Learn How to Set an Appointment in 3 Easy Steps

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Sales Tactics : 9 min read

Learn How to Set an Appointment in 3 Easy Steps

You’ve finally got your dream prospect on the phone.

They’re listening to what you’re saying, and they seem interested in your product or service.

But, just as you’re about to set up an appointment, they say, “Could you just send me this information by email?”

Ouch.

Setting an appointment with your prospects isn’t an easy task. After all the effort you put into prospecting, collecting leads, and doing research, is there any way to improve your chances of setting an appointment?

Thankfully, there is.

In this post, we’re going to dive into three simple steps you can use to grab your prospect’s attention and convince them to book an appointment with you:

  1. Get yourself (and your prospect) into the right frame of mind.
  2. Provide real value.
  3. Make a plan—and stick to it.

Then, we’ll discover how to apply these three steps both on sales calls and in sales emails.

1. Get yourself (and your prospect) into the right frame of mind.

First, let’s start with how to get into the right frame of mind.

As a sales rep, your main goal is to sell your product, right?

Well, in this case, no.

When you’re trying to set an appointment with a prospect, your goal is to sell that appointment.

Pro-tip: Don’t think about closing the deal, or about selling the product itself. All you need at this stage is for them to accept an appointment, because that’s where the magic is really going to happen.

Now, let’s get your prospects in the right frame of mind.

Obviously, they’re not expecting your call: they’re in the middle of a busy workday, with their own tasks and events to juggle.

So, how can you get them into the right frame of mind to accept a meeting with you?

The best way to do that is to disarm them. Your prospects are probably used to receiving sales calls or emails, and they may automatically say “no” after hearing or reading common sales phrases.

The best way to counteract this effect: say something unexpected.

Here’s how to get them in the right frame of mind on the phone:

Acknowledge they’re busy.

Many sales reps still use the phrase, “Did I catch you at a bad time?”

However, according to a study by Gong.io, using this phrase actually lowers your chances of setting an appointment by 40%:

did i catch you at a bad time

There’s no question that your prospects are busy. So, acknowledge that in your introduction.

“Hello, this is Anya from Copper. I know I’m calling you out of the blue, so I’ll be quick!"

This catches your prospects by surprise—and they’ll probably appreciate the fact that you’re taking their busy schedule into account.

Be clear about your purpose: getting the appointment.

If you’ve already acknowledged that your prospect is busy, don’t spend time beating around the bush.

Now, put their mind at rest by stating the purpose of your call.

“The reason for my call is to see if we can find half an hour in your schedule this week to talk about increasing your team’s productivity.”

This phrasing will help put your prospects in the right frame of mind: they don’t have to focus on a purchase decision, just setting up an appointment.

And it gets better: according to the same study by Gong.io, using the phrase “The reason for my call is…” can increase your success rate by 2.1 times!

how to increase prospecting call success

Pro-tip: Clearly state your purpose up-front to successfully (and more efficiently) set more appointments with prospects.

Here’s how to get them in the right frame of mind in an email:

Spend time creating the perfect subject line.

The first thing your prospects see will be the subject line of your email. So, while writing an email to sell that appointment, remember that the subject line is arguably the most important part.

To make sure your subject line grabs their attention and puts them in the right frame of mind, try narrowing in on the main benefit you plan to highlight in the appointment.

Also, keep your tone conversational. Your subject line doesn’t have be written like the heading of an article; it’s just another part of the email’s content.

For example: “Let’s talk about increasing your team’s productivity.”

Be clear about your intentions.

In an email, it may feel like you have more space to talk about your product and really sell them on it.

However, keeping your email short could actually help you get a response.

In fact, emails with 75-100 words have an average response rate of 51%:

email word length success rate

So, don’t waste time. Use the same format as the phone call: introduce yourself briefly, and then state the purpose of your email.

“My name is Joe Smith with 123 Inc. I’m reaching out today to see if we can find 30 minutes in your schedule this week to talk about increasing your team’s productivity.”

Short, simple and effective.

2. Provide real value.

Before you can provide genuine value to your prospects, you need to understand what's valuable to them.

So, it’s time to do a little digging.

Using your CRM, check out any previous interactions you’ve had with this prospect. With all of your information stored in one place, you’ll be able to see past emails and phone calls, and some important points may start to jump out at you:

copper crm's records of interactions with prospects

Also, you can check your CRM to see if any of your teammates have interacted with this prospect. Then, you can pull valuable insights from their past conversations.

Another way to get insight into what matters to your prospects is by checking them out online.

For example, using LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator, you can get special insights into companies, such as their current employees, changes in the size of the company over time, and more.

Also, read through their posts. What are your prospects talking about on LinkedIn? What tools are they using? What subjects seem to matter to them?

This will prepare you to bring real value to your prospects.

Pro-tip 👇

Record the right info.

Learn how to record and use the right information about prospects and customers with this free handbook.

Here’s how to provide value on the phone:

Show what’s in it for them.

If your prospect is going to agree to a meeting, they need to first be convinced there’s something in it for them.

Remember, you’re trying to sell the appointment itself. To be truly convincing, there should be some value in that appointment whether or not your prospect decides to buy the product in the end.

So, what matters to your prospect? Hopefully you’ve already found that out in your research. But, if you’re still not sure, it’s time to ask some pointed questions.

This discussion alone can bring your success rate up: when sales reps discuss three or four problems their prospects are facing, their average success rate jumps up to 85%:

effectiveness of problem oriented topics in sales calls

Then, use these burning issues that your prospects are facing to provide valuable solutions.

For example, if they want to increase productivity, why not offer to share your company’s productivity secrets at that appointment?

Make sure that the prospect understands that they’ll be walking away from that appointment with something of value, not just a sales pitch.

Here’s how to provide value in an email:

Show them your expertise with a great article or video.

Because an email can seem somewhat impersonal, it’s especially important that you establish yourself as a subject authority.

By presenting yourself as an expert, you can take on the role of mentor and counselor when it comes to helping them decide on a product.

For example, why not include a link to an authoritative article on your blog, or a link to an upcoming webinar?

Better yet: include a link to a video.

According to studies by Google, 70% of B2B buyers watch videos throughout their buyer journey. In fact, half of these watch more than 30 minutes of video during their research process.

So, why not send them a video?

According to the same study, the most popular type of B2B video content is about product features. So, your email could include a link to a video that describes your product and your company.

This is a great way to provide value right from the start, and will also help prospects see the benefits of setting an appointment with you.

3. Make a plan and stick to it.

The time has arrived: let’s set up that appointment.

Whether on the phone or in an email, this is the part where you’ll either lose the prospect or seal that appointment.

Let’s make this moment count.

Here’s how to make a plan on the phone:

Have your schedule clear in mind before the call.

Obviously, the time to get your calendar out is not at the end of the call. Before you even pick up the phone, you need to know what times you can offer the client.

Pro-tip: Leave your calendar window up as you make calls. That way, you can have your schedule at a glance, and quickly offer specific times to your prospects.

Give a “this or that” choice.

At this point, don’t leave any room for a “No” answer. And don’t fall into the trap of asking them when they have time to set up an appointment.

Instead, ask a question with a multiple-choice answer.

“We can meet up Wednesday morning at 10, or would the afternoon be better for you?”

“Would Thursday or Friday afternoon be better for you?”

This phrasing helps guide prospects to a “Yes,” and helps avoid an outright “No” or the dreaded “I’ll get back to you.”

Be prepared for objections.

Not all prospects go down without a fight.

At this point, you may have to face some common objections, such as:

  • “We just don’t have the budget for any new tools right now.”
  • “We already have a [type of product].”
  • “Could you just send me the information by email?”

To combat these objections, it’s important not to get defensive. When you’re prepared in advance to respond to common objections, that will help you to speak slower and more confidently when the time comes.

In fact, while average sales reps increase their words per minute when facing an objection, top performers keep almost exactly the same pace as the rest of the conversation:

talking speed in phone calls

So, after an objection is raised, take a deep breath and continue with confidence into your prepared response.

That response should include these three elements:

  • Validate the objection.
  • Get permission to address it.
  • Rewind to the value you presented before.

First, validate their objection by showing you understand. For example, if you’re selling a productivity tool and they say they already have one, you might respond:

“I completely understand. We all want to make sure we’re working efficiently, so I’m not surprised you already have a productivity tool.”

Next, get their permission to address this objection. Here, it’s important to avoid putting your prospect on the defensive. So, try continuing with a casual tone:

“Could I just bounce an idea off you?”

Once you have their permission to continue, it’s time to take them back to the value that you presented before.

“I know you said that productivity is important for your company. Since 123 Inc. is focused on increasing productivity, we’ve actually come up with some valuable features that we use to help our teams get more done, faster. I’d really love to share some of those with you at this appointment.”

By following these steps, you can make sure that an objection isn’t the end of the conversation.

Be prepared to leave a voicemail.

Not all calls will connect you with a live person. But just because the voicemail picks up doesn’t mean the game is over.

Instead, make sure you prepare a simple script that will convince the prospect to call you back for that appointment.

With a voicemail, you need to convince them to pick up the phone and call you back, and you really only have a few seconds.

Start by introducing yourself and your company. Then, in just one powerful sentence, show them how setting an appointment with you could benefit them.

“Hey, this is Joe Smith, I’m working with 123 Inc. to help small businesses like yours to triple their productivity. I’d love to find half an hour to meet up this week and discuss how your team can get the same work done in less than half the time.”

Here’s how to make a plan in an email:

Let them pick their best time with an interactive calendar link.

Sending emails back and forth to set an appointment that works for everyone is tedious and time-consuming. Instead, use the same principle we talked about with the phone, offering this-or-that.

With Copper, we can send meeting invitation links that automatically sync up with our Google Calendars using the Meeting Scheduler. You just set the times that you’re available, and prospects can pick a slot that works best for them:

copper crm's meeting scheduler

That way, finding a time that works for everyone becomes easier, and prospects can set up that appointment within seconds of reading your email.

Confirm the appointment ahead of time.

Once the appointment is set in everyone’s calendars, don’t just forget about it.

To get your prospects in the right frame of mind and keep them interested in this appointment, send a friendly reminder to confirm your appointment. In Copper, you can create an email template for these reminder emails, which allows you to send them out at the right time with minimal effort. Just fill in the details for this specific client before you hit send, or use merge fields such as the name of the client or the company they work for.

For the best results, try sending this reminder email a day or two in advance. That ensures your prospect has time to see the email, but doesn’t leave him enough time to forget about the meeting before it comes up.

Make sure to specify the date and time of your upcoming meeting, as well as where it will be held. It could look something like this—yes, you can send emails from Copper too (thanks to the Gmail integration):

how to set an appointment - gmail integration

Pro-tip: This kind of confirmation email will help keep your appointment fresh in their memory, and help build anticipation for the value you’ll present.

How many appointments can you set this quarter?

Convincing your prospects to set an appointment with you isn’t an easy task. However, using these tips, you’ll be on the fast track to a higher success rate.

Just remember to:

  • Get yourself and your prospect in the right frame of mind.
  • Provide real value.
  • Make a plan and stick to it.

With this simple three-step formula, you’ll be able to woo your prospects—and convince them that they need an appointment with you.

Using these sales methods, how many appointments will you set this quarter?