Sales engagement plays a critical role in the overall sales call process. 

The quality of your outreach is dependent upon your abilities and the tools you have to work with. 

Given that today’s buyer is more difficult to reach, you and your entire team should step up your efforts and upgrade your sales tech stack. To be more precise, it takes 18 attempts to connect with the potential customer, so when this happens, your sales reps should be prepared to do their best and secure an appointment with the prospect.

In this article, we’ll discuss some tips for better appointment-setting calls. But before we get into that, let’s first take a look at what appointment setting is and why it’s important for your sales success.

What Is Appointment Setting?

Appointment setting is the process of finding potential customers and convincing them to meet with you, either in person or over the phone, so you can present your product and hopefully close a sale.

This is a crucial step in the sales process, as it’s the first opportunity to make a positive impression on a potential customer.

To perform this task successfully, your sales reps need to be skilled communicators who can quickly build rapport and persuade prospects that your product is the solution to their problems.

Effective appointment setting involves understanding the needs and pain points of the potential customer and positioning the product or service as a solution to those needs. Besides exceptional communication skills, appointment setting requires persistence and the ability to handle prospect objections and fear of rejection.  

Ultimately, the success of the sales process depends heavily on the effectiveness of the appointment-setting process, as it is the first step in building a relationship with potential customers and establishing trust and credibility.

12 Tips for Better Appointment Setting Calls

1. Do Your Research

82% of B2B decision-makers think sales reps are unprepared to engage potential customers. 

It’s crucial for appointment setters to prepare for the call ahead of time. They need to understand their audience well enough to understand their needs, preferences, and pain points. 

A top appointment setter knows the product they’re pitching and is able to anticipate the possible needs or concerns of their prospects. This means researching the prospect by checking out their LinkedIn profile and the company website, as well as learning about their entire industry.   

In addition to researching their target audience, sales reps need to know the solution they’re offering inside and out. 

Another crucial factor is the ability to ask the right questions and actively listen to what the prospect is talking about. This tactic helps build a genuine connection with the prospect, demonstrating that the sales rep values their needs and is attentive to their specific situation. 

2. Find the Right Prospects and Level Up Your Outreach

The odds of setting appointments with prospects who have already interacted with your company in the past are much higher.  

That’s where marketing and sales come together. 

To identify leads that are more likely to say yes to an appointment, make sure to get the following metrics from your marketing department: 

  • Website downloads. Do you offer white papers, webinars, or case studies? The prospects downloading this content are the people you want to follow up with.
  • Website visitors. If you’re not getting notified when prospects visit your website, add that to your to-do list. Knowing when they think about you is a huge game-changer. Plus, you can even leverage these notifications to reconnect with prospects you’ve already spoken with.
  • Event attendees. Get the full attendee list of any events or webinars that your company sponsors or participates in.

Obviously, there’s more to appointment setting than cold calling — but your team has to be very persistent to get through, and not just through the phone. 

Knowing which prospects are interested before your sales reps call is a bonus, but that doesn’t get you out of this next mandatory step of the appointment-setting process: reaching out through multiple channels. 

The only way to cut through the noise is to leave voicemails, send emails, and connect on social media. Additionally, you can leverage your digital business cards by adding contact details and calendar links. Use the best digital card software to create one.

Not leveraging a multi-channel approach means letting potential leads slip through the cracks. 

3. Consider Time Zone

When it comes to lead generation, time is of the essence for every person working as an inside sales appointment setter. It’s also important to every prospect you contact, so it’s important to call target contacts at optimal times. In other words, you don’t want your team to dial prospects randomly — on weekends, Friday nights, or at dinner time.  

Also, remember to think about your every prospect’s time zone. If it’s dinner time where you are, it might be after 8 p.m. for your prospect, meaning that they might be trying to relax or spend some time with their family. 

So, calling at convenient times will make your prospects more willing to take your sales reps’ calls and engage. 

Leave nothing to chance and make sure to find out the typical hours your target decision-makers will be in the office and have your sales team call at those times in their time zones. When calling a business to set up a sales demo or consultation appointment, it’s important to learn when the business is open.

4. Ask Whether They Have Time to Talk 

Let’s not forget about business etiquette. 

The thing is that your sales reps practically barge in on your prospects and interrupt their work with their call. Needless to say, many of them will just roll their eyes and reply they’re busy without even trying to listen to what your sales reps have to say.

That’s why it’s not only polite but also necessary to have your sales team ask prospects whether they have a couple of minutes to spare and talk to them. Such a considerate approach increases your team’s chances of delivering their pitch. 

However, if they’re busy at the moment, it’s best to ask them when it will be a more convenient time to call. Remember, reaching out to decision-makers can be tricky since they usually have almost every minute of their day scheduled. 

But, since you’ve been respectful of them, your prospects will be more willing to rearrange the initial call and tell you when you can call them.

5. Be Helpful

appointment setter

A basic rule of appointment setting and inside sales is having empathy and interest in your prospect. 

Top salespeople don’t just act interested. They really try to understand the wants and needs of the person they contact. People can spot disingenuous chatter, so it’s essential that your sales team understand that being genuinely interested in the life or business of the person they’re calling is of the essence.

This will make them better appointment setters because they will be able to connect real-life human experiences and speak to situations that are troubling, challenging, or difficult for the potential client. 

It’s important to earn prospects’ trust and clearly communicate the value proposition. 

At the end of the day, people do business with people they like, meaning that they will be more likely to say yes to an appointment when they see what’s in it for them. 

6. Don’t Pressure Too Much

It’s true that appointment setters have to deploy some classic sales skills to help them set the appointment. 

That includes having to apply some pressure, but not too much. In fact, if you come on too strong, too quickly, the prospect may feel uncomfortable and annoyed and may pull away. 

To avoid such a situation, your sales reps should do the following: 

  • Be courteous by asking if now is a good time to talk before diving into their pitch
  • Take time to ask some questions that demonstrate their interest in the prospect
  • Be consultative while handling objections instead of trying to force the prospect into setting an appointment
  • Use persuasive language, customer stories, and facts rather than pressure tactics to set the stage for a productive and helpful sales appointment.

7. Share Social Proof

88% of customers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Don’t expect people to be immediately interested in what you have to offer when they hear from you for the first time. 

This means they won’t be exactly enthusiastic about agreeing to meet you, which is normal given that there are so many pushy salespeople whose primary goal is to sell regardless of whether their product is the right fit for the people they call.

But, if you want them to give you the benefit of the doubt, it’s a good idea to leverage name-dropping and mention a couple of high-profile clients with whom you had a successful business relationship. 

In case you still haven’t had a chance to work with some popular brands or well-known personalities from the industry, you can still attract the attention of your prospects and intrigue them by sharing examples of how your solution helped people and companies in similar situations. 

Social proof is one of the most powerful marketing tools, as it’s very effective when it comes to persuading your potential customers that they can greatly benefit from using your product or service. 

You can, for example, refer your prospects to a review website or a landing page where they can read what happy customers say about your solution. Mention this during the call and send them the links to these resources.

Case studies and customer testimonials that give a detailed account of what problems a particular company or person faced, how your solution helped them, and the results they achieved will make your potential customers more confident that what you offer is the right choice for them.

8. Build Trust With Your Prospects

cold calls

Your prospects won’t easily give you their time, let alone their money, if they don’t trust what you’re saying or selling. And who could blame them? 

So, what your sales reps should do on every appointment-setting call is try and establish trust and credibility by: 

  • Building rapport. Prospects don’t want to listen to a rehearsed script. They’re looking for a genuine conversation. There are only a couple of seconds to capture the attention of a cold lead. By finding common ground and showing genuine interest in prospects’ challenges and goals, sales reps can create a more relaxed and open dialogue. This approach makes it easier to understand prospects’ needs and positions your team as credible, trustworthy advisors rather than just salespeople. Empathy is the key ingredient in landing appointments.
  • Not trying to sell. At least not right away. It sounds contradictory, but appointment-setting calls are meant to entice a prospect enough to get a face-to-face meeting. In other words, the goal is to set an appointment, not to sell them something.

No one wants to be pressured into buying something. Instead, call with a genuine desire to help, and let the rest flow naturally.

9. Be Specific

Once you build just enough interest and curiosity to make the prospect want to continue the conversation, it’s time to ask for a follow-up meeting — but don’t be vague. 

The right way to formulate this would be “How does October 7 at 10 a.m. work for you?” instead of, “Would you like to meet about this?” 

The two questions might seem similar, but the first one sounds serious and ready to commit, while the second gives the prospect a lot of room to maneuver and potentially change their mind. 

Also, it’s crucial to send a confirmation email message that includes a brief recap of the call and a reminder about the exact time of the meeting.

10. Be Prepared to Handle Objections

When you know your audience, you know how to best position your value. But, bear in mind that even qualified prospects that are a perfect fit for your solution have objections too. 

That’s why you need to understand objections and train your team to handle them. This will allow them to present the situation in a favorable light and explain to prospects why your product or service is the right choice. 

These simple tips will help you overcome objections:

  • Research your marketplace
  • Align your prospecting efforts with the solutions your company provides
  • Develop an ideal customer profile and buyer personas that match your target audience.

11. Leverage Technology

With the ever-changing technological landscape, it’s important for sales managers to equip their teams with the latest appointment-setting software to increase their efficiency and streamline the process.

It’s safe to say that one of the best ways to set great appointments is to have the latest technology. You want a solution with appointment-setting software features that help you:

  • make time-zone-appropriate calls
  • call the next-best lead based on qualification criteria
  • overcome objections with logical branch scripting that also keeps you on message
  • drop messages in voicemail while you proceed to the next call
  • increase dials per hour with progressive or preview dialing
  • follow up via email
  • nurture leads who aren’t ready for an appointment
  • set appointments based on geographic proximity based on a sales rep’s location
  • combine multiple calendars for effective team selling
  • make setting appointments more seamless by automatically setting appointments on calendars in the next free time slot
  • send email notifications about the appointments that have been set

Appointment setting software can help your team be more efficient in their B2B and B2C calls, so make sure you are taking advantage of it.

12. Script It Out Whenever in Doubt

As a sales manager, you know that your team’s success relies on effective communication with leads. Encouraging your sales reps to use a script can help them stay on message and hit all the key points during a pitch.

If you’re afraid that canned scripts can make your sales reps sound too robotic, don’t be because our logical-branch scripting feature follows the flow of the conversation, thus allowing your sales reps to adjust to it and address potential objections effortlessly. 

While some salespeople may be hesitant to use a script, it’s important to emphasize that a well-crafted script can actually enhance their performance and increase their chances of success.

Keep in mind that a good script:

  • Has a branded introduction
  • Identifies who you are and the company you represent
  • Sounds natural and unrehearsed.

Over to you

Appointment setting is a crucial aspect of the sales process that requires effective communication skills, persistence, and the ability to handle objections and rejections from prospects.

As the first step in building a relationship with potential customers, it is essential to make a positive impression on them and establish trust and credibility.

By following the tips outlined in this article and implementing powerful appointment-setting software, your sales reps can improve the quality of their outreach and increase their chances of closing a sale.

cold calling success with appointment setting