Appointment Setting Tips
Debunk the Myths and Misnomers of Lead Generation Firms
How do you plan on following up to the hundreds or thousands of emails that you are sending out to market your company? Are you sending another email? And then
Have you ever looked into hiring a lead generation firm? Do you think that they are a gimmick or that they do not provide quality leads? To debunk the myths and misnomers of lead generation firms, here is the anatomy of how our firm generates leads for you.
- A calling guide is developed. This is not a script, but it is a document that provides your calling team with information about your company, product, and/or service. It is what it says it is – a “guide”.
- You define who your prospects are, and if you are not able to do so, we will help you zero in on who to target. A list will be derived from this, either provided by you or purchased by us.
- Informational literature is sent to us, so we have the information that may be requested or used for training purposes.
- Training your appointment setting team members. The will learn your lingo, about your products/services, and any information that may be asked about your company. The team members will sound like a seamless extension of your sales team.
- Through a pre-launch conference call - team members are introduced to each other, and availability for appointments is established. Different team members have different availability.
- Emails addresses are established to continue with the seamless extension. This may be needed in case the prospect requests more information from your company. This is optional, not required, but suggested.
- With the parameters in place for the calling, the calling begins. Our team members all reside in the United States and are able to converse with the prospects on a professional level. They are professional conversationalists who are able to gather information from the calls and develop relationships with the prospects and the gate keepers.
- When an appointment is set, you will be notified by either or both an email and call that you have an appointment. Our members make appointments with prospects that have a genuine interest in what you are offering – so that each appointment that you receive from us is of the highest quality. They do not get paid by appointment because that causes padding of bad appointments – which will waste your time and discredit the standards that we set in place to provide that highest caliber leads to our clients.
- Depending upon your agreement, you will receive insight about the prospect. (News, background information, competitors….) The tools that will help you when you meet with the prospect.
- After the appointment setting begins, there is a 10 day review. During this review we are able to reevaluate the program and provide feedback to each other. If there is a common flag that arises during the calls, we can discuss this at this time, and how to respond to the flag if it arises again. During the life of the project, there will be other reviews to provide feedback on both sides.
- We ask for feedback on the set appointments. We want to know how we did; what the quality of the appointment was; what we can do to make it better….
- Every month you receive a monthly “four pack”. This “four pack” is a report that consists of the status and disposition of all prospects on the list that we are working from.
We do not take shortcuts, whether this is a full blown project or just a trial, we pride ourselves on detail
It all starts with a call…
I was looking at a recent LinkedIn posting – which asked this question: “What is the best lead generation technique?” The professionals that replied had several different techniques that they posted that I would like to share with you.
- Use targeted leads
- Free seminar with an evaluation to follow-up
- Telemarketing combo – warm the prospect with another form of media first
- Multi-channel approach – outbound email and calling that is targeted
There is a common theme here – targeting and calling. For b2b sales, you will need to target companies that have a need for your product or service and then call them. Whether you hold a seminar or send an email, the next step is a call. Your sales cycle start with a call. That is what engages them and gets the momentum going.
Insider Information – Pay Per Appointment Part I
People have said, “Pay per appointment is the way to go”, when looking for appointment setting firms. When asked why they explain –“we received many appointments.” So – I wanted to do a little investigating to find out how it really works – and what are the advantages and disadvantages of a “Pay Per Appointment” firm.
Prior to working for EAS LeadGen, I worked for an organization that outsourced its appointment setting. We had hits and misses. But the hits and misses were with the appointments that were set. These were supposed to be legitimate leads and people interested in appointments. This firm was paid an hourly rate, it wasn’t much, and I guess, we received the quality that we paid for at this rate. But, the callers – as I will call them since I would not consider them a part of our company’s sales team, well – they received bonuses for scheduling appointments. That may be why there were so many bad appointments – or it could have been the quality. This firm is still out there.
Well – things have changed – and appointment setting companies have become more sophisticated. (This is where the investigation comes in.) Now there is something called the “point system”. Are you familiar with it? This is how if works:
Each appointment setter, (not a team member because they are in it for themselves and not for you) receives points for the number of appointments that they set. They have a minimum requirement of appointments that they need to set, then there is a threshold – which is the point they must cross to get paid a bonus. Depending on the level of ethics of the organization, the Account managers throw out some of their appointments to make it harder for them (callers) to reach their threshold. In response to these activities, the callers, to meet requirements, began to “throw up wood”. This is lots of bad appointments so THEY get paid – and this gets passed on to the clients. The incentive for the “callers” is not quality, but quantity.
So – if you are the client – you are paying top dollar per appointment. The appointment may not even be a good one, and you have people calling on your behalf, representing your company who only care about getting paid – not about setting a qualified appointment or representing your company the way it should be. Often these appointments are forced upon people. Is this how you want to be represented? As a marketing manager or a sales manager, you are still spending the money on the leads, but you are not seeing the results.
If you are given 50 appointments and 10 result in face-to-face meetings and you are able to convert 2 into sales or you are given 17 appointments and all 17 lead to face-to-face meetings and you are able to convert 7 into sales – which is better – quantity or quality?
Which gives you a better return on your investment?
Insider Information – Pay Per Appointment Part II
There’s also the consultative approach, which is the EAS LeadGen approach, for appointment setting. It is significantly different then the pay per appointment approach. The pay per appointment approach – you get what you measure which precludes any consultative thought. In the pay per appointment approach there is not any research before the call, there is no focus on trying to make a good call and there is no discussion among team members to derive the best strategy to an appointment. What about post call? What did the rep learn during the conversation? Pay for appointment will not incentize anyone to capture or try to turn a “not now” conversation into one that captures market intelligence for the client – a really important by product of any consultative appointment setting effort.
At EAS LeadGen we are ex-Big 4 consultants. We are thinking about the triggers and touch points to get the appointments. Pay per appointment may work for transactional, “no thought”, run your finger down the phone book programs but in order to get appointments with C-levels and senior decision makers in the organization there is no way to justify a cost per appointment mentality.
If you could get the CFO of a Fortune 1000 to meet with you face-to-face – how much is that worth? Is it a homerun and you only need a handful per month to drive revenue? Or do you need 50 unqualified leads with people who are not decision makers? This is where the consultative approach, homework and a thought provoking conversation got the meeting. Do you realistically think that a pay for appointment type rep could obtain that CFO appointment? Yeah, I thought so.
With that said, there are great telemarketing firms – transactional – smile, dial and go home to second job. “Do you want the magazine subscription? No. OK, goodbye.” But, there are executive appointment setting firms – consultative, collaborative and strategic to get high value face to face appointments with the folks that usually create the budgets versus those that spend the budgets. Where do you want your sales people?
Which firm is working for you?
Telemarketing vs. Appointment Setting
Is telemarketing a thing of the past or has it been repackaged as “Appointment Setting”? Is there a difference between telemarketing and appointment setting? Reviewing what was expected of telemarketers and what is expected of appointment setters, there is a large difference in the process and outcome.
Telemarketing is still being used currently as a form of sales. Think robocalling – you answer your phone – you say “hello” a few times – and finally someone on the other end starts talking. I personally usually hang up. I know they are trying to sell me something. Think of the forceful scripted conversations – where the caller does not take “no” for an answer. There is not an art of conversation. The conversation is very black and white. This is what I’m offering and I want you to buy it. The best is when someone calls you – and you can’t even understand them. Even if it is a product/service that you are interested in, can you imagine dealing with the company with any problems or questions?
If you were not able to get the words “not interested” in fast enough, they scheduled an appointment with you. Only to have frustrated sales people call upon you to find out that you had no interest in the product or service. Chances are – the telemarketing firm was paid by appointment – so they scheduled appointments for people who had little or no interest.
This is a true story; I received a call – several years ago from a caller who was asking for my husband. I let the caller know that he was not available – and I could tell by the mispronunciation of his first name that this was a telemarketer – and I asked very nicely to be removed from the list. The caller then proceeded to yell at me and told me that this was my spouse’s girlfriend calling. If only the company that this person was calling for could hear how she was representing their company. I’m sure they would be horrified.
Appointment Setting was developed from everything that telemarketing was doing wrong. Appointment setting firms wanted to differentiate itself from telemarketing firms by offering high quality employees that can carry on conversations with gatekeepers and top level executives to build trust and create a positive brand image of the company they are representing. They are often highly trained about the products and services that they are representing.
The appointments that they schedule represent them. Their appointments are high caliber. They prime the prospects for the sales team. They supply collateral material upon requests from the prospects. They are not just a nameless caller making appointments on your behalf – they develop a rapport with the prospects and sales team and work as an extension of the sales team.
Do you agree that telemarketing has not been repackaged as “Appointment Setting”?
Need a Sales Infusion?
Are you looking ahead to the next quarter? Are your sales on target? The better question is, are you surpassing your sales goals?
It’s time to look at getting a fourth quarter sales infusion. Contacting EAS LeadGen, a professional lead generation firm, can help you increase your sales pipeline by providing you with qualified leads.
It’s time to amp up your game. Trade shows may be coming, email blasts are being sent out; what are you doing to follow up? To optimize the leads, hire a pro at optimizing. It is a very simple process:
- Contact EAS LeadGen
- Agree to a trial
- Provide us with a list or we will create one for you
- Attend your appointments
(There is also some paperwork that needs to be completed.)
Finding Professional Prospectors
The definition of prospecting is the search for mineral deposits in a place, especially by means of experimental drilling and excavation. Similar to prospectors in search of gold or oil, sales professionals also are on the hunt for new prospects – drilling down through lists and excavating warm prospects to turn them into sales. Another definition defines prospecting as “to work to discover its profitability.” Isn’t that what sales people strive to do? Each contact that they encounter – they want to know if the prospect is in need of the products or services that they have to offer.
Prospecting can be a daunting task. Think of the list you developed from social networking sites or the business cards you collected at a trade show (who may have been only interested in the free bottles of water that you were handing out). A recent conversation with a sales professional told me about the BRM’s(business reply mail) that are sent to the main office from a trade publication – only partially filled out – John from Company Q (that has ten thousand employees) is interested in our products. Yup – it said just “John” – no phone number or email address listed. And that was considered a good prospect!
If that is good – what is considered awful? There is no need to call in a forensics team when you can hire professional prospectors. Companies that offer this service can take a list, stack of business cards, or even create a list tailored to your needs and make contact with everyone on the list. Along the way they can weed out contacts that have incorrect information or are no longer with the company, zeroing in on the contacts that are interested in what you are offering. A quality firm will set appointments for you and gather information from the contacts that are not interested in what you have to offer. This information can be used to adjust your approach or give you insight into the needs in the market place.
Leaving it to the professionals – they will mine through a list for you and help you discover the prospects that will be profitable for you.
7 Valuable Misconceptions about Outsourcing Appointment Setting
- When you outsource appointment setting will get a robocaller making your calls. I don’t know what is worse a robocaller or waiting for the live person to come on the line. If you are selling robocalling systems – then you may want to use a firm that uses them – if not – why annoy them? Ask what type of calling system the firm uses. It’s a bad idea to annoy the prospect.
- Appointment setters are not from the United States. That may be true – and this is something you should ask before you hire a firm. Ask to speak to the team members that are calling on your behalf. They should sound like they are calling from your company. If you’re selling Italian wine – you may want your callers to be from Italy. In general – companies in the US want someone that they can understand. It is a reflection of your business.
- Appointment setters make bogus appointments because they get paid on how many appointments they set. This can be true. Once again – ask the firm how the callers are compensated. Ask for references. The goal of a good appointment setting firm should be to give you the highest quality appointment. Why? Because they want you to continue doing business with them.
- I’m afraid I’m not going to get what I have paid for. A quality appointment setting company should offer you a pilot program. This is a way you can see what they can provide you without getting in too deep.
- Appointment setters are a bunch of people sitting in a room with headsets on. Ugh – don’t you hate when you receive a call and you hear the other conversations in the background. It makes you feel like just a number and they don’t care. A good appointment setting firm should have conversationalists that can make appointments with key decision makers. They should reflect your company. With that being said – when deciding on a firm, look at who your prospects are and what type of firm has a better shot at making an appointment with them.
- Outsourcing an appointment setting firm is a waste of time because I have a sales team. There was this lyric from an 80’s band that went like this: “What do the mailmen do? The mailmen do deliver.” Same thing goes for sales – sales people sell. Appointment setters make the appointments – getting the grunt work out of the way for the sales team.
- Appointment setters annoy prospects. That would not be a good thing. Appointment setters should be brand ambassadors for your company – they are an extension of your sales team. If you hire a firm that is pushy or stalking prospects – then it is time to find another firm.