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Five Tips to Improve Appointment Making

As a sales person, our success in appointment making can sometimes be the difference that enables us to reach our sales targets.  With that being the case, there are clear things that we can do to improve our ability to get the appointment set.


1. Qualify the Prospect

A critical step to implement when trying to set appointments is to qualify the prospect.  This refers to making sure that the person you are trying to meet with is a good fit for what you are tying to sell.  If it is a good fit for them, they are more likely to accept your request to meet.

The best way to qualify the prospect is to ask a couple of questions during the cold call to see how they fit with what you have to offer.  Not only will effectively qualifying the prospect help with setting appointments, but it will also make sure the appointments that you spend your valuable time on are a good use of your time.


2. Decrease Guard

When cold calling prospects, it is very important to be cognizant of the fact that the people we talk to will likely have their guard at a medium level.  This is due to the fact that they have answered a call from someone they possibly don’t know and they are trying to determine if you are friend or a foe.

In order to improve results and set appointments, we need to do what we can to decrease prospect’s guard and there are very clear and practical things that we can do to do this.  Two things in particular are to name drop other individuals in the organization that you are calling into and you can also disqualify the prospect.


3. Build Rapport

Taking the act of decreasing guard one step further, we should do what we can to build rapport with the prospect as this can improve their openness to taking our meeting.  This can be challenging on a cold call as you really only have between two to five minutes to work with.  But there are some minor things we can do to build rapport like confirming they are available before proceeding with the cold call, disqualifying them early on the call, delivering a value statement, active listening, qualifying, etc.


4. Build Interest

To improve our appointment making results, we can focus on our ability to build interest.  One of the keys to building interest is finding pain.  If there is no pain, there is no reason for change and if there is no reason for change, there is no reason to meet with you.  Once you uncover pain, you can focus on magnifying it by identifying the impact and then connect to it the business value that you have to offer.


5. Tell, Don’t Ask

Once you have effectively built interest, you should try to get the appointment set.  One thing to help with this is to shift from asking for the meeting to telling the prospect to meet with you.  There is something very powerful about the difference between the two following statements:


“Based on what we discussed, are you interested in meeting to discuss in more detail?”

– compared to –

“Based on what we discussed, we should definitely meet to discuss in more detail.”

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Launch Pad Solutions provides cold call training helping sales pros to improve appointment making.

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This article was published on Sunday 14 August, 2011.
Back to main topic: Appointment Setting
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