4 Appointment-​Setting Best Practices to Get That First Meeting

BY Jessica Helinski
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Appointment-​setting is a crucial step in getting a first meeting with a prospect, and it relies heavily on the seller’s ability to leverage cold and warm outreach. Sellers who consistently make outreach efforts and instantly provide value during those initial touchpoints are in the best position to get a meeting in place. 

4 appointment-​setting practices to adopt

In a recent article, RAIN Today’s Vice President Bob Croston highlights his best practices for setting up that first sales meeting with a prospect. These are just a few from his list:

  1. Reach out during "off hours"
  2. Use multiple media types
  3. Maximize your LinkedIn profile
  4. Leverage referrals

Reach out during “off hours”

Sellers might not ever consider reaching out to a lead outside of traditional work hours. But, there may be an advantage to being the first or last communication of the workday. Note though that for many, email is their preferred method of outreach from a seller. According to SalesFuel’s latest Voice of the Buyer report, email ranks first among buyers as the preferred way of interacting with a seller. Consider sending out an early-​morning email to greet the lead first thing, as a colleague of Croston’s did. This subtle shift can have a big impact on your appointment-​setting success. 

Use multiple media types

It may take a few tries before a seller responds to your outreach. While email is the preferred method, don’t limit yourself to it if you don’t hear anything back. There are so many communication methods available to today’s sellers; don’t miss opportunities to take advantage of them. “Prospects are busier than ever and inundated with marketing and sales messages and meeting requests,” Crostone explains. “You can break through the noise, but it's unlikely you’ll do so on your first try. Leave voicemails, send emails, drop a package in the mail, write a hand-​written note, or mark up an article to send. Get creative!”

For more tips on breaking through the noise, check out these past tips from SalesFuel

Maximize your LinkedIn profile

Did you ever think that your LinkedIn profile could have an impact on appointment-​setting? SalesFuel’s Voice of the Buyer survey found that many buyers will look at a seller’s LinkedIn profile before meeting with them. So, it’s important that you maximize your profile and leverage it to boost credibility. As Crostone writes, “Your work experience, skills, summary, education, endorsements, headline, shared connections, number of connections, group memberships, and profile picture are all at least somewhat important to buyers—but typically closer to very important—in their evaluation criteria.”

Leverage referrals

When trying to get that initial meeting, don’t forget to leverage referrals, which can have major sway when it comes to a prospect’s decision. Leading with a referral can immediately grab their attention, not to mention, start establishing trust. 84% of B2B buyers start their purchase process with a referral. Additionally, peer recommendations impact over 90% of B2B buying decisions in some way or another

Denise Gibson, director of AdMall sales, knows firsthand the power of referrals in sales. “Referrals are the best leads that work for us,” she says. “I love getting referrals. I also love it when they leave one company and go to another and call us up to get our services at the new place. When you have been in the business for a long time this especially pays off. It is the best and easiest sell.”

Note that if you find yourself running low on referrals, it’s time to take more action. You should always be mindful of asking for referrals, as well as nurturing all relationships, both new and old. For advice on acquiring quality referrals, check out these articles. 

Appointment-​setting requires being proactive

There is so much more to effective appointment-​setting than just picking up the phone and asking. Mindful action on your part, from monitoring your social profile to nurturing referrals, is what makes meetings happen. Follow these tips to actually put all of your prospecting efforts to use by making those first meetings happen.

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