Boost B2B Appointment Setting Guide: Book More Sales Calls
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Let’s face it, you want to achieve better b2b appointment setting results but you don’t want to work harder. It seems like you could benefit from using modern selling strategies to book more sales calls. In this guide we’ll cover how to do that.
Let’s talk about it:
What Is B2B Appointment Setting?
B2B appointment setting is an important part of the overall B2B sales process, as it helps set the precedent for the rest of the sales process with a specific decision-maker or company.
While some people treat B2B appointment setting as an unfortunate part of the sales process to overcome before getting to the sale (and money), this part of the process is critical for a few reasons which include being a vital time to
- Understand the needs and challenges of your future customer.
- See if you’re both are a good fit together.
- See if this is a headache you want to endure.
Understand the needs and challenges of your future customer
It’s simple, you can’t help someone who doesn’t want it(or want it from you or your company).
Use the process of B2B appointment setting to learn if your company can indeed help the person you’ve reached out to.
To do that, you’ll need to learn about their needs and challenges. While I do not recommend asking about these challenges before you get on a call together, you can do research to disqualify most companies and decision-makers beforehand.
For example, if you know that your service costs multiple thousands and most businesses that buy it have teams of about thirty, you can weed out teams that have fewer people or way too many, as in 10,000 employees.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is great for this and can help you filter out companies that are a bad fit before outreach through using its search function.
See if you both are a good fit together
I recommend an approach to business that is relatively simple,
You should avoid suffering and try to help people.
If it’s clear that you have reached out to someone who will cause you great suffering (being a know-it-all, are unwilling to communicate or comply with basic requests to help their company), it may be best to part ways early.
While the hit may sting money-wise, the psychic pain of continuing hurts worse.
For those of you wondering whether it is just a compatibility thing, it is and it isn’t.
What’s more likely than not, when I run into a company and decision-maker who aren’t working out, there’s is an underlying issue they aren’t telling me about.
So not only are these difficult people to work with, they make it difficult (or impossible) for you to help them.
Also, while it seems “duh” obvious, you want to be able to help the people you do business with. This is easier said than done.
Sometimes, they have tried exactly what your product or service entails via another company and it’s up to you to come clean as to whether their money is best spent with you.
Act in the customer’s best interest in the short run in order to get what you really want in the long run, repeat business for years to come.
That only comes with trust and favoring a long-term view for doing business.
Just imagine, customers for life. Doesn’t that sound sweet?
See if this is a headache you want to endure
B2B appointment setting is also a great time to get a picture of the sort of headache you can expect to deal with over the next few days, weeks, months, or years, regarding service and delivery.
Once you get a clear picture of the needs and challenges of this specific business person and company, you’ll want to move forward with eyes wide open.
Accept that the journey ahead will include the headache you must handle or get out while you have the chance.
What Are The Most Important Things To Focus On To Be Successful With B2B Appointment Setting?
- Sharing just enough information.
- Finding the right person.
- Just getting to the next step.
Sharing just enough information
Also known as not shooting yourself in the foot.
Here’s an interesting idea. When you are setting up a connection for B2B appointment setting, you want to ask,
“What’s in it for the decision-maker who hops on the call?”
What they gain typically involves learning the specifics of
- Your offer.
- Your pricing, regarding their situation.
- Their needs as you see them.
- Your recommendation.
If you give all of this important information away, what would you talk about?
Nuthin’–which means there’s not a compelling reason to hop on a call.
I’ve had people ask for each of these beforehand. In my experience, the more they want upfront, the more they’re looking to disqualify you from their list of choices.
Don’t fall for the old “send me all the information I need to my email and I’ll get back to you” routine. Spoiler: they won’t get back to you.
This is where modern selling assists, helping you build trust before the prospect of a call comes up.
Alan Weiss, in his book “Million Dollar Consulting,” takes it so far as to say that people asking for references fall in the same category, essentially time-wasters. Assuming that you are fully committed to modern selling strategies, there should be some kind of trust built at the start.
As you get your modern selling strategies working in your favor, every inquiry should not be coming from your LinkedIn cold calling campaigns.
That puts you in a better position as a possible trusted advisor versus a desperate prospector.
Finding the right person
This is the crux of marketing, getting to the right people from the get. This is where most business owners and executives waste the majority of their time, by not taking this concept seriously.
They have something that seems to be delivering results, so they stick with it. But it’s all vanity and vanity metrics. Because whoever these people are that they’re getting, and wherever they’re getting them, will never buy.
Who cares if you have 50,000 followers if they have no interest in your products, couldn’t buy them if they wanted to, and come from industries you don’t serve?
That’s the danger of social media, a bunch of push, push, slap, grab (or whatever) and no results.
You can start to define whether the person you are connecting with is the right person by asking
- Is this the right position to talk to at this company?
- Do they have real power to push this forward?
- Are they a “know-it-all”?
- Does their company sound like your ideal prospect?
- Are they the most-educated person (on your solution type) you can get on a call?
Just getting to the next step
There are always more questions that you could have answered during the B2B appointment setting process, however, if you’re at least sure a call would not be an utter waste of time, just make it happen.
Move forward by a straightforward ask for a call. I recommend doing video calls whenever possible if sales leads are willing since research suggests more deals are closed via video calls where you can be seen.
How Do I Schedule More Appointments?
If you want to schedule more B2B appointments, you’ll need to leverage modern selling techniques and strategies that do not rely on old ideas that have become unhelpful.
These strategies use trust and familiarity to build up your B2B sales appointments and opportunities. That said, in a nutshell, you can use an understanding of modern selling to book more appointments by:
- Being honest about your intentions.
- Posting regularly to B2B social media.
- Using video-powered messaging.
- Leveraging LinkedIn connections.
- Taking the conversation to other channels.
Being Honest About Your Intentions
If you want to see a global technology head get upset via message, try being coy about your desire to sell him or her (as I’ve learned from personal experience).
While people may or may not want to feel sold they certainly don’t want their time wasted. Being disingenuous only hurts your company’s brand and your personal reputation. Not a good start for a mutually beneficial relationship.
Now you may be shaking your head again, saying “duh,” wondering who might be so foolish as to try to trick people into sales situations– just check what the misinformed person is doing on LinkedIn. I get tone-deaf messages like these all the time. Just today I received:
By reading their headlines I can deduce that they want to pitch me with their automated LinkedIn programs. This is why I don’t recommend automated LinkedIn, it is easy to see through.
It is clear these people want the opposite of what they might claim in a message and I am 1 in 1000 people they plan to spam-blast today.
Don’t be this person.
Hint at it in your pre-appointment setting messages
Mention that you’re looking to expand your business and make connections to that effect and for that purpose. It may get you fewer connections initially, but those who connect will be more likely to respond to further requests.
Don’t dodge business talk
LinkedIn is a business platform, so if you want to talk business, talk business. Many spammers seem allergic to any phrase with the word “business” in it and instead talk about their “network.” Use the b-word.
Keep it concise and conversational
As you keep the conversation growing and flowing, use concise language whenever you can, getting to the point of your message quickly.
Do not send this…
This is just depressing! I see multiple links( I cut it short to hide the second calendly link, to help the guilty save face). When I see that I just want to run away.
I can see what they are trying to do here–but this is not the place for a full sales letter!
Unfortunately, there are marketing experts who are teaching that all of our modern selling techniques are just updates on old strategies ( I might have even said it somewhere, to be honest) but that doesn’t mean it’s a copy-paste situation.
We may use the example of old techniques to emphasize some similarities with the modern–but they are not the same!
Posting Regularly To B2B Social Media
Perhaps the most trying thing to do consistently is to keep posting to social media for B2B purposes. That means sharing helpful ideas in your niche to your target audience.
This is difficult to do because social media posting often creates sales opportunities when you don’t expect it, through the effects of networks. The inconsistency can lead to a regular feeling of pointlessness about the activity.
I get it.
In spite of this, here are some tips to help keep you on track with your regular B2B social media posting.
Be the face of your business
Don’t have the time (or desire) to create helpful written posts? Maybe you can record something in a few minutes instead. Use your smartphone, while standing in front of an interesting background and speak your tip into the phone camera.
Save and upload it.
Recent research around influencer-people suggests that a sense of candidness with business-focused communication, that influencer-people tend to deliver, increases peoples’ likeliness of trusting what you have to say.
So, don’t be afraid to be the face of your business.
Tie-in your content marketing and blog automatically
A regularly updated blog with content working well for your target audience may be just the fuel you need to fire-up your B2B social media presence.
Use tools like Revive Old Posts and Jetpack On WordPress in order to share (and reshare) relevant content to your B2B social media followers.
Note of caution here: I do not recommend re-posting to LinkedIn, as the lower amount of posts will mean people will take notice. You’ll look like a spammer. Not a good look. Go ahead and repost on Twitter though. The sheer number of tweets keeps you safe.
Use tools like Buffer to schedule regular posts
We can’t all think of cool, pithy things to say to social media land on the fly, off-the-cuff, the moment we have our keyboards under our mitts, that’s why planning will be a savior for your social efforts.
Use tools like Buffer in order to plan out relevant content you would like to share. You can get pretty far with their free plan (even manage 2 accounts with it).
As far as when to post, as far as LinkedIn goes, I recommend posting:
Monday through Friday, generally
Tuesdays and Thursday mornings before 12 PM Eastern Time for those big posts where you’d like some traction.
Due to the sheer volume of tweets, timing is nearly irrelevant, outside of general rules like posting on weekdays.
Big downfall with planning posts: You cannot mention specific people within planned LinkedIn posts on Buffer. You can mention users for Twitter in planned posts.
Using Video-powered Messaging For B2B Appointment Setting
In opposition to the social media spammer caricature, I recommend you use webcam video pitches with embedded call-to-actions(buttons). This B2B appointment setting action happens via social media and allows you a chance to get personal.
The process is straightforward:
- Record a short webcam pitch in front of someone’s profile.
- Edit the video to include your call-to-action.
- Copy the link for the video.
- Paste the link for the video in your social media message.
Some salespeople are already doing some kind of variations of this (woohoo!). I’m recommending a few extra tips to help you get more B2B sales appointments
Learn about some similarities you share
The biggest way to stand out with LinkedIn lead generation is to care, to give a darn about the people that you happen to be reaching out to. At the very least you can help someone feel better understood or appreciated.
Before recording your webcam pitch on their profile, go ahead and scroll, learning more about this person and noting the things that you have in common. You may find this also helps to justify your meeting
Get clear about what you’re asking and why
It gets said (way too often) that everyone’s favorite radio station is WIIFM or what’s in it for me.
But it is true.
You will not be the only person vying for a decision-maker’s time. You must overcome the bad actors by making it clear in your pitch
- What you’re asking for.
- What’s in it for them.
- Why they should care.
- What they should do next.
Point out what they should do next
You want sales leads to click the button in your video. You should have that cued up and make it apparent by choosing a color that stands out, is not dark, and clearly summarizes what they want in a few words.
For example, if your quick offer is a free report on what their competitors are doing online that’s crushing their chances at more business, your button may read “Download Your Free Competitor Analysis.”
Leveraging LinkedIn Connections
How do you get someone to put a billboard in their yard? By not asking for it right away.
In his book “Influence,” Robert Cialdini mentions a test that eventually got people to put billboards in their yards for a specific environmental cause.
The secret was starting with the smallest of asks, a small sign that could fit in the corner of a window. But researchers kept making requests of these homeowners.
With each ask, the homeowner was reminded of their previous commitment to the environmental cause they’d supported with their last sign. And with each ask the sign got bigger.
Each request had a bigger sign left on their property until most respondents had a nice-sized billboard on their yard at the end.
That is the power of consistency. When people are reminded of previous commitments, they tend to go with their previous decisions and to where they lead.
You can use the power of consistency with LinkedIn by reminding old connections of the fact you’re connected. After that, you can ask them for a meeting.
You can use a message like the one here.
Important note: It’s best to do this with connections that you’ve been connected with at least 4months.
Taking The Conversation To Other Channels
Your whole sales strategy hinges upon the ability to get in touch with the right people, your ideal prospects, or sales leads.
Whatever you call them, you need to keep in touch with them over various channels today, if you want to continue to stay in front of them.
LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for B2B appointment setting, but it doesn’t have usage rates as high as regular ole social media platforms such as Facebook.
Stay in touch over other channels using these tips:
Get them into your email
When you’re setting up a B2B sales appointment with a sales lead, be sure to ask for their email in order to set things up.
This gives you another means of keeping in touch with them. Also, it allows you to add them to more complex tracking systems and tools such as a customer relationship management tool or CRM.
Use tools like RIght Inbox for email management
Ever wonder how you can navigate your inbox while staying on top of your best sales leads?
Use Right Inbox to make sure you stay in touch with hot leads. Right Inbox is a plugin for Chrome and Gmail that allows you to do things like
- Schedule emails.
- Create recurring emails.
- See how many times your email is opened or clicked.
- Make private notes on emails for future reference.
- Create and save templates that you can use later.
- Choose between different signatures.
- Automate sequences to send when someone doesn’t reply.
- Set emails to be reminded, or placed at the top of your inbox at specific times.
- Sync emails to your CRM.
How Can I Be A Good Appointment Setter?
It’s a critical question to ask because without understanding that you have to keep depending on “hearing back” from the right connection or keep worrying about the future of your company and how you will get your next deal.
When you can create sales appointment and opportunities with predictability,
You will, instead, be in control of the sales opportunities you create
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