Scheduling appointments seems pretty simple, right? You pick up the phone, do a little cold calling, and attempt to book some appointments over the phone.

“It will only take 15 minutes. When is a good time to meet?” your reps ask — hoping to convince decision-makers to set a time and date for a demo. Some do, and your schedule looks great.

However, all that time, your appointment setters or sales development reps (SDRs) took to prospect on the phone may not be yielding results. Do you have a lot of “no shows”?

Perhaps the contact just wanted to get off the phone; they agreed to an appointment they had no intention of keeping. Others may show up, but they could be a poor fit for your product or service because you didn’t properly qualify leads. Salespeople aren’t happy. The sales manager isn’t pleased.

Nobody benefits when prospecting calls lead to appointments with people who don’t intend on showing up or eventually buying.

Do Your Appointment Setters Need a New Approach?

If you’re using appointment setting as part of your sales development process and experience a lot of “no shows” or unqualified leads, you may need a new approach when it comes to how to set appointments. Try shifting your teams focus from trying to persuade someone to spend “just 15 minutes” with a salesperson to a call that’s a little more investigative and consultative.

Your appointment setters need to make each sales call about qualifying the prospect and then helping those qualified contacts see value in scheduling a meeting or demo. Encourage your team to ensure they do the following with each prospect.

Discover A Prospect’s Needs

Sure, you or your team has a quota to meet. You need to set a certain number of appoints. However, you’ll never get there by only focusing on your goal. You have to think about the prospect’s needs first.

The “Sandler Pain Funnel” — a sales methodology developed by David H. Sandler — is a questioning approach that digs progressively deeper with pain questions.

These include, “Tell me more about that.” “Can you be more specific?” “How long has that been a problem?” “How much do you think that has cost you?” and “How do you see me helping you?”

Appointment setters can better qualify leads and provide enough information to decision makers suggest that your product or service is worth the time of a meeting or demo appointment.

Set the Value and Book the Appointment

Most people don’t want to be sold to, and their time is precious to them. However, if the appointment is positioned as a low-pressure meeting where they will benefit in some way, they may be willing to meet with you or one of your other sales reps/account executives.

A compelling close is to suggest meeting briefly to get acquainted, learn more about the problem, and see if you’re a good fit for each another. Let the prospect know that if it turns out not to be a good fit at the time, you will provide useful information they can refer to in the future.

This value-oriented close keeps the focus on prospects and their needs while also giving them an out if they are not interested. Overall, you’ll want to ensure your actual appointments live up to the promises you make when setting an appointment.

Provide Gentle Reminders

To reduce the likelihood of no-shows even further, use a system — such as email reminders or brief phone calls — to gently remind your leads of upcoming appointments. Be personable and remind your prospects that you look forward to meeting them at the appointed time.

Appointment Setting Sofware Can Tie Things Together

Appointing setting software is designed specifically to help you get organized with multiple calendars, quota management, schedule blocking, and more so you and your sales team can have a more productive and efficient process.

As we mentioned earlier, you want your appointment setters to dig deeper; that requires more effort and preparation than calling endless amounts of leads, making a short pitch, and hoping to set an appointment. However, taking that more investigative and consultative approach will help give your sales team an appointment schedule filled with more qualified leads and with fewer no-shows. Here’s where appointment setting software with logical branch scripting and onboard messaging helps drive productivity.

Successful messaging is essential, and call center scripting software allows you to create and update scripts instantly easily. Additionally, a logical-branch script with dynamic messaging will help reps to build rapport, handle any initial objections, and ask probing questions that dig deeper.

A few other productivity-and-efficiency-enhancing features to look for in appointment setting software include VoIP integration for preview or progressive dialing and voice drop; call monitoring capabilities, call recording, email capabilities, and team calendaring.

Ready to Set Some Appointments?

Do you or your team get too focused on targets to the point where you may be missing out on the best appointment setting opportunities? Maybe you’ve got even more great tips for better appointment setting to share with our readers about a mindset for success when it comes to booking appointments. In either case, we want to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.