Industrial Sales

Sales appointment: Get prepared upfront

Experience has taught us that we're probably wasting our and customers' time if we're not well-prepared before going to a sales appointment.

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Experience has taught us that we probably waste time if we are not prepared before a B2B sales appointment. Since you are a sales professional, as is the person you will see, the one thing you don’t want to do is waste time.

Each B2B transaction begins with a meeting. That is where the magic takes place. You demonstrate your goods, the prospective customer falls in love, and all is well.

However, before your fantasy encounter, you must schedule it. Setting a B2B sales appointment with a qualified prospect is one of the most difficult obstacles in B2B customer acquisition.

Depending on the quality of your leads, you may make a hundred cold calls without securing a single appointment. Frustrating? Absolutely. Worse, it squanders your time and diminishes your productivity. If you value your time and money, improving your call-to-appointment ratio should be a focus.

sales appointment setting tips

Do your lead research

The more knowledge you have about the company you are contacting, the more likely you will be able to schedule a sales appointment with them. Occasionally, all you have is a name and a phone number. In that scenario, keep in mind that Google is your close ally.

Additionally, social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn can be excellent resources. Additionally, you can call your network contacts to determine whether you know anyone who knows the targeted prospective customer.

Before you begin visiting prospects, it’s critical to establish who you’ll be engaging with and how your product (good or service) will support them in resolving an issue.

After all, appearing without a legitimate reason is both rude and embarrassing. Therefore, you should invest some time in generating your ideal customer profile (ICP) because it will guide the entirety of your B2B sales strategy.

At the very least, you need to ensure that you can respond to the following pre-appointment questions.

Ask yourself before a sales appointment

  • Who are you attempting to contact?
  • Is this client really in need of what you’re offering?
  • Why should the prospect be concerned about this issue at the moment?
  • Can you articulate your solution’s value in a way relevant to the prospect’s unique needs or touchpoints?
  • Is the prospect’s situation changing? For example, is the company growing, have recent staff changes occurred, or are industry regulations shifting?

 

If you can convince prospects of the benefits, you will have a much higher chance of getting the sales appointment.

cold calling techniques

Focus on a benefit

This is the point at which your research becomes worthwhile. The more information you know about a prospective customer, the more effectively you can tailor your offer to their specific needs.

Choose the benefit that you believe will pique your prospect’s attention. Then, give a brief description of how your product provides that benefit.

For instance, if you have a list of sales leads who have been affected by voltage fluctuation, you could state, “Our voltage regulator system provides you with peace of mind. It safeguards you against all voltage related problems.”

Get ready for the sales appointment

A key element of being prepared is setting and understanding the ground rules for the sales appointment. For example, all sporting events have ground rules that regulate the behaviour of all the participants.

But when it comes to sales meetings, you should set up the ground rules that will govern the meeting during your initial contact. Here’s a brief list of some key ground rules you can use to make your next sales appointment go smoother.

how to set sales appointments

Sales appointment setting tips

  • Establish a time frame and time limits for the meeting
  • Request that there are no interruptions during the meeting
  • Establish your and your prospect’s schedule

 

Once you arrive at the sales appointment, it’s time to implement the rules. For example, you could start the meeting by saying, “Thanks for inviting me in or thanks for inviting me to meet with you today.”

Be a guest at the sales appointment

By doing so, you are perceived as a guest. People always treat their guests better than someone they feel is intruding on their space or time. You always have a better rapport with a guest than if the meeting is viewed strictly as a salesperson/prospect situation.

Next, review the agreed-upon time frame for conducting the sales appointment. When the session starts, it is wise to say, “We agreed to set aside an hour for this meeting; we’re still OK with that, right?”

Request an uninterrupted sales appointment

“Since we’ve limited our time and we’re both busy, I hope we won’t be interrupted. Can you please make sure of that?” At this point, it’s time to review the agendas for the sales appointment.

In your initial phone conversation, you will have asked your prospect/client to “Write down some questions to discuss at our meeting, and if you don’t mind, I’ll do the same. This way we’ll have thought about things and be prepared for our meeting. Is that OK?”

You can address your contact’s plan for the sales appointment by saying, “What are you hoping to accomplish today (or in the next hour)?”

Next, introduce your agenda by saying, “My objective is to ask some questions and see if there’s a fit between us. If you think that it doesn’t make any sense to move forward or I don’t feel there’s a fit by the end of the meeting, I’ll tell you, would you be OK with telling me?”

customer discussion

State your biggest concern

An example might sound like, “Before we get started, I have a big concern that I’d like to share with you if that’s OK. It’s that we may not have the lowest prices. Some people only care about price, while others are more concerned with cost (before the sales appointment, you may need to explain the difference between cost and price related to your product or service). Which group do you fall into?”

Never give up

Many prospects will decline your sales appointment request. Do not take this attitude personally. Probably it has nothing to do with you at all. Maybe they’re just having a rough day or running late for an important meeting.

Instead, move the potential customer to another list and try again in a few days or weeks. Most sales professionals advise that you should keep trying until the prospect says “no” three times in one conversation.

Conclusion

By asking for answers throughout the review of your ground rules, you’ve positioned yourself for an easier, more informative and much more conclusive sales appointment. Over the years, I’ve seen variations on this theme used by hundreds of salespeople on their road to success. Try it. It works!