One of our favorite lead generation sayings is that within each sale, two sales actually take place: the selling of the appointment, and the sale of the service. Appointment setting, thus, is the first “sale,” and is a crucial step in the purchasing process.
So, what steps can your business take today to increase your sales appointments— all while engaging with only the most qualified leads?
#1. Go after the decision makers themselves. Why try to work your way up when you can just begin at the top? Research who actually makes the decisions and go straight to the person who has the power and is in charge. This is no doubt harder and more intimidating, but if done properly and professionally, can be much more effective and successful in the long run.
#2. Consider showing up in person. According to business coach Terry Corbell, showing your face adds a whole new level of credibility and authenticity to a sales pitch. If you take this route, he advises looking as professional as the CEO of the company would, so that the office staff takes you seriously.
#3. Try contacting more than twice. Despite the fact that it now takes an average of 8 attempts to close a deal (versus only 3.7 in 2007), today’s salesperson only makes an average of 2 attempts at contact. See the disparity here?
#4. Stay simple. People are busy, and the easiest sales are often the simplest ones. When calling prospects, avoid complex jargon they may not understand, and make a conscious effort to explain everything in an easy-to-understand terms as much as possible. When you think back to purchases you’ve made, you were probably less likely to proceed if the conversation got more complicated than you had the time or willingness to comprehend.
#5. Don’t hate rejection. While rejection is never the goal of an appointment-setting sales call, it can lead to potential negotiations down the road— especially if you’re brave enough to ask the prospect (in a professional and non-emotional way) what it was that “broke” the deal for them. This not only shows that you care, but gives you valuable insight into what factors caused them to lose interest, and sets the ante for later negotiations.
#6. Exude confidence. To take The Wolf of Wall Street’s Jordan Belfort’s sales advice, you need to be able to create certainty in another human being to sell. If you don’t sound like you personally eat your product for breakfast and have it on your bedside table at night, you may not be very convincing that the product or service is even worth pursuing. You must have a true passion for the product so that others feel your enthusiasm and want what you’re selling.
#7. Be willing to experiment. One of the worst things a sales team can do is to become complacent in their efforts to make sales appointments— especially if they’re only getting mediocre results. If prospects don’t seem to be biting your bait, consider spicing up your call script. Try connecting with them on a new, more personal level. Remind them that you’re not a sales robot, but a human too. Revise the way you explain your product’s value. In short, don’t be afraid to deviate from your usual dialogue if it means finding a better way to connect with customers.
Successfully setting a sales appointment is just as important as selling the product itself. Adjusting and improving your team’s appointment setting techniques will not only make the rest of the sales process easier— it will result in a higher number of closed deals and increased revenue at the end of the day.