How to succeed with appointment setting over the phone – our top five tips

How do you succeed with appointment setting? It’s about a lot of different factors, naturally, and if there was a foolproof formula for success no one would hire us to help them. After many years’ experience, however, it’s clear to us that there are some factors that almost always contribute to more effective appointment setting over the phone.

Simon Kebedom, our site manager in our London office, shares his top tips:

1. Change is good – and contributes to success

This will vary a lot from one company to another, and not everyone will be able to do something about it. But if you can offer your appointment setters variety and change in their day-to-day work, do! Appointment setting can be monotonous work at the best of times, and that’s often noticeable. A pitch that becomes increasingly monotonous will unfortunately also most likely become less and less effective – but something as simple as getting to call businesses in different industries or people in different jobs can make a big difference and boost success.

2. Find the right balance – prepare, but not too much

We want to say that you should come well-prepared to every call, but too much preparation can be a waste of time in appointment setting. In reality, as a meeting booker you must be able to arouse curiosity without going into too much detail about the service or product the customer will eventually buy.

You need to know your stuff in order to sound confident – absolutely. But the goal of appointment setting is to bring the person onto the next step, which is to talk to a sales person with the knowledge and expertise to answer more detailed questions. Make sure to be aware of the company’s values and what’s important to them, and by all means, be perceptive and pay attention to buying signals – but remember that this is not about showing what you know about the product. Capture and respond to the customer’s interest, but keep the conversation short and concise.

3. Use a structure and a script

When it comes to keeping things short and sweet, a manuscript can help. Some people like to be creative and spontaneous, and there’s nothing wrong with that – but it’s always good to at least have a structure there to fall back on. All calls are different, and different people ask different questions at different times, but certain parts are always included – like who you are and why you’re calling – and elements that have worked well for your appointment setting in the past should obviously be taken advantage of and used again.

4. Evaluate continuously and listen to feedback

Spontaneous and continuous feedback can be invaluable. Perhaps you’ve been provided with a complete market analysis and know which companies and people to contact, but if you notice that the reception is not what you had expected, say something. And if you’re a supervisor or team leader, listen to the feedback from the appointment bookers. If the script is too complicated, simplify it. If it turns out that it’s always people in a certain position who end up booking meetings, that’s a hugely valuable insight, regardless of whether it corresponds with your initial market analysis or not.

5. Don’t force it – but do take time to confirm the booking

We’ve written before about the myths surrounding who makes a good customer service agent, and they are relevant to appointment setting as well. The risk with too pushy an approach is that you’ll force an agreement about a meeting that isn’t actually all that relevant or interesting to the client. Perhaps they feel that it’s easier to just say yes and cancel later on, with the risk that they forget and both their time and that of a sales person is wasted. Perhaps the rush means that they don’t fully understand what type of meeting they’ve booked, while a more thorough process could have avoided making an appointment with a customer who was actually never interested in the first place.

In other words, it’s not just about making appointments – it’s about making the right appointments. We’ve said that you should keep the chat short and concise, but when you get a yes, take a couple of minutes to confirm the meeting and make sure that you have all the right details – a bit like a handshake. Once you have done that, you can rest assured that the person on the other end of the line is on the same page as you and the meeting can proceed in a positive, hopefully fruitful way.

How do you succeed with appointment setting? There is no foolproof formula for success, but hopefully our tips can help you to succeed more often. If instead you’d like the help of qualified, experienced appointment bookers, just get in touch. We’ll be happy to answer your questions!