about how to approach and work a prospect in a relaxed, yet thorough, pitch.

The crux of his article centers on focusing on the right objective for the call. If the purpose is to set aside some time later for the prospect to clear his or her schedule for a sales presentation, the initial contact call is not the time to pitch. If your appointment setting professionals are salespeople at heart, this may be a tough task to master. With proper training, they can become experts at sticking to the objective at hand, thus increasing the likelihood of the call-back.


E-commerce Times

Three Value Logic Sales Institute (PDF)

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