Define Your Offering
Start by defining the scope of your appointment-setting campaign. Are you trying to obtain new clients, expand into a new market segment, or introduce a new product?
Give, Don’t Take
While it’s essential that you have a clear purpose, it’s equally important to define how you’re going to be helping your prospects. You are not calling them to take up their time, to do a fast sell, or do market research. B2B decision makers will only be willing to open the door if you can help them to solve their problems and meet their objectives.
Befriend the Admin
The administrative assistant is your friend. If you convince him or her, the admin will help you to reach the person with whom you need to talk. After all, he or she likely has access to the prospect’s calendar. This enables the admin to offer a wealth of information.
So let the admin know via email that you’ve tried to reach his or her manager, and what you would like to talk to the manager about. Ask when would be a good time for you to call the manager back, and also provide your contact information and when it’s easiest to reach you.
Listen and Learn
When you reach the decision maker, let him or her do most of the talking. You’re digging to discover how you can help the prospect best. So ask open-ended questions that he or she can expand on, such as:
- How does this affect the rest of the company?
- How would you personally like to resolve it?
Ask the most important questions— not those that you can easily research.
When trying to set an appointment, be very clear what the meeting will be about. When you ask your questions, find out what’s most important to the prospect. Is he or she more interested in the technical aspects of your solution or strategic issues? Find out if he or she intends to have other people at the meeting who may have other interests. That way, you will be prepared to address all their concerns.
Don’t Push the Timing
It’s easy to want to push too hard for an appointment now because that’s what you want, but you cannot force it. You can nurture a rose in your garden, and it may bloom a little earlier and grow stronger, but you can’t make it grow in the middle of the winter. The same is true of appointments. Nurturing decision makers with the information they need to help solve their problems can help them move through the buying cycle faster and strengthen their relationship with your company, but it cannot completely change their priorities.
If you push for an appointment too early, your sales team will end up being frustrated because there is no concrete interest. So if a prospect is not ready yet, don’t say, “how’s your schedule this week?” Ask him or her to schedule an appointment next month or quarter. Let the prospect know if something comes up; he or she can always reschedule. Of course, don’t go much beyond the next quarter….Too much can happen!
Qualify the Prospect and Set the Appointment
Make sure the prospect has the authority to buy, a need for your product, a budget if the solution meets the need and a timeline for purchasing. Then, if the prospect starts asking you more detailed questions about your product, indicating what he or she is looking for, painting a picture of his or her needs and challenges, and fishing for an estimation of price, it’s time to suggest a meeting! If you take the time to do it right, business-to-business appointment setting becomes a lot easier.
For information about how 3D2B can help you with business to business appointment setting, call +1 718 709 0900 or +39 06 978 446 60 (EMEA).