The Art & Science of B2B Appointment Setting

March 17, 2023

ViB Editorial Team

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Your ability to drive revenue and scale your business relies on your ability to generate qualified leads. But, as many sales and marketing professionals can attest, turning leads into appointments isn’t easy. In fact, 40% of salespeople rank prospecting as the most challenging part of the sales process, according to HubSpot. While some businesses gloss over this process and instead focus their attention and resources on top of funnel marketing efforts or end-stage deal-closing, this middle phase is one of the most critical.

Recently, Sean Shea, CEO of ViB, sat down with Scott Channell, a B2B sales expert, speaker, and author of the book “Sell The Meeting: Set Discovery Calls & Sales Appointments” to chat about why sales teams struggle with appointment setting and his seven secrets for filling your pipeline with promising meetings.

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The number one goal of appointment setting

The primary objective of appointment setting calls isn’t to sell your product or service or even convince the lead it’s worth buying. According to Scott, your sole goal is to enable a buyer to conclude that time with you is worth it and give you another conversation.

“Most of the people you’re speaking to do not recognize a need, which means you’re going to hear something other than ‘yes,’” Scott says. “You’re not trying to sell a product or service. What you’re trying to do is implant the idea that, even if they don’t think they’re going to buy from you, that time with you is worthwhile.”

He also points out that many organizations underperform in appointment setting because they waste valuable time on the wrong people. And no amount of strategy or good script-writing will make up for a bad fit.

But what if you’ve identified the right people, and they still say no? Scott says that’s usually a sign that you haven’t given them enough reason to spend more tie with you. For example, you might be unclear, fail to communicate your credibility, fail to hint at benefits, or don’t tell them what they’ll earn from investing time in a call.

Learn how to generate prospect meetings with appointment setting

“Working with ViB helped us find new audiences and put us in a much better spot. In just a few weeks, our conversion rate grew!”
Paula Ellis, Director of Demand Generation at Guardicore

So, what can you do to earn those meetings? Scott shared seven messaging secrets to boost your success rate. Here are the top three:

Messaging secret 1: create a pile of words

As with most business efforts, preparation is everything. Before you get on a call — or even begin crafting a script for a call — it’s vital you create what Scott calls “a pile of words.”

Start by looking through company and competitor information and repurposing powerful verbiage. Take time to consider how you’re going to refer to your organization, communicate your credibility, and which benefits you’re going to mention.

The goal is to ensure your prospective customers know that, even if they aren’t interested in buying, they’ll still feel their time with you will be well-spent. Take time to consider what value a call will bring to the table and give them a glimpse at that benefit.

And by “pile,” Scott means a literal stack of copy. For example, he’s currently working with a boutique wealth management firm, and the pile of words they’ve created is a whopping 12 pages. Once they’re finished compiling these words, phrases, and ideas, they’ll refine everything into a short but meaningful script.

“That’s the kind of foundation that you have to lay if you want to write good scripts that, in a few seconds, are going to grab someone’s attention and get them to pause a bit longer to conclude that meeting with you is worthwhile,” Scott says.

Watch the webinar: The Art & Science of Appointment Setting

Messaging secret 2: write it down

Of course, you can’t simply bypass the work by creating your word pile in your head or relying on your natural ability to build rapport. No matter how skilled or experienced an SDR or sales rep, Scott says it’s still crucial to write things down.

“If your reps are not writing down the verbiage or crafting structures for what they’re going to say in these repetitive scenarios, they are ripping up your dollars and throwing them out the window,” he says.

By writing down verbiage you’ll use in typical scenarios, such as getting resistance and objections, going to voicemail, interacting with gatekeepers, answering common questions, and a hard no, you’ll be ready for any situation.

Messaging secret 3: embrace the no

One of the biggest mistakes sales pros make is doing whatever it takes to avoid a no. But, as Scott says, no is the second-best response you can get. When prospects say “no,” he says they often mean, “not now.” And when you allow prospects to say no and don’t immediately respond with salesy rhetoric, that leads to better, more productive conversations.

And even if a no is the end of the road for the relationship, it’s better to hear the solid no now than to keep wasting time following up with people who are never going to buy.

“​If you’re not willing to embrace the no, what you end up doing is closing the possibility that you might be able to work with someone in the future because you say things to wreck it, and you lose credibility,​” Scott says.

Fortunately, if you’ve taken the time to identify your audience and prepare a good script, you’ll be less likely to hear as many no’s.

To learn Scott Channel’s other four secrets to successful appointment setting, plus useful tips for highly effective scripts, check out the full webinar here.

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