At its core, appointment setting provides quick and repeated access to key decision-makers in the markets and accounts that matter most to your business. A meeting with your prospect holds incredible potential that goes far beyond just building out your pipeline and driving growth. Whether utilizing appointment setting to augment an inside or outside sales team, every meeting is a valuable forum for relationship building, fact finding and identifying additional opportunities.
Over the past 21+ years, we’ve secured more than 450,000 meetings for hundreds of high tech clients across North America – and, along the way, identified some core best practices associated with appointment setting success.
Here are five tips for maximizing every meeting secured through appointment setting.
1. Focus on the other ROI.
For many in sales, the go-to pitch is around return on investment. But a more powerful pitch is revenue on investment – how much more profitable and productive the prospect’s business will be with your solution. Think beyond the CIO – craft a pitch that will wow the CFO and CEO, too. How will your solution pump up the organization’s bottom line? If you can save them $10 million a year that they can reinvest in R&D, they’ll soon produce better products, which will ultimately lead to more revenue. Pull together a big-picture pitch – it’ll be thought provoking for prospects, which ensures maximum impact.
2. Shhhhhhhh. Listen!
Great news, your organization’s appointment setting efforts have generated a meeting in that seemingly impenetrable account. But what’s the perfect sales call? You talk for five minutes to provide a quick introduction to your company and solution. Then, over the course of the next hour, ask five (maybe six) open-ended questions – and that’s it.
Let the prospect talk. If you’re asking the right questions, you’ll get the right answers, including additional insight into their business, short- and long-term goals, pains and challenges – all of which will enable you to capitalize on the current opportunity while uncovering other areas that hold potential.
3. Be prepared.
The Boy Scouts among us already have this committed to memory, but it’s absolutely critical for everyone in sales. Go into every interaction – whether it’s a first meeting with a prospect secured through appointment setting or one of many meetings with a customer – with a plan, an agenda and a well-defined goal. At a high level, you need to have an understanding of how your solution can impact business. Come in with examples of success you’ve had with organizations in the prospect’s industry or related field.
Prepping ahead of time will keep you focused and on track during the meeting, and enable you to ask the right questions to get to the information you need. At the end of the meeting, reiterate everything you’ve covered, ensure each item has been addressed or has an action associated with it, and establish next steps so that everyone is left feeling that the meeting has advanced the conversation. Secure the second meeting while you’re there.
4. If you want to “land and expand,” don’t ever get comfortable.
It’s a great success when you’ve landed a new client! But don’t get comfortable or satisfied. Leverage your successes – ask your champion to introduce you to others in the organization who might have similar challenges. Get in front of folks at the executive level who can understand and appreciate the business impact of your solution. Continue to help, stay involved and build a personal relationship. Keep asking questions and soliciting feedback. The more connected you are to your customer, the more plugged in you’ll be to what’s going on behind the scenes and how you can help.
5. Be willing to fail.
Always take the big swing. Ask one more question. Request the big referral. Take a risk – chances are, it’ll pay off. (And if not, you’ll learn something. It’s a win-win.)