At Inside Sales Solutions, our sales development representatives (SDRs) set appointments all day long. In generating over 10,000 appointments per year for our clients, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to get the job done.

If you’re looking to set and keep more, better quality appointments, check out these seven tips from our experts.

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Tip 1: Always be (extra) prepared

Every great salesperson knows that being prepared for a prospecting call is important. But most stop short in their preparations.
Yes, you must understand the products and services you are pitching to the prospect, but don’t spend too much time memorizing all of the intricacies. (You’ll see why in TIP 2.)

Instead, seek to understand how that product/service can benefit the person you are calling. Knowing the answer to the crucial question, “What’s in it for me?” for every prospect you reach out to will put you steps ahead.

Just remember, the answer to that question can vary widely depending on the goals and aspirations of the person you are talking with. That’s why it’s so important to understand who they are and what they might care most about.

 

Tip 2: Hold back the proverbial “golden nuggets”

Sometimes the hardest part about making cold calls is capturing prospects’ attention. It’s such a challenge to get time with the right people, it can be tempting to “spill it all” immediately after getting someone on the phone.

Our advice? Don’t.

Giving away too much information in that first conversation can be overwhelming for any prospect. Plus, too much detail too early can make it easy for them to disqualify your offering before they fully understand its value.

Having a value-based conversation will be much more persuasive and get you to the right ask faster. So, skip the heavy feature/benefit conversations for now. Simply pique their curiosity and sell the idea of the meeting with an Account Executive instead.

 

Tip 3: Match and mirror

The most persuasive people are active listeners who are comfortable with silence and who ask the right kinds of open-ended questions. The better you become at listening to your prospects, the better your chances of getting a meeting.

When your prospect senses that they can trust you and that you understand their viewpoint, you begin to build rapport. When you pair this feeling of trust with a match and mirror strategy, where you adopt the physical and verbal behaviors of your prospect, they’ll be even more inclined to accept.

For example, if the person you are talking with is laid back and informal, take a more laidback informal tone. If they are very polished and to the point, stick to the script.

7 appointment setting tips

 

Tip 4: Burn the candle on both ends

No. We’re not suggesting you work around the clock. This strategy is one where you approach getting a meeting with a key decisionmaker from more than one angle.

In a traditional approach, you work your way in from the top-down, focusing the highest-level persona you can get time with in the organization. When it works, this is the quickest route to getting a referral to the right person.

When it doesn’t, we suggest attacking things from the bottom up. With much more time on their hands and a desire to prove their worth, many of the more junior staff will be more forthcoming with valuable information such as the organization’s day to day challenges, existing tooling, sales roadmap, goals, and more.

Getting this information can help you do two things: 1) get a meeting with a decision-maker, and 2) pass important details on to your Account Executives to use during that meeting.

 

Tip 5: Don’t muddy the waters

We see this all the time: an SDR gets some traction into a key account and the Account Executive starts reaching out before a meeting is scheduled.

Their intentions are always in the right place, but this becomes very confusing for the prospect and will often lead to no-show appointments. Not only does it feel pushy, but it makes it seem as if your right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

To mitigate this, make sure you have a clear process in place with your account executives so that they know when to reach out. Better yet, we recommend making a formal handoff at the beginning of your scheduled sales call where you introduce them to each other and give them some common ground to start a successful relationship.

 

Tip 6: Timing is everything

Let’s face it. People are busy — really, really busy — especially decision-makers. That’s why it’s important to time your outreach according to your prospect’s schedule. It just doesn’t make sense to perform hundreds of calls during lunchtime or during peak meeting hours.

If you don’t have any insight into how your prospects spend their day, figure out their time zone then plan to call them between 9 and 11 a.m. or 3 to 5 p.m. From our experience, these are the most optimal times, but your experience might vary based on your industry and goals.

BONUS: If you track this information, this is one area where you can pool and analyze your data to find the time(s) that offer the best opportunity to connect.

 

Our Best Advice: Hire the experts

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try you just might not be able to hit your goals. That’s OK. You are not alone, and you have an affordable, effective option: outsource.

Outsourcing allows your internal sales team to focus on higher-value tasks — such as closing deals — which will likely translate into more sales, faster.

When looking for a partner, we recommend finding one that shares your goals and has worked with other clients in your specific industry.

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Don't make your decision until you read our guide to creating a successful partnership for growth.
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