In the realm of B2B sales, there probably isn’t a more overlooked skill than appointment making. And why wouldn’t it be? We spend all of our time digging around for leads, sending emails back and forth, and practicing our sales pitch in the bathroom mirror.
What we often fail to recognize, however, is that properly booking and facilitating an appointment can make the difference between “deal” and “no deal.” How so?
Well, if you can’t make that appointment happen, you’ll never be able to close a deal. It’s key that you get your proverbial foot in the door to initiate the conversation.
Below, we list some best practices on booking appointments, following up, and ensuring that the meeting goes as smoothly as possible between you and your prospective client.
For those of us who are eager to close the sale, we can often get a little ahead of ourselves. Always remember that you need to lay the groundwork first before trying to make the sale.
Once you’ve got the prospect on the phone, you can take that opportunity to make the sale. Just avoid being pushy before you even establish the appointment.
When reaching out to a prospect who may or may not know who you are, it’s vital to establish a personal connection from the get-go without being creepy.
Your first email to a prospect should:
By following all 5 of these points, you’ll give the prospect the information they need to make a decision and follow through with it.
In addition to listing the next steps, include links that make it easy to book the appointment. For example, a link to your Calendly page or Google Calendar makes it super easy to set up reminders and block out time slots—for both you and the prospect.
The prospect agreed to attend your meeting! Time to sit back and relax after a hard day’s work, right?
Wrong. You’ve still got a long way to go.
Even if your prospect shows signs of true interest, you should never let your guard down. Until now, you’ve worked extremely hard to find and nurture this lead—don’t give up yet.
Immediately after receiving confirmation from the prospect, follow up by sending an itinerary of what you’ll cover in the meeting.
Your itinerary should be complete and thorough, containing point such as:
Wait a second—didn’t we already cover these in the first email?
Making sales involves repeating the same information over and over. And as you get further down the sales pipeline, you’ll keep adding layers of complexity and personalization.
In the follow-up email, you’ll be whetting the prospect’s appetite for the meeting as well as providing them with the key points you want to convey in case of a no-show.
Reminding prospects can be a delicate balancing act. Luckily, you don’t have to learn by trial and error; we have statistics from one of the world’s biggest online scheduling apps: Calendly.
According to Rachel Williams, the Director of Sales at Calendly, it’s recommended that you set at least two reminders before your big sales meeting.
Your first reminder should be set for 24 hours in advance, letting your prospect know that they’ll be having a meeting the next day.
The second reminder should come 4 hours in advance to remind them in case their day got hectic. 4 hours is just enough time for your prospect to move things around and get prepared in case they forgot.
Is there anything worse than a prospect not showing up to the appointment you worked so hard to get? It’s like getting stood up on a date after reserving the most exclusive restaurant in town.
I don’t speak from personal experience, of course, but I’m sure that must sting.
Going back to the topic at hand, no-shows aren’t really the end of the world if you’ve laid the proper groundwork. In addition to sending your prospect the itinerary and meeting notes, adding them on LinkedIn is another great way to keep them close.
This can be a risky step and should be taken with utmost caution. Many salespeople these days abuse the system to harass prospects who aren’t even interested. Therefore, wait until they’ve accepted the meeting request before asking to connect on LinkedIn.
If you followed the steps above, your prospect will already have the information they need to make a decision in case they missed the meeting. And, you’ll also have all their contact information to follow up again and reschedule the appointment.
When sending an email to reschedule the meeting, just play it cool and don’t assume the worst of your prospect. Maybe they had a scheduling conflict, family emergency, or something more important pop up.
Although this appointment may be the most important thing on your agenda, it doesn’t mean that it’s at the top of your prospect’s to-do list.
Cut ’em some slack.
Once you’ve got the prospect on the phone, make sure to start by giving some structure and purpose to the meeting. Set expectations, such as how long the meeting will last, what you’ll talk about, and how much time will be allotted for Q&A.
Not only does this make you look more professional but it also lets prospects know they should take your proposal seriously.
At the end of the call, you should know the following:
To ensure that you get this information before the prospect gets off the line, keep a set of focused questions nearby so you don’t forget.
After a successful meeting with your prospect, the next challenge is to stay at the top of their mind and make sure that they take the next steps.
Send them a calendar with the necessary steps to take, leading up to date of the close. This helps keep them on track and always mindful of your offer.
3 days after your call, feel free to send them content that provides value and reminds them of your brand.
Speaking of which, Sales Buddy specializes in creating engaging content that will help you generate and nurture B2B leads. We also provide you with a custom-built marketing technology stack and distribution across our exclusive B2B network.
And as the leads flood into your Inbox/CRM, you’ll be able to monitor your PPC and Paid Ad campaigns on your own dashboard via any device. Pretty cool right?
If you’re interested in learning how Sales Buddy can get more B2B leads for your business, schedule a quick 30-minute call with me by clicking this link.
"As a business owner, I put big money into sales and marketing without ever really knowing what results I was going to get. Tired of this ambiguity, I decided to create a new kind of sales support company: one that provides a guarantee.
Copywriting Tips: 7 Steps to Effective Sales Copy
What It Means to Be an Authentic Leader
Why B2B Lead Generation Matters
Measuring Your Inbound Marketing ROI
Building an Audience: Why Content Isn’t Enough
7 Elements of a Successful Landing Page
The Lead Capture Form: A Living Fossil?
The Elevator Pitch: Is It Still Relevant?