Appointment setting is one of the three key systems to grow any business, bridging the gap between lead generation and sales presentations. In my last blog I talked about how to develop the mindset that appointment setting is as easy as scheduling a haircut. Appointment setting is even easier when you have an effective set of strategies. In this blog I’m going to share seven strategies you can put into practice to book unlimited appointments.
1. Set Appointment Setting Goals
The first strategy is declaring an intent to set appointments by setting a specific numerical goal. Write down how many appointments you plan to book per day, per week, or per month. Review your goal daily to see how closely your activity and results match your aspirations. Committing to this type of regular review is sort of like setting an appointment with yourself to keep yourself on track. The most fundamental appointments for achieving sales success are the ones you make with yourself.
2. Use Preframing
“Preframing” simply means that you let your prospect know in advance what’s going to happen, in this case with respect to appointment setting. If you plant the seed early in your relationship or conversation that you’re going to ask them to schedule an appointment or take some action related to an appointment, and thus get their subconscious visualizing the appointment, they will be more predisposed to say “yes” when it comes time to schedule the appointment or take the desired action related to the appointment. Here’s a preframing example for someone selling financial services: “Mr. Prospect, when I meet with you, in order for me to help you, I would like you to have your tax statements for the last two years ready to go. I’d also like you to have any insurance policies that you have and any financial statements for things like 401k’s, saving accounts, stocks, etc. Can you have that ready for me when I meet with you?” Almost every time they will agree. You have just preframed the prospect to have all that documentation ready.
3. Offer Incentives
Why should someone want to book an appointment with you? When you’re selling a product or service, your prospect wants to know how what you’re offering benefits them. The same thing applies to appointments. What benefit will your prospect get from meeting with you? Are you going to listen to their problems? Are you going to offer a solution? Are you giving them a discount on consultation time they would normally have to pay premium rates for? Will they get a bonus out of meeting with you, such as free information?
4. Reduce the Risk
“Reduce the risk” means that when you ask for an appointment and the prospect says no, you ask for another appointment that provides less risk. For example, many years ago, my appointment setter called Wells Fargo in San Diego and spoke with the vice president of sales, a woman named Martha Phillips. They asked Martha if she would be willing to have me come out be a guest speaker to her branch managers to share some great ideas to increase sales, which would have given me an opportunity to introduce one of my sales training programs. Martha said she was not interested. The appointment setter then applied “reduce the risk” and proposed a counter-offer: “How about we have Eric, the president of the company, come to your office and meet with you for only five minutes. After you meet with him, if you like what you hear you will have the opportunity to bring Eric in to one of your sales meetings, or one of your managers’ meeting. And if not, then no problem. Fair enough?” Martha agreed to meet with me for five minutes. I came in and shared my background and how I felt that I could help her and her team. Deep into a great discussion, I realized forty-five minutes had passed. I looked at my watch and said, “Martha, I apologize. I have to run. I have another appointment that I need to get to.” Needless to say, we had hit it off. Martha agreed to have me come out and speak. This meeting led to a $10,000 consulting job, the result of applying the principle of “reduce the risk.”
5. Have a Follow-up System
When a prospect says, “Call me back next Tuesday,” have an organized lead tracking system in place so that you will actually follow up with the client next Tuesday. Write down or electronically document the follow-up appointment somewhere where you can easily retrieve it and you will be sure to see it when reviewing your calendar for next Tuesday. Ideally, use software to support this process by automatically entering it into your calendar and sending you and the prospect follow-up reminders.
6. Follow up
Once you schedule follow-up activity, commit to following up until your prospect gives you a definite “yes” or “no.” To help you motivate yourself to persist at this, repeat this phrase every day: “Follow up until they buy or die.” Remember that you are offering something of value. Don’t assume that if they don’t return your call or email right away they’re not interested. They may have other things going on at that moment, and there may be an opportunity if you come back at the right time. Take the appointment to a decisive conclusion of a “yes” or a “no.”
7. Be Ready for Referrals
Appointment setting can be an excellent opportunity for referrals, and you should be prepared to make the most of this opportunity if it presents itself. For example, when talking to a company, you might ask if they have other offices in the area. If they say “yes,” simply ask, “Is there one person who, if they gave this the green light, could approve me to be a guest speaker in all the offices?” When they share a name, record the referrals name and contact information, and contact them to book an appointment.
To Learn More about Improving Your Appointment Setting Skills
The strategies in this blog come from my complete sales training course, which includes professional training in appointment setting as well as other key sales skills like lead generation, sales presentation delivery, and closing. If you’d like to book unlimited appointments and master other sales skills that can boost your revenue, make sure to check out the link to my Silver Protege program, where you can find out more about my Unstoppable Selling System.