Cold calling for great appointments

There are many services that can be sold over the phone without the need for a rep visit. However, for some prospective purchases, it’s still vital to see the potential client face to face. Getting in front of a client is difficult enough, even for a confident, experienced, and knowledgeable rep. Getting a high-quality appointment at which your rep actually has the chance of making a sale is even harder.

The In-House Training Company’s lead sales trainer and coach has worked with thousands of employees across companies as diverse as Xerox, Solopress, and EDF, helping their staff to generate more and higher quality appointments than ever before.

In this article, we look at why it is important for your company and its people to possess the skills needed to confidently and regularly make appointments that have a strong potential to turn into a sale. Not only do strong appointments increase your telesales people’s chances of making commission, they make for a much happier team of sales reps and they give your company the opportunity to sell more with no investment in new staff.

Inside the mind of a rep

There are two types of contact within any company your reps should be targeting – the buyers themselves and the influencers. Influencers are those people trusted so highly by management that they are either brought into the decision making process themselves or free to approach buyers direct to purchase products and services the buyers may not have thought the company needed.

Buyers and influencers are busy people with one hundred and one other things to think about than what you want to sell them. Added to that, they are normally shielded by well-trained secretaries who want to deflect sales approaches away from their bosses.

When your rep is making their way to an appointment for a potential sale, there are certain things they’ll want to know which means that their drive of 100-or-so miles could very well be worth their while. And those things are:

  • everybody with a significant say in the buying process will be there to meet them. If that’s not possible, the person that they’re meeting is sufficiently enthused to act as a salesperson for their product or service to the other decision makers
  • that there is the possibility of a sale on the call or that, following a good meeting and the submission of a quote, that the meeting after that may result in a sale
  • that the people the rep is meeting know exactly why they’re coming and that they’re in the market for it right now.

Unlike a telesales rep who may, depending on how quickly they dial out, have up to 100-150 opportunities to make an appointment, a rep may only have between three and five and they want to be absolutely sure that they have the best opportunity of a productive and profitable outcome.

Great calls make great appointments

Before making their call, your telesales rep should be fully prepared about the product or service they’re selling, the company they’re calling, and the reasons why that company might need that product or service right now.

Unlike with a sales rep visit where the goal of the appointment is to persuade the client to place an order, your telesales rep is only trying to sell the appointment itself. It’s not your telesales rep to go into granular detail about the various aspects of your product and service – it’s their job to present it in such a way that the buyer or influencer can see the value in setting aside time in their day to see your rep and discuss the benefits to their company in making a purchase.

Your telesales rep should develop a strong and attention-grabbing opening to their call. Because most appointment setting calls only last a few minutes, every sentence used by your telesales rep should be thought of as a sales pitch to keep the listeners engaged and on the line.

At the end of the presentation, the client is then given a range of times and dates on which they can meet the rep. At this point in most calls, the client will now raise objections and the job of your telesales rep is to handle them comfortably and confidently, addressing the client’s concerns. Far too many telesales reps still think of objections as inherently negative – they’re not. They are simply requests for further information. A certain degree of interest (perhaps very small) has been triggered by the approach and they ask questions to find out more and to allay any fears about dealing with an unknown company.

During objection handling, your telesales rep should make notes about what the client says to them. This is an invaluable tool depending on what happens next with the leads. Many companies still use a “confirmation” call – a call normally made by a telesales rep’s supervisor shortly after the appointment is agreed to. If you use a confirmation call, you can find out even more about the client as well as assure yourself that the right people are going to be there to meet your rep.

Whether you make a confirmation call or not, all of the notes made about the client during the appointment making process should be kept and sent along to the rep so that they have as much information as they need. The more rapport your telesales rep (and supervisor) builds with a client over the phone, the less likely they are to back out of the appointment later on.

Appointment-making training course

The In-House Training Company offers a highly-regarded and actionable appointment setting training course specifically designed to gain commitment from clients who want to meet your reps and to hear what they have to say. To find out more, please click here for our course details.

To speak with one of our team, please call 01582 714 285 or email

Posted in:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *