If you’re an SDR, scheduling appointments should be at the top of your priority list.
This ability will assist you in connecting with a decision-maker with the authority to sign on the dotted line and acquire your product or service. If you sell yourself well enough on an appointment setting sales call, your prospect will agree to meet with you or an account executive for an active meeting or demo.
Isn’t it simple enough?
Well, getting in touch with decision-makers isn’t simple. That is why setting appointments is seen as a standalone system.
Here are some of the tried and true methods we employ to gain access to Very Important Top Officers (VITOs) and find a way into their busy schedules.
Determine Your Target
It’s critical to make sure you’re talking to the correct prospects before you pick up the phone and spend a couple of hours pitching. Every company has its own buying procedures and roles, so you’ll need to figure out who has the authority to approve your proposal.
To prevent going on a wild goose chase, begin by asking yourself these questions.
- Who is the contract’s signatory?
- To sign the contract, do they require consent from someone else?
- Who would you collaborate with after the sale?
These questions are designed to help you set the record straight, because one of the most typical errors SDRs make is putting an equals sign between a decision-maker and a specific job description, presuming that there is only one person in control.
In fact, the title of a decision-maker differs depending on the size of the company. Larger firms, for example, have purchasing committees or decision-making units (DMUs), thus knowing how many individuals are in charge of making a purchase decision is critical. In smaller businesses, the decision is usually made by one person.
Finally, if your product or service will be used by several departments, it’s likely that their level-C leaders would want to be involved.
You have to consider taking all this into account when creating a call list.
Then it’s back to the long game: stay on the course and keep calling.
Lay The Foundation
Ask yourself if you actually know who you’re contacting and how you can help them before you make a call and go for gold.
The next stage in the process is to research your prospects and their business.
The easiest method to guarantee you reach out to the correct individuals is to map out an organisation, but you’ll struggle to do so without sales intelligence. We’re talking about sales interaction tools and contact databases.
This is the type of information you can get from these tools:
Phone numbers that can be dialled directly
Email addresses that have been verified
Insights into opportunities
Stacks of technology
And that’s only scratching the surface. Get help with the heavy lifting to save time and money, as well as make your job simpler.
Auto-dialing, logical-branch scripting, appointment setup, and lead and sales monitoring are all included in various tools. This complete toolkit automates tedious and monotonous processes and ensures that you always have all of the information you need about the prospect you’re calling.
Make Each Minute Count
When you finally get that decision-maker on the phone, keep in mind that they’ve had a day full of meetings, appearances, phone calls, and putting out fires — you’re just another chore on their to-do list.
So, how can you make yourself stand out?
- Pay attention to their needs and recognize them.
Avoid talking yourself out of a bargain. Before you propose a solution, ask questions and listen to your prospect’s concerns and requirements — and remember to be human.
Nobody likes to conduct business with a pushy salesperson, so concentrate on how your product may satisfy their specific requirements.
- Preparedness is critical.
Who wants to give their money to someone who is disorganized?
Do not all raise your hands at the same time.
Gather your personalized script, as well as any research or audience segmentation data, before calling prospects to persuade them to offer you The Golden Ticket.
- Organize your objections.
Never dismiss your prospect’s concerns.
This is when planning comes in helpful. Make use of your facts to explain why your product is the best.
If they say they can’t afford your service, show them why they can’t afford not to acquire it by demonstrating how it will boost their profits.
- Tell and show
Generic examples are no longer acceptable.
According to survey by Salesforce, 85% of buyers feel it is critical for salespeople to exhibit a deeper understanding of their industry. Don’t just claim your product is efficient; mention something like, “Our product drastically lowered X times for our clients by upwards of 90%.”
In a word, present a pitch that emphasizes your solution and its results.
Tip: The more stats you have, the better.
Get Close To The Decision-Maker Who Makes The Decisions.
Sure, you want the appointment-setting sales call with the CEO or VP. However, it is not they who really pencil you in.
The receptionists, secretaries, and assistants — aka the gatekeepers, who have more authority than you believe — are the folks you want to rub shoulders with.
These are important people to have on your team since they may make or break your chances of reaching your high-ranking boss.
There are three techniques to gain favour with gatekeepers:
1. Always be courteous.
First (second, third, fourth, etc.) impressions are important, so don’t waste your time with them whining about how yet another sales call didn’t go as planned.
Instead, take advantage of every opportunity to be courteous and establish rapport.
Take down their name, pay attention to the little things, and use what you’ve learned to connect with them on a personal level.
2. Transparency is key.
Introduce yourself rather than pitching.
You’re just another one of the gatekeeper’s dozens of sales calls, so be direct and reserve the nice language for someone who hasn’t heard it before.
Give a brief description of your organization and your solution, and spark enough interest to pique some attention.
You’ll need to call more than once or twice to get an appointment with a decision-maker; be organized and create reminders to call back and reconnect often.
Keep track of your touch points and anything else that could be relevant for a later call because you’ll be speaking with the gatekeeper.
Get Ahead Of The Line And Use Referrals
According to Big Commerce, 84 percent of B2B company decision-makers begin the buying process with a reference.
Why conduct business with a stranger when your coworker’s neighbor’s boss can put you in touch with someone on LinkedIn? C-suite executives wonder the same thing.
Trust is strange in that manner, so don’t simply ponder it; use it to your advantage!
Having a well-developed network can help you get face-to-face encounters with prospects. You may speed up the process of contacting decision-makers by using social networking platforms like LinkedIn.
Consider this: Connect with prospects on LinkedIn to gain access to their networks and an easy method to contact them. You’re certain to know some of the same individuals if you’re in similar circles — some of whom you may contact for an introduction to your ideal decision-makers.
Even if they’re not high up on the corporate ladder, you should provide an overview of your products with your network since you never know who they can link you to.
Don’t be scared to rely on the power of recommendations to help you get an active appointment with a decision-maker faster. Everyone else is doing it, so don’t fall behind and leave money on the table for your competition.
Refrain From Pitching And Selling
Yes, it may seem paradoxical, but if you want to meet with the VITO, you need temper your sales zeal.
Setting appointments is difficult, as we’ve previously established.
There are several challenges to overcome, including as
- finding decision-makers,
- bypassing gatekeepers,
- dealing with brush-offs,
- overcoming rejection
However, none of these are the most challenging aspects of making an appointment.
It’s about avoiding a typical blunder made by SDRs when identifying the ultimate purpose of an appointment-setting call, which is, of course, to create an appointment.
Isn’t that blatant? Even yet, overcoming your innate desire to sell might be challenging.
Reframe your sales pitch like this:
- Reduce the intensity of your story and quit striving so hard.
- Solve problems rather than imposing your answer on others.
- Ask the correct questions, figure out what the prospect’s problems are, and pay attention to what they have to say.
- Even if they say, “We have no budget at the time,” don’t allow the initial objection scare you away.
How do you deal with the initial “no budget” objection?
A pushy SDR would start talking about price and alternative subscription options right away, sabotaging their chances of getting an appointment. This is a massive no-no.
A good SDR would focus on interacting with prospects and teaching them about possible solutions to their problems.
When a prospect understands that you don’t expect them to commit right away, it’s much simpler for them to accept an appointment.
Pro tip: A caveat like “let’s speak about how to address your problem so you know what your alternatives are when you’re in the market for a solution” might help relieve strain on your prospects.
Setting appointments is the foundation of a successful sales strategy. You must extensively research your prospects and prepare for your calls in order to accomplish it well. Remember that if your appointment-setting calls are thinly veiled sales pitches, your prospects will be suspicious. Use these strategies to disarm them and give yourself a fighting chance.
Vikas Bhatt is the Co-Founder of ONLY B2B, a premium B2B lead generation company that specializes in helping businesses achieve their growth objectives through targeted marketing & sales campaigns. With 10+ years of experience in the industry, Vikas has a deep understanding of the challenges faced by businesses today and has developed a unique approach to lead generation that has helped clients across a range of industries around the globe. As a thought leader in the B2B marketing community, ONLY B2B specializes in demand generation, content syndication, database services and more.