10 Counter-Intuitive B2B Appointment Setting Truths

Stop clinging to popular B2B appointment setting myths and improve sales lead generation and sales closing.

1. THOSE BEST AT APPOINTMENT SETTING DO NOT MAKE THE MOST DIALS.

Yes, it’s true. Those who dial the fastest do not win at this game. The sales managers among you that “whip them harder” thinking that will boost productivity or the wannabe appointment setters who think a constant dialing frenzy will get you where you want to go are sadly mistaken. I don’t believe in tracking “dials” at all. If you have an easy means of generating this info and look at it once in awhile to see that you are solidly in the top half of dial acidity, that’s great. But, making more dials will not solve your problems if you are not generating conversations and converting them. MORE DIALS IS RARELY THE PRIMARY ISSUE FOR IMPROVING B2B APPOINTMENT SETTING. Talking to more of the right people at the right time and converting those conversations to appointment is where you should focus.

2. VERBAL ELOQUENCE AND “SALES CLOSING ABILITY” ARE NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS IN APPOINTMENT SETTING.

Anybody who is smart with above average people and verbal skills can be a very effective appointment setter. You do not have to be a “closer” or a sales shark to be successful. In fact, in most cases it works against you. When you push for the close – top people push back. You are not trying to make friends so engaging personalities don’t do you much good – nobody cares. Professional appointment setting is about communicating value and getting a straight yes or no.

3. THE MORE INFORMATION YOU GIVE ON THE PHONE THE LESS LIKELY YOU ARE OF SETTING SALES APPOINTMENTS.

You are smart, knowledgeable and have great info of value to your prospects – so you decide to impress and share on the phone. Big mistake in sales lead generation. The more you tell the less the need to meet with you. Plus, since people are looking for something you say to justify not meeting with you, the more you talk the greater likelihood you deliver something they can hang their “no meeting” hat on.

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Finished an interview today with an inside b2b appointment setting team who in 3 short weeks went from prospecting frustration to converting 50% of conversations with top level people to confirmed sales appointments, and I might add increasedtheir average account size from $300,000 to over $1,000,000,000. How? By keeping their initial appointment setting pitch to exactly 24 SECONDS, and giving no new info when people objected. Use a sales script to put your best foot forward clearly, distinctly and with impact… then keep reinforcing it. Additional points brought into the conversation are likely you are to confuse them… and they won’t meet… they have to think… and it is a bad thing when suspects start thinking.

4. B2B LEAD GENERATION – THE ABILITY TO ACTIVELY DISQUALIFY SUSPECTS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN CLOSING ABILITY.

Those who find the most gold are best at determining what is not gold. “Never giving up” and calling anybody who might possibly be a suspect are just plain dumb appointment setting techniques. Top appointment setters and high earning outside sales people are great at allocating time to those most worthy… that means not investing time in lower probability target groups and knowing to stop appointment setting efforts at the point of diminishing returns. You won’t sell more if you waste time with people who are unlikely to meet with you or won’t buy much. You are in charge of your b2b lead generation time and resources are used, not the people you call. To be good at setting sales appointments you must ACTIVELY DISQUALIFY and be ruthless about it. If you don’t disqualify actively much of your time will be wasted and you will soon be frustrated wallowing in maybeland.

5. “BUMPING” INTO PROSPECTS IS A KEY TO SUCCESSFUL LEAD GENERATION.

That’s right. Not your sales script, verbal skills or your superior services. Just the fact that your sales call arrives when a company has a need is a big part of successful b2b appointment setting. If you set yourself up with a highly efficient call process and can move through more suspects faster, you are more likely to “bump” into people who need you. In the case mentioned above that appointment setter went from working off a card system (shoot me) to a highly organized system in just three weeks. They had all the skills, phone scripts and capabilities, but the lack of operating efficiency was killing them. Set yourself up for efficiency so that you can “bump” into more people who need your sales prospecting calls.

6. 60% OF THE REASON YOU WILL BE SUCCESSFUL COLD CALLING IS DETERMINED BEFORE YOU EVEN PICK UP THE PHONE.

It’s not your phone scripts, your eloquence or value of your service that is guaranteed to get you face to face meetings. You have to make the right choice of whom to call from all your options and you have to be setup correctly (takes all of $100 and about 2 hours of time) to move through those carefully selected records at an efficient call pace.

Many capable people who are great at sales closing, yet fail at b2b appointment setting are not necessarily that bad on the phone… they are calling the wrong people. It is shocking to me that people are willing to torture themselves for 10 – 15 – 20 hours a week appointment setting telemarketing with little results to show for it… yet resist spending just a few hours once, to carefully select the best pool of sales prospecting targets to call. Would you rather call 100 target companies that have 10 meetings within them or 100 target companies with 2 meetings within them? Appointment setters make this bad sales lead generation choice all the time. Carefully select the richest pool of suspects. Then, make sure you are set up properly with a contact manager like ACT or Goldmine to call them efficiently. If you are not setup to set sales appointments efficiently, it is like swimming with weights on. You decrease your own productivity by 50% – 75% just by not being organized and using the right tools.

7. THE BETTER YOU ARE AT GETTING SOLID “YES’S,” THE MORE LIKELY YOU ARE TO HEAR EMPHATIC “NO’S.” BIG DEAL.

These with the best b2b appointment setting techniques are best at getting clear yes’s and no’s, with few maybe’s. No’s are good things. You are not wasting time with people who won’t write you checks. Yet people tend to get sensitive to the no’s and as a result of that change their appointment setting script approach to avoid no’s, and end up getting more maybe’s and fewer yes’s. Focus only on getting clear yes’s and no’s. If people understand your sales message clearly they can say yes or no. So long as you are getting more and more yes’s for your time with bigger and better prospects… pay no attention to the no’s. Wannabe b2b appointment setters make the big mistake of not wanting to “annoy” people so they water down their phone scripts and what they say is less direct, less clear and they wonder why they are banging their head against the wall.

8. THE RESULTS YOU GET IN ANY WEEK HAVE MORE TO DO WITH YOUR B2B LEAD GENERATION EFFORTS THE PREVIOUS WEEKS.

What you say Channell? That’s right, when you have a great appointment setting week, it’s not because you did all the right things that week….it’s almost always because you did the right things during the previous weeks and setting the appointment was the end result of a process you have been working for weeks. Ex. You need to dump X number of suspects into your prospecting funnel every week. You work them in a process and at some time reach the point of diminishing returns and stop calling them. If you don’t dump enough new suspects into your funnel every week, you will choke off success no matter how hard you work. Yet, if you are good at dumping new suspects into your funnel every week without exception, you will set appointments in spite of yourself. Your weekly success has more to do with what you have done the previous weeks, than how hard you work in any given week.

9. THE BEST WAY TO SELL MORE OF YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES IS TO NOT TRY TO SELL YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES WHEN SETTING SALES APPOINTMENTS.

To close sales you must get in the door. No one signs checks for major sales unless they know you and trust you and that doesn’t happen until you meet. You don’t get in the door pitching early… you are an unknown… a probable idiot and time waster to those you are calling… trying to pitch people that you are the best or that you would be a good choice for anything is counter-productive. You don’t know if you can help. You don’t know if you are a fit. When seeking to set a b2b sales appointment sell only the value for the exchange of time for a meeting. Sell what they will learn AT THE SALES MEETING, which would be beneficial to them… even if they never purchased from you… which at that point is what most people are thinking. Very different appointment setting thought process.

10. BE DIFFERENT.

I don’t understand. Most people have trouble setting b2b sales appointments yet insist upon doing what everyone else does because they are comfortable with it. Do what everyone else does and you will get those results. I set more than 2,000 sales appointments in diverse industries by ignoring the ramblings of the great unwashed and purposely getting my lead generation behaviors congruent with the actions of those already successful. The wheel has already been invented here. Model and do what successful appointment setters do. Let go of all your unfounded yet popular old wives tales about what you “have” to do. Get out of your comfort zone. Understand that if you don’t get very uncomfortable, you will not set b2b sales appointments consistently.

For many, getting in the door is the sole difference between sales mediocrity and significant salary and commissions. You will get real comfortable real fast when you pump solid sales leads and appointments into your system and you are able to close sales. No other consideration matters.

You can do it.

Best wishes for good selling,
Scott Channell

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