If you found yourself on the other end of a cold call at least once in your life, you would understand how annoying and self-serving the conversation could be.
Yet, according to DiscoverOrg, 78% of decision makers surveyed have taken an appointment or attended an event because of an email or a cold call.
We are now left with the glaring contradiction between the stigma and favorable data of telemarketing. How do we reconcile the two?
Appointment setting is an evolved form of telemarketing. While the latter often involves making unsolicited calls to directly offer a product or service, the former implicitly sells by aiming to have an appointment first with the prospect. Thus, appointment setting focuses on the experience and relationship offered not on company X or its products. This is a win-win situation for both business looking to generate lead and prospect intending to benefit from such learning and networking experience.
Whether you’re a small-time business looking to grow or a corporation aiming to increase sales and achieve stability, here are some important skills that your Singaporean appointment setter should have to be able to leverage on the benefits of appointment-setting:
Calling people may seem to be a no-brainer. However, without prior research and preparation, you’re more likely to disappoint a prospect than convert him/her into a client. According to MarketingSherpa, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Such poor performance is commonly attributed to the lack of lead nurturing.
Research skill will help you understand your business and prospect very well. With background information, you will be able to determine possible needs and challenges prospects are currently faced with and consequently align them with solutions that your company is capable of providing. As such, you will be able to promptly attend to your prospects’ concerns and questions. In the process of researching, you may also find relevant information which you may use in establishing personal connection between you and your prospects. You might have worked with them before or with other businesses that had the same problems as theirs. You start from there.
STRONG ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS
It’s easy to get lost and stressed by just looking at the long line-up of prospects in the phonebook or by thinking about the quota you have to reach. What more to be caught up in a conversation that needs a lot of convincing. An appointment setter must have strong organizational skill so he/she must get the work done regardless of the bumps that will come along the way. This entails ability to set an agenda and focus on the objectives to achieve it; to manage time wisely and specify quotas; to streamline prospects and appropriate media according to relevant categories; and to efficiently take down significant points of the conversation.
You can only generate lead if you can lead people to believe in you. Thus, the importance of having leadership skill in setting an appointment cannot be stressed enough. A prospect expects a sense of initiative, reliability, and independence from an appointment setter. An appointment setter must be able to offer opinions and directives when solicited, must be knowledgeable in what he/she says, and must be able to act with little supervision. He/she follows through and guides the prospect in every level of the process. More importantly, he/she knows how to convert weaknesses into strengths and leverage strengths to his/her company’s advantage. This may be done by setting up systems that work – learned from bad calls or inspired by good ones.
CRITICAL-THINKING AND CREATIVITY SKILLS
Setting an appointment is no different from an interview. You must be able to think on your toes when an unexpected query is thrown at you and you must be able to provide unique yet relevant answers to stand out. An appointment setter must be readily able to answer questions, provide unique solutions to conventional problems, and make rebuttals work in his/her company’s favor. He/she also knows his/her limits – when to push through and when to stop. When pressured, he/she acts with grace and focus.
This is a given but a golden rule. An appointment setter must not only be a good speaker but also a good listener. He/she must not only be able to convey information effectively but must also be able to actively listen to the prospect. He/she must be able to deconstruct complex information in a language that the prospect understands. Moreover, he/she must also be able to determine important points, to timely interrupt and respond, and ask appropriate questions. An effective communicator also knows how to empathize with another. Above all, an appointment setter has an open and positive mind. Instead of seeing differences, he/she sees an opportunity for negotiation and then comes up with and communicates a win-win situation for both sides.
It is important to note that when you convince people to buy a product or patronize a company or go to an appointment, they will not only be going after a material or entity or appointment but they will also be paying for experience. That experience can likely outweigh product quality, company standing, or price points.
The impression you make in setting your appointment with them can either make them love your brand more or drive them away. Appointment setters should be equipped with relevant skills so that through them, the prospects may have a taste of both the experience and product/service the company takes pride in.
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