Appointment Setting is just one of the many types of calls that Telemarketers may make.
In some outbound call centers telemarketers are responsible for setting appointments with potential clients. The company will then send a sales Representative out to visit with the client.
But Appointment Setting is not just used in a Call Center environment.
For instance, many Sales Consultants or Self Employed professionals will make Telemarketing calls designed to set an appointment with a client. This appointment then gives them a chance to speak in a face to face meeting with the client to talk about their product or service.
For many types of business this is a far better option than trying to sell their product or service only over the phone. Products or services that are complicated to explain or demonstrate or are priced over about $500 are often best sold face to face. Setting Appointments with these clients though is definitely a useful telemarketing task.
For many, they see setting an appointment as a very simple form of Telemarketing. Many Call Center’s place advertisements with the line “Appointment Setting only – No Selling.” I assume this is to entice those who are not confident selling over the phone to work in their Call Center. Not something I would do…..
You see Appointment Setting is selling! It is selling an appointment. It is selling the client on why they should put aside and commit to spending their valuable time with your business. So don’t fall in to the trap of believing that appointment setting doesn’t need skill…it does!
All of the skills we talk about all throughout this site still apply to Appointment Setters.
For information on telemarketing skills click on any of the following links:
How to approach an Appointment Setting Call
I believe that it is far better to make an appointment with a Warm Call (even if it is only lukewarm) than a Cold Call. Why?
Well, if it is your very first contact with a client you have the following hurdles to jump:
- You need to build a lot of interest very quickly. This is not impossible, but can be tough. What it means is that you may have to go through many leads to get an appointment. This wastes time and leads.
- You don’t know if your client is qualified. By qualified, I mean… can they buy your product? Do they earn income? Are they in the age group you seek? Do you need clients who are home owners? etc…
- Because we are trying to achieve so much in one call, the call may be overwhelming to the customer and may feel pushy to them. This will lead to either
- people not booking appointments with you at all, or;
- people booking appointments and then canceling or not showing up for it.
I believe that an appointment is best set with a client as a second contact. The first contact may have been by telephone or it may be in person. Let me give you some ideas on this:
- Send out a brochure or offer.
- Run a shopping center promotion or trade show promotion
- Do a door knock campaign
- Try a telephone survey
I have personally used all of these methods and they all work well.
After this initial contact with a client we now have some things in our favor:
- The client knows who we are and will probably recognize our company name when we call them (if not we can remind them of our previous contact)
- With the last three options listed above, we have had a chance to qualify our potential client before calling them a second time.
- We have had an opportunity to build a little interest in our product or service. We were able to do this because we have not asked the client for anything at this stage.
- We have had an opportunity to learn a little about their needs in the area we are discussing with them. This information will help us to tailor our presentation to this client. Now we can call the client within 3 – 7 days of our initial contact to set an appointment with them. We can offer them a gift as a thank you for having us come to visit with them, but normally at this stage our offer to discuss further with them at a time that suits them will be enough.
As always, we must have a script prepared before making this or any other call.
The best advice I can give to anyone setting appointments is this:
- Ask for the appointment with a closed question. An example is…
“Jenny I have an advisor who is in your area on Thursday. He could come out to see you at 4pm or 5pm. Which time would suit you best?
This closed question offers 2 very clear and concise options for the client to choose from. It guides the client nicely and keeps you in control of the conversation.