Grab a seat — if appointment setting sales calls is your jam, you’re in for a treat.

Appointment setting is where you connect with the decision-maker in an organization, the one who has the authority to sign on the dotted line and purchase your product or service. If you sell yourself well enough on an appointment setting sales call, your prospect will agree to set an active meeting or demo with you or an account executive.

Sounds easy enough, right?

Well… Reaching decision-makers isn’t easy. (Why else did you think appointment setting is its own separate role?)

To avoid the wild goose chase, you have to start by asking yourself these questions to make sure you’re targeting the right person:

  1. Who signs the contract?
  2. Whose approval do they need to sign the contract?
  3. Who would you be working with post-sale?

And then back to the long haul: Hang in there and keep calling.

Secure the bag — land appointment setting sales calls (with bosses!)

Want to talk to the decision-maker? Here’s how to get into the VIP section.

1. Shoot your shot with some backup

appointment setting

Before you make a call and go for gold, ask yourself if you really know who you’re calling and how you can help them.

Mapping out an organization is the best way to ensure you reach out to the right people — but you’ll have a hard time doing it without access to sales intelligence. We’re talking contact databases and sales engagement tools.

This is the kind of insight these tools can give you:

  • Direct-dial phone numbers
  • Confirmed email addresses
  • Opportunity insights
  • Company demographics
  • Tech stacks

And that just scratches the surface. Save time and money, plus make your job easier by getting help to do the heavy lifting.

2. Make every minute count

make every minute count in sales

When you finally land that decision-maker on the phone, remember they’ve had a day filled with meetings, appearances, phone calls, and putting out fires — you’re just one more task that luckily made it to their list.

So how can you stand out?

  • Shut up and identify their needs. Don’t over-talk yourself out of a deal. Ask questions, then listen to your prospect’s problems and needs before you offer a solution — and don’t forget to be human. No one wants to do business with a pushy rep, so focus on understanding how your product can meet their unique needs.
  • Preparedness is key 🔑. Who wants to hand over their money to someone who doesn’t have their $#!+ together? Don’t all raise your hands at once. Before the call, gather your customizable script and any research or audience segmentation data needed to persuade prospects to give you The Golden Ticket.
  • Manage objections. Never (ever) ignore your prospect’s objections. Here’s where preparation comes in handy: Use your data to provide specific details about why your product is #1. If they say they can’t afford your service, explain why they can’t afford not to buy it by proving how it will improve their bottom line.
  • Show and tell. Generic examples don’t cut it anymore, folks: The 2019 B2B Buyers Survey Report says that 97% of buyers believe it’s important when sales reps demonstrate a stronger knowledge of their needs. Don’t just explain how efficient your product is — say, “Our product significantly reduced X times for our clients by upwards of 90%.”

In a nutshell, get straight to the point with a pitch that highlights your solution and its outcomes. Pro tip: The more stats, the merrier.

3. Cozy up to the decision-maker behind the decision-maker

get cozy with gatekeepers

Sure, the CEO or VP is who you want the appointment setting sales call with. But you don’t really think they’re penciling you in themselves, do you?

The people you really want to rub elbows with are the receptionists, secretaries, or assistants — aka the gatekeepers, who wield more power than you think. These folks are valuable people to have on your side because they can literally decide whether or not you get a hold of your high-level executive.

Get in the good graces of gatekeepers in three ways:

  1. Always be respectful. First (second, third, fourth…) impressions matter, so don’t waste the time you get with them by being upset that yet another sales call didn’t reach the promised land. Instead, use every opportunity to be polite and build rapport. Note their name, pay attention to small details, and use what you learn to engage with them on a personal level.
  2. Lead with transparency. Don’t pitch — just introduce yourself. You’re just one of the dozens of sales calls that gatekeeper has had to field, so be direct and save the sweet talk for someone who hasn’t heard it before. Share your company name and an overview of your solution, and pique enough interest to incite some curiosity.
  3. Reconnect. To land an appointment setting call with a decision-maker, you have to call way more than once or twice — be organized and set reminders to call back and reconnect frequently. And since you’ll be talking to the gatekeeper, keep track of your touchpoints and note anything that might be useful for a later call.

4. Cut in line and leverage referrals

use referrals in appointment setting

According to this article by Ryan Hadfield, the director of marketing at ZoomInfo, 84% of business decision-makers start a purchase process with a referral.

Because why do business with a stranger when your colleague’s neighbor’s boss can connect you with someone on LinkedIn? That’s what c-suite execs wonder, too. 

Trust is weird that way — but don’t just philosophize about it; work it to your advantage!

“A well-developed network helps greatly in getting face-to-face meetings with prospects, and social networking services, such as LinkedIn, speed up the process of reaching them,” explains this article by Management Events.

Try this: Connect with prospects on LinkedIn to have any easy way to reach them and have visibility into their networks. Running in similar circles, you’re bound to know some of the same people — some of who you can tap for an intro to your ideal decision-makers. *wink, wink*

You should also share an overview of your offerings with the people in your network, even if they’re not high up the corporate ladder — you never know which business leaders they can connect you to.

Don’t be afraid to lean on the power of referrals to speed up the long process of landing an active appointment with a decision-maker. (Everyone else is doing it.)

Need more guidance to help you take your appointment setting strategies to the next level? Try this webinar and thank us later: Turbo Charge Your Appointment Setting.

appointment setting webinar