As a sales development partner, our mission is to connect clients with qualified leads. Along the way we’ve developed a few strategies that power our success – including ones specifically designed to get leads to schedule a second appointment after the discovery call to fully engage in the sales process.

How well does it work? While we’ve seen many companies get a second call 30-45% of the time, our conversion rate from first to second appointment is consistently at 60-70%.

Gartner reports the top-performing teams achieve 59% conversion from SQL to opportunity.

And if you didn’t guess from the title, this article is all about sharing our secrets.

A Sales Process that Works

Before we jump right in and give you the recipe to our secret sauce, let’s lay the groundwork for what our process looks like at a high level.

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  1. Qualification Call

This is the first and only call with the SDR. During this unscheduled outbound call, our SDRs will qualify the leads and clearly communicate the value of the product or service (more on that later).

  1. Discovery Call / First Appointment

This is the first appointment between the prospect and the account executive. However, we always include the SDR for the first few minutes of this call to help ease introductions and recap what was discussed in the qualification call.

  1. Second Appointment

The second appointment is usually where the rubber really meets the road, meaning the prospect is seriously evaluating the solution.

An important note: While the qualification call is technically the first call with a new prospect, for the remainder of the article we’ll refer to the discovery call as the “first appointment.”

Tactics to Improve Your First to Second Appointment Conversion Rates

So, how do we do we do it? While some might chalk it up to talented salespeople, we’ve identified a clear set of tactics that convert more prospects to that second appointment.

  1. Create Value in the Qualification Call

The prospect doesn’t care about your product or service, they care about what it can do for them – how it makes their life easier, the challenges it solves for. It’s up to your SDR or outside sales partner to relay that value in the qualification call.

Unfortunately, many sales organizations overlook the opportunity to begin positioning their value this early in the process. All too often, salespeople simply assume the prospect will understand the value after a quick cookie-cutter pitch or will stick around long enough to discover it.

But often, skipping this step means losing a potential customer.

By setting up the value of your organization in the qualification call in a way that’s personalized for the prospect, they’ll be more likely to show up for that first call with the Account Executive. And when they do, they’ll have a clear understanding of the benefits you can provide, and the conversation will go much more smoothly.

  1. Confirm First Appointment 24 – 48 Hours in Advance

While this may seem obvious, not every salesperson sends their prospect a confirmation email in advance of their first appointment. Which can be detrimental to show rates. After all, how can you convert a new prospect for a second call if they don’t even bother to show up to the first one?

  1. Wait Until the Day of to Send Meeting Link/Phone Number

Ever forgotten about a meeting you’ve had on the books for weeks only to be reminded by a “where are you” email sent 10 minutes after the meeting was supposed to start? That’s probably how your prospect feels about 5 times a day.

Luckily, there’s an easy solve, send meeting details – specifically the link to the meeting or the phone number – the day of your meeting. That way, when your prospect logs into their email in the morning, you’re the first thing they see.

This is an easy way to send a reminder without coming across as pushy.

  1. Include the SDR in the First Appointment/Discovery Call

Nothing is more awkward than the cold hello at the beginning of your discovery call. Especially when your SDR isn’t there to help introduce the prospect and AE and summarize what was spoken about on the qualification call.

When scheduling that first appointment, make sure your SDR is in the loop and can join the meeting at least for the first 15 minutes.

  1. Ask for the Second Appointment

Our last piece of advice is simple: Ask for the second appointment. You would be amazed how many salespeople forget this one small, but oh so critical step. Because if you don’t ask, then the answer is always no – or more accurately, the probability is significantly lower.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

If your goal is to increase your conversions from the first to second appointment and keep getting meetings on the books, what not to do is almost as important as what to do. These three mistakes can derail your conversation and your hopes of winning over that new prospect.

  1. Not being specific enough in your outreach

You can’t be everything to everyone and if you aren’t being specific in your initial outreach, chances are you’ll end up wasting your time with unqualified or uninterested prospects instead of meeting with someone who could be your next client.

  1. Not coming prepared with industry/look-alike stories

Winning trust is hugely important to winning a new client, and a factor that can often be difficult to achieve, especially if you don’t come prepared. Prospects want to see that you’ve worked with a similar client – be it by industry, product type, or location – and they want to see the proof that what you do actually works.

Case studies, testimonials, or look-alike stories carry a big weight. Why? Because clients or consumers trust other consumers more than they will ever trust your brand (at least initially). By showing a prospect that you’ve achieved great results for a similar client, you build trust and make it that much more likely that you’ll get a second meeting.

  1. Letting the prospect assume too much

This goes hand-in-hand with point one of our tactics for success. All too often, we see SDRs who aren’t accurately relaying the value of their product in the qualification call, which can result in one of two problems:

  1. The prospect assumes your product can solve an issue that it can’t. And when they realize this, they are quick to shut down the conversation and leave.
  2. The prospect assumes your product can’t solve an issue and they never show up to the first appointment with the AE.

In either case, the assumptions all but ruin the chance of converting your first appointment into a second.

While there is no magic eight ball answer to increasing your first to second appointment conversion rates, chances are good that if you leverage our tactics (and avoid the pitfalls), you’ll be well on your way to converting 60-70%, perhaps even more.

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