We come across all sorts of clients. From large global multinational corporations to small mom and pop businesses around the corner in your neighborhood. What do they all have in common you may ask, a desire to grow and expand their top line. One of the most common solutions to grow and expand revenue is to increase one’s marketing budget for lead generation. There are numerous ways to go about growing your Marketing department’s reach, you may decide to expand your sales force, increase your advertising spend, go into new geographical areas, and / or expand your current product / service lines. In this article we will focus on one particular innovative aspect of growing your top line, an aspect that we know best, “business to business appointment setting”.
You may wonder, how could you possible satisfy my lead generation needs without knowing or truly understanding the complicated intricacies of my product / service. You may go further by asking us, I may give you a chance since there is very limited downside for me, but how many appointments will you provide, or at least promise to deliver. While we don’t provide any guarantees, let’s start by proposing the following formula:
Idea: Agent + Product / Service + Promotion + Data + Reporting + Training + Management + X = Result
We believe that this formula is inclusive of all major factors that could possible affect the result of your campaign.
Step 1 is sharing your business Idea with us, what exactly are you trying to sell, what service are you providing to the consumer, what are the benefits of your products, what sets you apart in the marketplace when comparing against your competitors. You talk and we listen. We come across so many different entrepreneurs from all walks of life and they all share one obsession … my product / service will revolutionize the world and all that is necessary is just some proper marketing channels and my business could become the next Facebook or Google.
Step 2 is hiring an Agent. Everyone of our Agents has at least 3 years of direct relevant experience in the Tele Sales industry. Most of our Agents have gone through extensive Call Center Training by large global Fortune 500 corporations including Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, General Motors and General Electric. When we hire our Agents, we absolutely make sure that they (i) have an ability to free flow” their phone conversation with your prospect, (ii) have professional demeanor, (iii) are capable of projecting confidence and personality, (iv) have a desire to learn and grow, and (v) have the right motivation and desire to thrive on new challenges. Remember that continuous improvement in Agent’s motivation and personal initiatives are accomplished through ongoing coaching, training and mentoring calls between you and your Agent.
Step 3 is our need to truly understand your Product or Service. As we mentioned earlier, we will need to drill down to figure out what is it exactly that you are trying to sell, what services are you providing to the consumer, what are the benefits of your products, and what really sets you apart in the marketplace versus the competition. We come across so many different entrepreneurs and so many of them believe that their business could become the next Facebook or Google. Let’s take a step back for a second, how competitive is your industry, do you know who those competitors are? Are they bigger than your firm, do they have more resources, specifically do they have more resources allocated to their Marketing departments. Have you done market studies to figure out what is the ultimate customer’s perception of your product / service? Is it really a revolutionary concept or just the same old product / service with a creative spin?
Step 4 is the art of Promotion. Remember that it takes a lot of effort and patience just to get connected to your prospect and when someone answers the phone it is probably the only window of opportunity that your Agent will have to effectively promote your product / service. It is extremely important for your Agent to initiate and create a favorable condition for a warm and friendly conversation by the quality and tone of his or her voice. Their character, personality, as well as temperament are revealed. Simply asking the prospect for a meeting is not the right approach. Free consultations are often interpreted as a “sales pitch” session with little to no value. What has been working in our experience, is an ability to customize a truly unique promotion that is specifically tailored to your prospect, your Agent must develop an ability to catch the prospect off guard, be able to present a win-win situation that has the best chance of succeeding with inside sales campaign.
Step 5 is the quality of prospect Data. There are so many ways to analyze the value and type of potential commercial business prospects. We drill down all the way to SIC Code, Area Code, City, State, Zip, County, Employee Count, Annual Sales size and Industry type. Our Data is gathered from multiple sources and telephone numbers are always verified to ensure accuracy. The contact information of prospects is vetted to insure that these prospects are Key Decision Makers (Owner/Manager and CEO’s) of their respective businesses. Consistent tweaking of the prospect Data will help you overcome some inevitable variables that could adversely impact the successes of your appointment setting campaign. These variables include weather storms, sport events, holidays, and major news events that influence a specific region and/or prospect set.
Step 6 is the process of meticulously reporting and documenting results. Being able to constantly tweak the Agent’s Call Guide based on daily analysis of results and Agents feedback will create a continuous drive toward perfection. Our Agents will study and review the Call Guide for mastery of the content and natural flow of the message, and make themselves available for over-the-phone training that will be conducted by you since the first day of the inside sales campaign.
Step 7 is Agent Training. Remember that this crucial step is about the Agent becoming comfortable and knowledgeable with your business product or service. Walking the Agent through your Website, sharing applicable marketing materials, and performing over the phone training are essential tools at your disposal. Both of us would like to make sure that our Agents are capable of handling objections while at the same time be able to project deep knowledge of your business product or service . We expect you to play a major role in coaching, training and mentoring our sales agent on how to effectively handle various possible objections presented by the prospect customer. Bear in mind that our Agents are continually seeking your feedback and are here to make your dreams a reality.
Step 8 is Management. Remember that continuous improvement in Agent motivation, instilling a desire for your Agent to thrive on new challenges and personal initiatives are accomplished through ongoing coaching, training and mentoring between you and your Agent. Our Agents are a collegial team of highly ambitious, motivated, competent, and educated professional who are excited at the mere prospect of generating appointments and increasing your top line.
Step 9 is X. In banking agreements, it is referenced to as “natural disasters/acts of God”. We simply refer to it as “all other variables out of our control”, few examples: regional weather handicapping your target area, economic, sports or other events capturing your prospects attention, pre or post-holiday spirit and other circumstances surrounding your prospects “micro world”.
1-9 can be tweaked and perfected over time in your lead generation campaign. This should be the primary focus of your campaign. However, keep your eye out for variable X, as Sherlock Homes says, “remove the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is your answer.”
***back to “The Art of Appointment Setting”