Appointment Setting B2B: Why “no” is OK, “maybe” is death

When you are B2B appointment setting, you hear a lot of “nos.”

Your sales script verbiage and delivery must maximize your ability to get every yes possible.

With every interaction you must seek either a clear “yes” or a clear “no.”

“Maybe’s” are death for appointment setters.

   Proven sales script (with analysis) for B2B appointment setting

Here’s why.

Table of Contents

The most successful appointment setters communicate value such that qualified buyers can grasp it and they say “Yes.” But the flip side of that is that those with no needs will “get it” and say “No.”

“No’s” are good when appointment setting

When an active or future buyers, understands what you offer, understands your value and believes that you are a credible source of information or services they can “get it” and say “yes” to a discovery call. That is a successful cold call result.

On the flip side of that, someone with no needs you can help them with, now or the future, can understand your offering, value, and credibility and the answer will be “no.” That is also an acceptable cold calling result.

When you are using a great cold calling script to set discovery calls and deliver it well, those with needs will say yes, those without needs will say no. Both are perfectly acceptable lead generation results.

Why “no” is preferred to “maybe”

When you hear no from a non-buyer, you don’t spend time following up and following up on those that will never buy. All those calls and energy can be directed toward someone who is more likely to buy or could lead to someone more likely to buy.

B2B lead generation is a sorting process.

Make conscious decisions that allow you to spend more time and resources among higher probability buyers and less time and resources among lower probability buyers.

Keep in mind that for most business development representatives (BDR’s) there are far more high-probability higher-worth buyers than they could possibly call. It makes no sense to spend time and calls following up on those that will never buy.

A key characteristics of top sales performers, whether it be appointment setting or closing, those that sell and earn the most are very willing to make very early decisions about whom to invest time with, and those not to spend prospecting time with.

They not only make that decision early, they make it with confidence.

Those that book the most discovery calls get more yes’s and no’s and far fewer maybe’s. This happens as they have a specific phone script strategy for this common scenarios and they practice, practice, practice. They are prepared for common prospecting scenarios they will encounter and they practice. That is what is necessary to succeed as an appointment setter.

Those that are best at finding appointment setting gold when setting discovery calls are also the ones that are best at identifying what is not gold.

You should seek to obtain either a clear “yes” of clear “no.”

Avoid “maybe’s” at all cost. They will self-sabotage your appointment setting efforts, deny you a high-income and a good job.

When you are less clear and less direct, when your script paths veer from a structure calculated to get you a “Yes” or “No,” you start to hear “Maybe’s.”

When you do, the slide to ruin, inefficiency, mind numbing frustration and lower sales has begun.

“Maybe” is clothed in phrases like “call me back,” or “send some information.”

When a decision-maker that would be great profitable accounts for you says “maybe,” you lose out because an immediate “yes” has been lost. Usually the cause of that is that the outbound representative was less direct, less clear, used words that had weak impact on a future buyer, so that future buyer says something that sounds like “maybe.”

On the flip side of that, when someone who has no needs you can help with, or would never buy from you says something that sounds like “maybe,” what do callers do? Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up, and waste tons of time chasing that slight chance.

But that slight chance was a no chance. But the BDR doesn’t know that as they did not get a clear yes or no.

That follow-up time that could have been directed to finding another “yes.”

And of course, if someone that could have been a “yes” says “maybe,” you are not meeting, talking, moving toward a close.

“Maybe’s” are like a cancer

Maybe’s mis-allocate your time, drain your energy and kill your prospecting results.

Dial by dial, conversation by conversation, you think you are doing the right thing, but you are not. You must do everything you can to convert a “maybe” into a clear “yes” or “no.” Ask the additional questions that turn maybe’s into “Yes’s” or “No’s” right now.

Avoid having to make follow-up calls to those that are unlikely to buy.

Few things are more frustrating in cold calling than to tirelessly follow-up on those that have said warm fuzzies that give you hope or requested a call back or some info, yet never pick up the phone or respond.

That circumstance is much more your fault than the fault of those wasting your time.

You had them on the phone and there were things you could have done to determine if they had a genuine need and were willing to act on it. You chose not to do those things so now you are stuck in “maybeland.”

Only one in 10 maybes are legit

My belief is that among the group of decision-makers that ask us to “call them back” or “send them info” or some other “maybe” code speak, that at best one in ten is a legitimate prospect.

It is better to not make the calls and not get the meeting than it is to make the calls and not get the meeting. Write that one down.

Guide them to a clear Yes or No when you have them on the phone.


Take a step back for a bigger picture view. One of the root causes of appointment setting / sales prospecting frustration is spending far too much time with those who will never buy. Think about how that happens.

Conversation by conversation you let too many maybe’s that will never buy slip in. As more maybe’s slip in, you allocate less and less of your time to higher probability suspects because you have chosen to spend more time on low-probability suspects.

Do everything you can to elicit a clear “yes” or “No” from the “Maybe’s.”

“Maybe’s” are death.

If you have a question or might need some help, contact us.