Cold Call Appointment Setting: Why Is It So Tough?

Cold call appointment setting is tough business. Picking up the phone and interrupting someone takes grit. One has to be ready to be rejected right away. To those of us who cold call constantly, it happens to us everyday. You start the call “Hi, is this Bob?” and his response is “Ya know what? I’m not interested” click. Rejection. You can’t take it personally. You have to simply march on like it didn’t happen. Like I said, cold calling takes grit. You need to have thick skin. But don’t worry. There are some things you can do to prevent rejection. There are some techniques that can make all the difference in the world.

On every cold call, there are three barriers preventing you from your appointment goal. By learning these barriers and mastering the techniques to beat them, you can minimize rejection and increase your appointments instantly. The three barriers are (1) I’m too important, (2) I’m too busy, and (3) I don’t want to be sold anything.

1. I’m Too Important

Every person you call has an ego. Many times they have a huge ego. People with a big ego don’t want to be interrupted. People with a big ego don’t want to waste time with a sales call. So how do you overcome the ego? You do this by asking two simple questions at the beginning of your call. One is an ego boost, and one is a time saver.

FIrst ask, “I understand you’re in charge of x [their title of responsibility like sales or marketing], is that right?” This does two things: it first confirms you are speaking to the right person and second strokes their ego. In essence, you are saying “I understand you are the big cheese, the head honcho, the person in charge, right?” This really helps.

Second, say your name and company and ask “Did I catch you at a bad time?” Someone who has just been interrupted wants to say “No” to everything you say. The problem with that question is if they say “No” they give you permission to continue. If they say yes, you can immediately ask for the right time to call them back and schedule that call back. It’s a win/win scenario. When they grant you permission, you’ll find they are already listening more attentively than if you just jumped right into your script.

2. I’m Too Busy

Time is money. Time is everything. Effective executives want to spend every minute of their time in the best way possible. The key to overcoming this barrier is to acknowledge that their time is important and that your are really trying to turn this interruption into a scheduled conversation at their earliest convenience. Tell them “I know you’re busy.” Acknowledge that you are an interruption. Be quick and brief. Respect their time and they’ll respect you.

3. I Don’t Want to be Sold Anything

People hate telemarketers; they hate being sold. So be upfront with them and tell them “I’m not selling anything. I’m simply trying to check your calendar availability over the next week to see when you have 10-15 minutes for a quick call.” This is simply a research call. Your main goal is to schedule them for a call at a future time, not close the sale.  So be upfront and honest about your purpose. You’ll find they’ll respect you more and reject less.

In summary, your opening script should look like:

“Hello, is Bob available?”

“Bob, I understand you’re in charge of sales, is that right?”

“My name is Don, and I’m with Launch Leads. Did I catch you at a bad time?”

“Great. Bob, I know you’re busy. I’m just trying to check your calendar availability next week to see when you have 10-15 minutes for a quick call. Next week, I have Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday is wide open. Which day works better for you?”

This takes about 20-25 seconds and you will see amazing results. You are overcoming all three barriers of a cold call and have effectively engaged the prospect. At this point, you can start discussing your value proposition and asking them more engaging questions to ensure they are the right type of decision maker for your product or service.

Cold call appointment setting is tough. By mastering these techniques, and overcoming these barriers, you will set more appointments and keep your sales pipeline full. A good appointment setter sets 4-6 appointments per week. This technique is one of the keys to their success.

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