Setting an Appointment | Free Resource

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Welcome to Tactical Resources – it’s good to see that you’re interested in both growing your business and expanding your knowledge. This resource will be about the process of appointment setting and how to effectively do it – the more liquid the process the more chances of creating a profitable meeting.

More than ever setting an appointment with the decision maker has been the vital part of a B2B sales cycle. Cold calls can no longer be evolving around the ideology of creating a sale on the first call.

In order to really give a solid pitch and understand the prospects problems you need to set up an appointment or meeting with them – they can then understand what your solution is to their problem and most importantly you can better determine what sort of problem they have.

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Making the Cut

When you’re setting out to make an appointment you need to realise that there is no spray and pray tactic. Your contact should be of 100% relevance to your prospect, be it:

– They are in the same industry

– Bought a similar item

– Have shown interest in item

This means you need to do some due diligence or cherry pick the data, understanding the prospect and their company can make a massive difference between success and failure with the first attempt at setting an appointment.

#1 Industry Value – You have something great to offer but will it align with the industry your prospect is in? Will they somehow have an upper hand over everyone else in the industry or will it just be another overhead they have to deal with?

Choose an industry you want to target, spend a bit of time understanding the leaders in the industry and really understand the broader picture of how you’re going to solve the problems of the prospect within their industry.

What is going to be your core value that you have to offer? There’s no point in reading out a list of generic terms that represent little to no meaning to the prospect and their company.

This is why you should make a list of core values that represents both your offer and company which is in line with the prospects direction and needs.

#2 Perfect Prospect – Once you have the industry decided, start to find potential prospects to contact but this is where you’ll set yourself apart from everyone else – do some research.

Spending just a few minutes on the prospects website or LinkedIn profile can really help with building the perfect solution, understanding problems that they may have now and limiting the number of problems which will appear in the future.

Once you understand all of this start to make a list of how you are going to solve all the problems that occur and what will make it so beneficial to the prospect.

It’s surprising how little effort goes into the research and understanding part of appointment setting, the reason why sales people are scared of cold calling is the fear of rejection however when you have something of genuine interest and use nobody has to be fearful of cold calling.

Not only does research help you target ideal prospects it also gives you the chance to be more personable with them, no generic corporate scripts but instead a hyper targeting and personal conversation.

#3 Qualification, Not Selling – Again remember this is about how you’re going to set an appointment, not trying to make the hard sell there and then.

Put together some qualification questions that will ensure you’ve got the prospect listening and interested. These have to be soft qualification questions as you don’t want to be scaring anyone off now.

Soft qualification questions can consist of:

– “What’s management’s view on this?”

– “Why change now?

Again don’t focus on hardcore qualification but instead on understanding if the prospect is in fact going to be worth trying to set an appointment with.

#4 Introductions – If you’ve got a masterful CRM system set up it may be worth making notes of people who know each other and then using the power of name dropping (don’t drag the sales profession downhill by making false claims and so on, it’s not cool).

Finding prospects that know each other is a great way to get an introduction but most importantly it’s a way to show you have an understanding of the industry already and you’ve already offered value to someone they know.

#5 Script – Write a script but something that is very malleable to the situation. We are not fans of generic scripts, but when you’ve got an understanding of the industry and prospects you can just put together a very basic and simple script for the introductions.

Once you’ve got out of the introduction part of the cold calling, you’ve now got to ditch the script and become a personable human rather than some corporate machine that just spits out words.

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Using Social Media

With LinkedIn the process of prospecting and creating warm contact opportunities has multiplied in the last few years. With the ability to research and scout profiles on LinkedIn it has meant appointment setting is now easier than ever.

Using LinkedIn

With this powerful B2B social media tool you can literally get in direct contact with most of the CEO’s and owners of major large corporate companies. However there are a whole host of other methods to optimize on LinkedIn for prospecting.

Introductions – If you’ve been networking effectively on LinkedIn then there’s a chance you’ve got a whole host of opportunities. Simply by checking out your connections contacts you can begin to prospect who you’d like to connect with or contact. All you have to do is send an introduction request to your connection and who you want to connect with and they’ll be able set it up.

This is where the power of effective networking comes into play, no one is going to have their reputation ruined by introducing someone they don’t trust to one of their important connections (Build up a solid profile and presence to gain that trust).

InMail – If however you have just started out on LinkedIn and want to get involved with prospecting quickly, one of the more favourable options is to use the InMail allowance Premium accounts get – Basic members are required to purchase InMails.

This is a set number of messages you can send directly to the contact, generally speaking these are best used when you want to get straight to the decision maker.

By using this option you are now able to get in touch with your prospect who should be the decision maker, the power to do this is a great way to save on resources such as time and phone calls.

Write the message to your prospect but remember this is now different to making a cold call, the pitch and amount of text needs to be a minimal as possible whilst still delivering the information and effect needed.

This can be considered to be harder as the prospect can effectively just turn you down and not reply.

However if those options are not favourable you can always do some basic research such as profile, company profile and groups that the prospect is part of. This way you can comment, build trust and make a better connection with them – turning any future contact into a warm call, warm email etc.

LinkedIn is actually one of the best tools to use for prospecting and research, again hyper targeting is the perfect method of creating a solution that fits the prospects needs and ultimately makes a friendly connection rather than making it generic.

Using Twitter

So you’ve got LinkedIn which is a highly professional social network which has little leverage for a personal means of communication. Now this is where Twitter comes into its own. LinkedIn profiles can be connected to Twitter accounts, so firstly make sure you’ve had a look rather than spending potentially some time trying to find the right person.

Twitter is a great way to build up the connection further then the professional networks as prospects are potentially much more likely to communicate on a friend to friend basis.

A simple company and prospect search will bring up the accounts of both, connect with them and then begin the process of prospecting, not in the conventional sense.

Share, comment and Retweet or simply grab mindshare of the prospects as much as you and without spamming them. Again this is a connection that makes all and any future attempts at setting an appointment that much easier and that bit warmer.

Social media is a great way to further research and understand the prospect as the ultimate goal is to understand the prospect and make sure you’ve actually got a solution for them – otherwise what’s the point in attempting to set an appointment?

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First Contact

Now you’ve got the research done and understood that you do in fact have value to offer it’s time to get the first contact with the prospects.

Remember, as you’ll be tempted to go on a side track, you’re calling with the only intention of setting an appointment.

– No hard selling!

The tactics above are designed to make prospecting hyper targeted with research that matches up your solution with the right prospect. In order to make setting appointments that much easier you need to understand that the old style of prospecting – hard selling on first contact etc – is over.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

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