Are you sabotaging your appointment setting campaign before you even begin? “Of course not,” you say, “Why would I want to do that?”
No one wants to, but often even a campaign you believe is well thought out is doomed to failure before it begins. Here are a few simple steps you can take to ensure success before you begin your next introductory calling campaign.
Ask Engaging Questions
Have you ever got that telemarketing call from someone who is obviously not interested in offering a solution to your needs, but instead drones on and on about their own product or service, rarely engaging you, the potential buyer? Once you’ve gotten the decision-maker on the line, don’t talk about yourself and your company. Instead, ask some questions that enable you to learn more about your prospect or their situation – then make sure that you listen. To set that appointment you must engage your listener in a dialogue. As you write your script make sure that it is conversational and filled with questions that will generate more than a yes or no answer. Ask compelling questions that pull from your prospects the information you need to know to help them solve their problems. For example, at MarketReach, we asks our prospect questions around what their lead generation efforts have been to date, the kinds of responses they’ve received, the kinds of prospect lists they own, etc.
A Compelling Message
A written script helps you control the conversation and offers you a well thought out guideline (and it is only intended to be a guideline). One of the most common mistakes people make in developing a sales script is to focus on the features of their business, rather than the needs of their prospects. Once you understand those needs, ask yourself if your message and offer are compelling enough to get them to act. Can you share with them references of clients they have heard of? Or ways in which you’ve met the needs of companies exactly like theirs (brief case studies)? How can you offer them peace of mind or reduced costs? Often, calling prospects that are in the same industry as a current client will give you the credibility you need to gain their trust and respect.
Set Realistic Expectations
How many phone calls can you realistically make in an hour? A good average is 15 to 25 dials per hour, but that can vary depending on the script, the individual salesperson, and how detailed a conversation he or she has with each contact. A positive response to the first few questions in your phone call means that you will spend more time on the phone with that particular person and bring down your overall average number of dials. How many calls you make often reflects the number of appointments, but quality of conversation is just as important. A salesperson that has a high dialing record but no meaningful conversations is inefficient. A salesperson that has meaningful conversations with a small number of prospects could also be seen as inefficient. Balancing the number of dials with the number of meaningful conversations and keeping good records make for the best appointment setting campaigns!
How many positive responses (i.e. appointments) should you expect? Again, it depends on many variables -from your branding efforts to date, how compelling the message and how accurate the list, to other elements out of your control like how loyal your prospects are to their current vendor. For some campaigns, one positive response per hour is reasonable, while for others it might be one positive response per nine hours of calling.