Schedule Your Appointments In a Jiffy. Don’t Have Customers Cancel On You…

Appointment setting

Appointment setting is a metier B2B sector where, particular enterprises specialize in increasing the sales revenue of their customers by cold calling, lead generating services, scheduling appropriate appointments for their clients with their end consumers and traders. The qualified appointments, in turn help the firm in obtaining clients.


The appointment setting organizations focus on many techniques of lead generation companies like online network researching, pursuing customers, expanding their contacts through various methods and mediums, interventions, leveraging contacts, increasing network, etc.


As an appointment setting or a lead generation company, you are accountable for contacting leads over the phone to schedule or set appointments. A lead is merely a person who depicts genuine interest in your goods and service and is sanctioned to make purchase judgments. Functioning as an appointment setter can cause you a lot of unnecessary pressure. If you are not scheduling appointments, the firm’s productivity takes a hit. The best method to become an active appointment setter is by equipping yourself with all necessary knowledge in advance.


A few tips for appointment setting our given below:


  1. Textbook the script you will be pitching about your goods and services to prospective leads. Your speech should have an introduction to your brand, it should enumerate who you are or the enterprise you represent. The speech should sound completely natural and impromptu. If your pitch is not up to the mark, your lead will perhaps disconnect the call before you can ask to set up an appointment.
  2. Sound enthusiastic about your good or service that you will be offering. If you are stirring to listen to, your prospective lead may cut the call instantly. It is an instinct to speak rapidly when you are panicky and trying just finish your speech. Practice speaking slowly and clearly.
  3. Pay attention to your lead instead of concentrating on successfully completing your speech. By hearing, you can pick up on the indications that the customer is genuinely interested in your products or services. When the lead indicates something, Think on the spot and answer his question instead of finishing your script.
  4. Study how to handle hostilities. The ideal way to handle an opposition is to be ready for it. May sound simple but that is the solution to your problem. Practice your rebuttals for every probable opposition your lead can give you. When a lead opposes your pitch or an appointment, know which contradiction to use from your arsenal.
  5. Demand the name of the best people to call or to visit further converse about the assistance your company provides. Don’t forget to get the person’s phone number and ask the appropriate time to call. Provide your prospective lead with a variety of dates to avoid scheduling an appointment far into the future. By setting the appointment close to your conversation call, the details are still fresh in the lead’s mind. Lastly, ask for an email address so you can send ratification.
  6. Don’t forget to send a confirmation through email reminding your lead of his scheduled appointment. Concisely recapitulate what the appointment will be about and what the lead should expect. Recap the lead on the conversation he had with you and then when he had it.
  7. If your prospective lead refuses for an appointment, politely ask for the reason behind it. Acquiring this information is important. It gives you an opportunity to know where you’re lacking in presenting your pitch or what you should add to make it more attractive.

Like we mentioned before, appointment setting can be extremely tedious. Hence if you don’t feel like doing it, you can always rely on Strategic Sales and Marketing to assist you and make appointment setting absolutely easy for you. If you require further information about appointment setting you can visit our other blogs about lead generation and appointment setting.

Things Every Small Business Should Keep In Mind Before Hiring Lead Generation Services

appointment setting

Many businesses still believe that face to face communication is the key to lead conversion. However, it is important that you also pay attention to the modern techniques of lead generation that have changed the sales game. Even if you own a small business it is very important to consider appointment setting. However, for small businesses, it can be really difficult to hire an in-house team and train them to work on an appointment setting.


This is why it is preferable to outsource appointment setting services so that you can carry out promotion for your business effectively. Here are some of the best appointment setting tips which will help you to simplify the process and to shed a light on why small businesses need appointment setting services as well.


To begin with, generating leads with the help of Strategic Sales and Marketing will help you to attract more organic traffic to your business. At times we receive promotional calls which sound really boring and unconvincing from the very start. This is because of the fact that these calls are from contract employees who are not qualified representatives. This is why it is very important to hire qualified representatives for best results.


Outsourcing lead generation for your business will save you the cost of hiring an in-house team and providing them training. When you outsource these services with a reputed lead management company they already have a set of trained representatives who are best at what they do.


Make sure that you work with companies that have wide industry experience and have extensive knowledge of the industry your business belongs to. Working with experienced people will be very beneficial for your business as they will have all the knowledge about market trends, fluctuations as well as products.


No matter what is the size of your business, sales communication is the most crucial part of lead generation. This is why it is important that your communication has to deliver your sales message very effectively so that it does not leave a bad impression on prospective clients. Your message should be customized in a way that it reflects the ideas and values of your services and products.


The main reason to outsource appointment setting is to attract maximum prospective clients. However, you yourself must do research so that you know bits about what and how this lead generation works. You should also ask these representatives to let you know from where will they look for ideal customers. You can also ask them about methods they will use to track potential customers.


Lastly, when you have scrutinized all the above-mentioned qualities you need to check the online as well as offline reviews of the lead generation companies. Make sure you ask friends and family regarding the company you wish to work with. This will provide you a general idea of their working style as well as results derived by them. A few negative reviews are fine but pay attention to each and every review.


You can get in touch with us to know more about lead management and appointment setting services.

4 Tips That Will Make B2B Appointment Setting Simple as ABC

B2B appointment setting companiesMost of the sales managers completely depend on B2B appointment setting in order to close a deal. In any business, it is impossible for a sale to take place without one-on-one interaction with a prospect. The maximum amount of the time is spent to in setting up an appointment with a potential client by talking on a phone call or by managing appointment setting activities on the computer.


If you are one of those sales managers facing a challenge to set up appointments, then to become a professional appointment setter focus on the below-mentioned ways instead of making unproductive calls.


4 Indispensable tips for appointment setting


Make use of multiple mediums


A lot of times B2B appointment setting is considered as just cold calling. Actually, this is totally a false perception. Appointment setting includes usage of numerous mediums such as websites, letters, voicemails, and emails, attached notes in packages, messages via social media and personalized notes. Some of the prospects are little interested in sales messages and many of them ignore. This is why; it becomes crucial for lead generation team to contact the prospects as many times as possible to reply to your messages.


Contact the prospects during “off hours”


Business pioneers necessarily do not punch in sharp at nine and leave the office sharp at five. If you are trying to get in touch with a top executive, try to call early morning before 8 am or else late in the evening after 6 pm, or during the lunchtime. This is because the high-level executives get their integral follow up done before the day ends. However, give your prospects the opportunity to take action that day—and they a lot of times do.


Make the most of referrals


Referrals are bullion. When someone gives you referrals, the trust your prospect has for the referrer shifts to you. This offers you a tremendous advantage as buyers will be more convenient to speak with you. The best place to ask for referrals is your own network instead of asking your prospecting calls. When calling an organization for the first time, it depends on you to steer through the gatekeeper and find the buyers and decision makers in the organization. And this can be done best by asking for an internal referral. The CEO or the executive assistant to the president can give a wealth of information and will often show you the right way. However, all this can only happen if you ask for.


Confirming appointment before meeting


The process of setting appointments for generating new leads needs too much of hard work and determination. Thus, while leaving a message with the client you must slow down and also reiterate the important information twice – it always helps. In the same way, grabbing all details about the client including their email and time and date of appointment is essential. This will avoid going to the client’s office and finding that the client is out or has completely forgotten about the appointment.


The final say


It can be hard-hitting to get past gatekeepers and persuade the decision makers to provide an audience. Another way is to hire a professional B2B appointment setting and scheduling service provider for a reliable supply of quality leads.

Top 5 Habits of Rock Star Appointment Setters

appointment setter rock starLots of salespeople don’t like to think of themselves as being “appointment setters.” It’s more common for salespeople to aspire to be great “Deal Closers” who swoop in to seal the deal, win the business, and earn big commissions. But salespeople have to serve in multiple roles throughout the sales process, and the fact is, the work that they do as “appointment setters” is just as important to closing the deal in the end – after all, if you don’t build relationships and establish trust early on, it’s harder to convert those big wins in the end. But too many salespeople discount the value of this appointment setter mindset. It’s easy to start off in a mindset that focuses on quality or quantity when it comes to leads. There are many sales professionals who spend more time focusing outside their sphere of control, so to speak, instead of looking inward and continually improving their professional habits and mindset. The truth is, optimizing your approach to sales requires introspection, discipline, and persistence – and this is especially important when doing upfront lead generation work as appointment setters. You have to constantly be honest with yourself, be willing to look at your flaws, and take action to improve your shortcomings. Otherwise, you will get stuck in a rut, and find yourself blaming outside forces for things you have control over.


Whether your sales team is new to the world of sales or are all seasoned professionals, it never hurts to review some best practices and consider how you can improve your team’s effectiveness as appointment setters. Over the course of my career, I have been humbled by my own shortcomings. I have also been fortunate to find mentors who saved me from making costly mistakes and modeled the kind of integrity and passion for building relationships that are so essential for achieving real success in this field. Here are the top five habits of the world’s best appointment setters that I have witnessed throughout my career. It would be easy to write a list of 25 or even 50 items long. But if you apply these five tips to your workflow, you’ll notice a big difference in your response rate, and more positive habits will sprout as a result.


  • Make calls every single day. Even people who are natural at sales have days where they want to hide at their desk. Finding motivation can be difficult in any career, especially during difficult times. Regardless, making calls is essential. And sometimes, it just takes that one call to turn your day around. The real “rock star” appointment setters make time to call fresh leads every day. Don’t spend time making negative assumptions or creating reasons not to call. Instead, focus on how you can help solve the pain points the lead is currently enduring. A few positive conversations a day can go a long way towards keeping you inspired and motivated.
  • Learn the art of soft interrogation. One mistake over-eager appointment setters make is over-selling themselves instead of learning as much as they can about their lead. Instead of asking questions and listening, they tend to talk too much and wait to speak instead of actively listening. But by asking open-ended questions you can get inside the head of your prospect while making them feel more comfortable working with you. I call this a soft interrogation because you aren’t coming from a negative place, but you are trying to learn as much as you can so you can figure out how to proceed with the relationship. Be as curious about your prospect as you are excited to tell them how you can be of service.
  • Building trust is essential. You have to understand that people are naturally defensive when it comes to being sold to. When they first talk with you they will be on guard for the “catch” in the deal or signs that you aren’t offering them anything of real value. Building trust takes a mix of tact, knowledge, and patience. This means you should be conscious not to be pushy or impatient, which can make your prospect feel like just another call on your list. And during this time, make sure you can tell them exactly know your product or service can benefit them. This often takes time and multiple conversations. But if you truly offer something of value, and work at building trust with your prospects, your sales will increase – and so will your repeat customers.
  • Build relationships. Ask any marketing professional who knows today’s B2B and B2C landscape. No matter who your business aims towards, building relationships is the best way to achieve long-term success in today’s world. Thanks to social media and the Internet, today’s prospects have a world of options they can turn to at the click of a mouse. When you speak to prospects, don’t just tell them how you can help them today. Paint a picture that shows how you can be a solid partner in their success for years to come.
  • Apply a “Superhero” mindset to your work. Before Clark Kent turned to Superman, he usually ducked into a phone booth and changed into his blue and red tights before unleashing his superpowers on the whichever villain was trying to spoil the day. Before you pick up the phone or meet with a prospect, you have to mentally put on your “superhero” costume as well. In sales, this means: take a moment to collect your thoughts, rehearse your pitch, and reflect on how your service will make you a superhero in the eyes of your prospect. This will help them understand that you really can make a positive impact and that you aren’t just looking to close another deal and move on.


There is a world of great advice for appointment setters out there from rock star sales professionals. But, if you just follow these 5 simple rules, you’ll develop countless effective habits that can make you a superhero in the eyes of your potential customers. Just remember, you have to help them understand the benefits of your product or service while making them understand why you are the best person to deliver – not just today, but for years to come!

How Appointment Setting Companies Can Help Your Business

B2B appointment settingMany B2B sales organizations decide to enlist the help of appointment setting companies when they need more sales leads or when they’re trying to create a short-term increase in sales. These goals are valid, but they’re not always the only reason or even the best reason to enlist the support of appointment setting firms – these companies can help your business in a number of ways that go beyond short-term sales leads.


Here are a few reasons why you might want to ask for help from appointment setting companies – and how they can help your business grow:


Explore New Markets


Appointment setting companies are often an ideal fit when you are trying to launch a new product or expand your solution selling into new markets or industry verticals. Working with appointment setting companies can help you expand your pool of potential business leads in industries where you might not have sold before.


Find Supportive Stakeholders


One of the most important aspects of B2B sales is finding helpful “allies” and references within the prospect’s organization that can help your sales efforts by putting in a good word for you, offering you a referral, or introducing you to someone in the organization who might be the right person to talk to. Appointment setting companies can help you with this! You can outsource part of your company research and prospecting process to these 3rd party vendors, who can then help you do the legwork of identifying the right decision-makers and building relationships with other stakeholders within the prospect’s organization. Chances are, to make a complex B2B sale, you need many months and multiple names of people to get into a room around a conference table before you can close a deal – and appointment setting companies can help you save time and find more of the right names.


Testing New Offers 


Appointment setting companies can help give you a fresh perspective on your sales process. If you want to experiment with new calling scripts or test a new special offer, you can work with appointment setters to help test the waters – sometimes working with a 3rd party can help you find a greater sense of objectivity about what needs to change with your sales process.


Understanding Your Market


Appointment setters don’t just read off of sales scripts, they also ask good questions and listen to what your prospective customers are saying – and this is a good opportunity to get valuable “market research” about what motivates your customers to buy (or not). For example, you can ask your appointment setters to ask questions and gain insights on topics such as, “What have you heard about our products?” and “What competitors are you considering?” You can use appointment setting companies to help get a better sense of what’s going on with your market and how your company compares to your competitive landscape.


Qualify Your New Sales Leads


Many B2B sales teams strongly believe that they always need “more sales leads,” but the truth is, “more” leads is not always the right answer. Sometimes you need to get better results from the list of sales leads that you already have. Best Appointment setting companies can help with this! For example, if you already have a certain pool of new sales leads or a regular queue of inbound sales leads that are contacting you via email or phone or your website, you can hand over these leads to your 3rd party appointment setter and ask them to call through and start the sales process by pre-qualifying these sales leads. By asking some smart, strategically focused pre-qualifying questions upfront, your appointment setters can help you hone in on which sales leads are truly the best fit and are the most highly motivated to buy – while de-prioritizing the leads that are not a good fit or not serious buyers.


As you can see, there are many reasons to call for help from appointment setting companies, and it’s not always just about “getting more sales leads.” These companies – at best – can help you get some fresh ideas and perspectives about your sales process, they can help you do upfront research, they can help you find decision-makers and key stakeholders, and they can help you figure out how to get better results out of your existing sales leads. Good appointment setting companies are not just about reading off a script and making cold calls – they help your whole sales organization work more effectively and close more sales.

What to Expect from the Best Appointment Setting Companies

Here at Strategic Sales and Marketing, we consider ourselves to be one of the best appointment setting companies – we have been in business a long time, we have an established track record, we’ve created a smart, consistent process for how to do lead generation and help our customers get results. And as part of that industry leadership, we have some strong perspectives on what people should expect from their lead generation companies. When lead generation firms do things the right way, our whole industry gets better – and that’s good news for everyone.


Here are a few key elements that customers should expect to see from the best appointment setting companies:


Industry Expertise


The best appointment setting companies will know your industry and will have a good sense of which industries are truly their best niche. Lead generation is not a one-size-fits-all activity; some industries, especially in complex B2B sales, require a longer timeframe or a customized approach with industry-specific knowledge. If an appointment setting company claims to be able to do all things for all people, you should be suspicious. The best lead generation companies are busy with ongoing work and are not desperate for your business; they will take the time to interview you as a prospective customer and make sure it’s the best fit for both sides.


Reasonable Promises


The best lead generation companies will not promise you the moon. It might sound great to hear about “guaranteed results” or “we only get paid when you get new business leads!” but the best companies will take a more cautious approach. The truth is, especially in long-term, complex B2B sales, results are never guaranteed. And you should be leery of any company that promises to get compensated solely on commission – because if their appointment setting reps are only getting paid for every new lead they uncover, this creates an incentive for them to crank out lots of poor quality leads. It’s better to get a smaller quantity of good, qualified business opportunities, instead of a long list of junk leads. Reputable appointment setting companies will understand this and will explain how their compensation model is geared toward delivering the best results, not just the “most” results.


Transparent Metrics


The best appointment setting companies will have a consistent process and transparent metrics to help you measure results along the way. Ideally, depending on the timeframe and size of your lead generation program, you should expect to receive ongoing status reports for how many new leads you’re getting, how many calls are being made, how many companies have been contacted, and other metrics of performance. Good lead generation firms are proud to share their process with you and will be happy to deliver ongoing reports and make adjustments along the way.


Real Life Customer Testimonials


The best appointment setting companies will be able to share case studies, success stories, customer testimonials, and references, and other “social proof” to show you how their system works and assure you that they can help you achieve good results. Although every company has its own unique offerings and challenges, a good lead generation firm should be able to show prior examples of similar situations where they helped create opportunities.


Training and Support


What happens when you come to the end of your lead generation program? Do you just get a list of names and phone numbers and then the lead generation firm says “so long?” Hopefully not! The best appointment setting companies don’t just leave you with a list of new business leads; they will ideally give you some additional training or support – such as a guide to making your first sales call – that will help you get the most out of your new leads. (Sometimes you can choose a certain package of services upfront, with varying levels of sales training or support, depending on your needs.)


Appointment setting is not just about making cold calls and finding a list of names of people who are interested; it’s about helping to ensure the success of that first round of sales calls to the “warm” leads. The best companies won’t leave you alone with a calling list – they’ll give you an added bit of support and momentum to help you start making sales calls once their work is done.


The best appointment setting companies are not just outsourced vendors or cold callers; they are strategic partners who will collaborate with you to support your long-term sales success.

How to Keep Your Best Sales Leads From Plunging to Their Death

Dead LeadsToo many great sales leads die in the first 15 seconds. Instead of taking flight, the sales lead quickly plummets to the ground.


The biggest reason why promising sales leads fail is the sales rep’s choice of opening statements. From the moment your sales reps get on the phone with a prospect, they can either cause the premature death of the sales lead, or nurture the lead into a deeper ongoing sales relationship.


Here are three of the biggest “lead-killing” opening statements that your sales reps might be making:


  • “I understand you are interested in buying (our product, service or solution).”
  • “I understand you are very unhappy with your existing (vendor/solution) and are going to replace it.”
  • “I understand that your existing vendor is not doing a very good job.”


The reason these statements kill sales leads is because they are not rapport building statements, they are deal-closing questions. If the first thing you say to a prospect is, “Are you ready to buy from me?” chances are you are going to build sales resistance (without even realizing it).


If your sales reps are asking for the sale too soon and making closing statements way too early in the conversation, it will be devastating to the follow-up process and you will unwittingly drive away many sales leads that might have been interested to buy from you if your sales team had handled the process a bit more gracefully. For more about the reasons why reps often rush the follow-up process (with damaging results), read my earlier article on the 80/20 rule.


Why are these “lead-killing” opening statements so bad for your sales process?


  • They assume too much. If you ask any of these questions to the prospect and the prospect answers “yes,” that means that he/she is automatically welcoming you to enter their sales cycle. But most prospects aren’t ready to move quite that fast. Don’t overstep your bounds, and don’t assume too much based on a limited amount of information. Just because you happen to have some business intelligence supplied by your lead generator does not mean you have already been selected as a preferred vendor. Slow down and be prepared to work through the process of building rapport, developing a relationship, and showing the prospect how you can help resolve their specific pain issues.
  • The questions make you sound like an order taker. If the first thing a prospect hears from you on the phone is, “Are you ready to buy from me?” that tends to dissuade people from having further conversation. Moving too fast is a total turn off for most prospects. Instead of sounding like a seasoned professional who knows the prospect’s industry and is focused on helping the prospect solve a problem, asking closing questions too fast makes you sound like a telemarketer who is merely reading from a checklist. This comes off as high pressure.


Unfortunately, when prospects get turned off by presumptuous, high-pressure or overly assumptive sales calls and exit the conversation early, most sales reps are completely oblivious about the reasons why the sales lead died. Too often as a result of the above process, reps will report these leads are “unqualified.” Instead of taking a closer look at what they are doing on the phone, the reps will be quick to blame your lead “source” as not effectively qualifying leads.


You can’t be monitoring every call your reps make so watch for these kinds of entries in your CRM system:


  • “Prospect said he is staying with his existing vendor for now.”
  • “Prospect says…I never said (_____________).”
  • “Prospect said he only requested information and is not in the market at this time.”


Read between the lines – these are defensive comments, indicating that the prospects are fending off overly aggressive, assumptive statements by the sales rep. If your sales reps are making these types of notes frequently, that is a sign that something the reps are saying on the phone is unknowingly driving away your sales leads. Once the prospect is in a defensive mode the chances of the lead advancing are very slim.


In reality, the prospect did say all of those things to your lead generator that were indicative of interest and openness to the possibility of buying. But when the first thing that the prospect hears from your sales rep are closing questions and assumptive statements, the prospect goes into “exit mode,” feeling so turned off by the rep’s tactics that they just want to end the call as soon as possible.


Instead of starting a call with closing questions, train your sales reps to warm up the call by opening with rapport-building questions:


  • How did you get into the business?
  • How long had you been trying to solve these issues?
  • What have you tried to do to fix these issues?
  • What kind of impact is this having on your day-to-day operations?
  • How do you measure that?

Instead of assuming that the prospect is ready to buy, take some time to build a relationship and find out more about the prospect’s specific pain issues. Then work through the sales process to link your solutions to the prospect’s needs, demonstrate your company’s capabilities, and prove to the prospect that you can deliver a worthwhile ROI.


The first sales call is not a deal-closing opportunity – instead it’s the first step in a longer, more profitable process. Don’t let your sales reps act like order takers. Train them to be the sophisticated sales professionals that high-value B2B sales demand.


Confessions of a Professional Call Screener

ReceptionistGetting past the gatekeepers to talk with decision makers can be one of the most challenging aspects of sales. The more important your decision maker, the more likely it is that they have one or more levels of gatekeepers – administrative assistants, direct reports, etc. – to keep people from reaching them by phone.


We interviewed a professional call screener (whose name will remain anonymous to protect his/her identity) to get the inside story on how sales people can avoid getting weeded out by some of the familiar call screening traps – and what it takes to really get through to decision makers.


Q. What are the easiest types of calls to identify as “sales calls?”

A. As a call screener, my job is to protect the time of the decision maker that I work for – so I need to make sure I’m not passing through calls that are going to waste our executive’s time. Lots of sales people make it really obvious that they are calling on a sales call – for example, sales people might say, “May I speak to the person in charge of purchasing” or “Who is your current vendor/supplier for (such-and-such) product or system?” When people say this, I immediately know that it’s a sales call, and I put my guard up – because I know they probably don’t have a relationship with our executive and they’re just trying to get through. It’s amazing how many sales people call that really don’t know anything about our company or don’t know the names of the people who work here. It’s like they just got our number off of a calling list.


Q. What do you do when you suspect that a call is a sales call?

A. I always say, “Is this a sales call? What are you selling?” The good sales people usually come clean and tell me what type of product or system they sell – there’s no point in trying to deny that they are, in fact, making sales calls. Sometimes I’ll ask them for more information, or I’ll ask them to send me a brochure. At this point, I’m not going to tell them the name of the decision maker, because my job is to keep the decision maker from getting calls like these.


Q. Do sales people ever just, well…lie to you? In an attempt to get through to your boss?

A. Yes! All the time. Unfortunately! Lots of sales people will use some kind of line on me, like, “I’m returning your boss’s call,” or “I’m a friend of your boss.” This always makes me suspicious. Because usually, I know who the boss is calling, and I’m usually familiar with the boss’s inner circle of friends who would be calling during a work day. Whenever someone tries one of these lines on me, I know they’re probably a sales person. So I ask them for their name and number, write down the information and double check with my boss before I connect them.


Q. What happens if a sales person lies to you?

A. If I find out that a sales person was lying to me, I’m not going to be very helpful in connecting them to my boss in the future.

We need to do business with people we trust. Starting off your first contact with me with a lie is not good business.


Q. What is the “right way” for a sales person to approach you, in a way that will make you want to help connect them with the decision maker?

A. The best sales people treat me with respect and try to get to know me and act with courtesy and professionalism. They don’t lie and they don’t try to hide things from me – they are happy to talk about what they do and volunteer information and details about what they’re trying to talk with us about. Just because it’s my job to be the “gatekeeper” doesn’t mean I’m always going to keep the gate shut! If you can show me what kind of value you can offer, and show me how your product or service can help make my boss’s life better, I’ll do what I can to help make sure your information or phone number or whatever gets in front of my boss.


Editor’s Note: As an additional bit of advice, we also suggest – try to build relationships with decision makers that are not dependent on gatekeepers. Use your network. Go on LinkedIn and start working your network from a few degrees of separation out, and try to ask for introductions so you can get closer to the decision maker. Find out which people you might already know inside the prospect’s company. Build alliances with people at the company to get introduced to the right people and “work your way up” to reaching the decision maker.


If your only chance to talk to a decision maker is to try to talk your way past a gatekeeper, then your chances are slim. But if you can work your way toward the decision maker, by using your relationship building skills and your existing network of contacts, you’ll be more likely to make the sale.


Cooking Up Great Sales Leads: Top 10 Ingredients

Lead RecipeEvery delicious meal begins with a good recipe: without all the ingredients, working in the right order, sequence and in just the right quantities, your dish just doesn’t come out right. Just like cooking in the kitchen, “cooking up” great sales leads requires a list of key ingredients and a consistent process to achieve a successful result.


Great chefs know how to add an intangible touch to a dish that is all their own. In the same way, sales lead generation experts know how to draw upon the special nuances and human touch of furthering a conversation, identifying a prospect’s needs, and building relationships.


Here are the top ten ingredients necessary for “cooking up” great sales leads:


1) Dials: Every sales lead begins by dialing the phone. Aim for a minimum of 20 dials per hour. 20 dials should result in 5-6 conversations (about 5 minutes each) with key decision makers. Keep your time between calls to an absolute minimum, as this is the most wasteful drag on productivity. Every minute you’re not on the phone is costing you money.


2) Contact Rate: Try to obtain a 15% – 20% contact rate. This means you must have a strategy for navigating through gatekeepers and screeners to establish talk time with decision makers. Read more here about how to manage gatekeepers on sales lead generation calls.


3) Names of Decision Makers: If you don’t know the names and job titles of the decision makers you’ll be calling, your lead generation efforts are flying blind. Make sure to obtain at least 75% of the names and titles of your decision makers before you start dialing the phone. Instead of spending time researching these names, you can purchase this data from a list broker.


4) Script or Conversation Outline: Lead generation calls should not be improvised or off-the-cuff; instead, every call needs a certain level of planning so that you are prepared to work through the conversation and guide the prospects in the right direction. Think about what you are going to say to decision makers, anticipate your prospect’s top 5 objections, and then have rebuttals ready.


5) Avoid Early Termination: Keep your script opening short and to the point. Prospects don’t like to listen to a lengthy pitch, especially if they don’t know you and haven’t heard from you before. Script shutdown or early termination of calls is the lead generation team’s worst nightmare. If you sound like you are simply reading from a sales script, you will lose credibility and the next sound you will hear is “click” as the prospect hangs up the phone.


6) Well-targeted Market: Make sure that the companies on your list are the right size, the right type of companies and are located within your trading area. There is a saying in the lead generation business, “You will be no better than the list.” Know your audience. The more you know about the companies and decision makers that you will be calling, the more successful your lead generation and appointment setting calls are going to be.


7) Accurate Data: Make sure your list is current and accurate. Bad phone numbers are the enemy of productivity. If you have a list with a 30% bad number ratio, this means that for every 10 hours you work on this list you really only worked 7 actual hours. Time spent calling bad phone numbers is just as wasteful as time spent not dialing the phone.


8) Inbound or Outbound Calls: Create effective leave behind voice mail messages to encourage prospects to call you back, or don’t leave messages at all and reinvest this time in making more calls. Decide which is the best tactic for you, depending on what you’re able to offer to generate calls back, and depending on the capabilities of your lead generation team.


9) “Come Up” System. Don’t just prospect for low hanging fruit. Create a database of all different types of sales leads, including lower priority leads, “not interested” responses and prospects who ask to be contacted again at a future date. Use a CRM program to manage your “come up system.” Given enough time and persistence, “not interested” responses can turn into promising sales leads. Your “come up” system should be a field of future opportunities for follow-up and long-term relationship building.


10) Close the Loop: Track and trend your “not interested” response data and use it to better understand why these conversations are not producing sales leads. Put this information to good use and implement process improvements. Every good chef is constantly learning, adapting, and finding ways to make new combinations of flavors from the same old ingredients – in the same way, lead generation is often a process of learning as you go along, so you can get better at converting unpromising prospects into high-potential sales leads.


Just like preparing a great meal requires a long process of washing, prepping, chopping, seasoning and cooking, B2B lead generation is a long-term process of building relationships, maximizing opportunities and learning as you go along. With these 10 ingredients, your lead generation and appointment setting calls will be more likely to achieve success.



Top 5 Reasons Why Lead Generation Programs Fail

Key to Sales SuccessThere are basic component parts to a lead generation program, and one or all of these items can cause your program to fail. To get a lead generation program working effectively all of these components must work together seamlessly. So how do you know when your lead generation program is broken? If you are not producing leads at all this is pretty hard to miss but if it’s not completely broken; things can get a little trickier. If your program needs just repairs then you may be producing leads, but of suspect quality. Or you might be generating quality leads, but just at a trickle.


Let’s look at the top 5 reasons why lead generation programs fail and how to fix them;


1) The lead generator, you (or perhaps me) the person actively working to generate sales leads is, not surprisingly, a major factor in your generation efforts. Your style, professionalism, attitude, procedures and even the tone of your voice can all affect lead generation. If you think you have a “people problem” that is crashing your program its time to listen in to conversations and or obtain an objective second opinion to make sure your program has the professional sound necessary. Make sure your lead generator doesn’t sound robotic, staged, overly enthusiastic, dull and or sleepy. You are looking for a natural sound that comes off like real one on one communication.


2) The contact list is another factor. In essence, your contact list is going to be filled with people who use the sort of products or services you are selling, so it is, in essence, all about not selling ice cubes to Eskimos. If your message is hitting the wrong crowd then you’re wasting your breath. The contact list can be complex. You may have the type of companies correct but they may be too big or small. You may have the right size companies but the SIC codes you chose are not performing well. Time to reboot.


3) The program script is your conversation with the sales prospect. It involves the content, marketing, lead qualification and your ability to pull all of these things together in a logical, short and very concise presentation. If you’re a great lead generator and your contact list is spot on, then chances are good that your words are missing the mark. It could be your delivery, the order of your presentation of key points…or maybe the words themselves just aren’t right. There is a loose connection somewhere, and your message just isn’t getting through.


4) No contact with decision maker – do you have the name of your decision maker? This is a vital piece of information that can transform your program almost instantly, and all it takes is a little research on the front end. Dialing without a name will produce low contact rates; when you ask “who buys [insert your product here]?” you are telegraphing the gatekeeper that you are a sales person and you do not have a existing relationship with the decision maker. The gatekeeper, who is paid to be protective of his or her employer’s valuable time, is likely to shut you down right there.


5) Early termination of your phone call or getting shut down at the beginning of the script. This is the most common reason why lead generation programs crash. This is most likely to occur when you sound like you are staged, forced or reading a script. Take the time to learn your script and practice reciting it until it sounds natural and flows easily. This can also happen because your introduction (where you state who you are, what you do and why you are calling) is way too long. Early termination happens early because you have approx 12 sec in the beginning of your call where the decision maker is deciding whether he or she is going to stay on the line. Think of your introduction as the headline of a news article or ad; you have about one breath’s worth of speech to engage your audience, or you’ve lost them.


In any of these scenarios, the problem could be with any (or even all) of the components we have identified. The trick is identifying the weak link (or links) in your program. Once you can do that, fixing the problem usually requires some trial and error. Replace or repair one part in question at a time and then do some experimentation.