In the not so distant past, setting up presentations and closing deals happened during courtesy visits, over coffee, or over golf, and were sealed with a “handshake” or a simple contract. Nowadays, even getting your foot in the door is a whole new ordeal in and of itself. To develop your business, you must accept that appointment setting is a critical and challenging part of the sales process, and, most of the time, it becomes an inefficient, almost robotic chore. We cannot let this happen if we want to grow.
Often, sales transactions will not commence without first being able to talk and negotiate with a prospect. And this contact point is so important, that, sometimes, this first conversation makes up 50% to 80% of your chance of closing the deal. It is easy to prepare a superior presentation, but if you do not get the opportunity to show them your presentation, then no transaction will take place. Being able to secure that very valuable talk-time or face-time (not the app) with your prospects leads you one step closer to closing the deal.
In the travel industry particularly, appointment setting as a third-party service has been gaining popularity. Gone are the days when you could rely on marketing materials or advertisements to do the work for you. The old saying – “Build it and they will come” – does not apply to the travel, recreation, and leisure industries. Competition is plenty and stiff! Your pristine shoreline, premium location, breathtaking views, friendly staff, and delectable cuisine – could very well be the same benefit and package as your competitors. This will not be enough to draw customers in. With so many choices available, even the once exclusive high-end resorts have chosen to open their doors to a bigger market, pushing timeshare plans or giving away free stays just to secure a possible repeat booking. For your business to thrive, you need to be able to secure an appointment with those that matter, whether it is for an immediate sale, or for a possible long-term return for your brand.
How do you secure that all-important appointment with your elusive target prospect? Before focusing on anything else, it is critical for you and your agents to understand your prospect’s psyche! What makes them tick, what makes them buy, what influences them, what drives them, what makes them say “yes” and “no”, or what will make them give you a first, second, or even a third look? What will make them give you the time of day?
Understanding your customers will serve as your “guidepost” or your “lighthouse” in making decisions about your targeting, messaging, agent training, and procedures in setting that appointment. Even if you have an outstanding offer, your sales representative must be able to convey that value and benefit to the prospect! Appointment setting gives you an opportunity to present further, whether for your current promotion or for future initiatives of your business. With an appointment in place, you are nearer to achieving your goal of turning your prospects into valuable clients.For your business to thrive, you need to be able to secure an appointment with those that matter, whether it is for an immediate sale, or for a possible long-term return for your brand.Click To Tweet
Here are 5 important considerations your brand and your agents should take note of when doing appointment setting with your leads or prospects:
1. The Irritation of Being “Sold”
Most people are tired or scared of being sold. Each one of us at one point or another has moments of wanting to stay away from sales agents when shopping. Simply put, it is because we do not want to feel pressured into buying something that we feel we are not ready to commit to, even if we are the ones that set out to buy in the first place. We want to be able to make these choices on our own. We also do not like the idea of being duped into a bargain just because the agent needs to meet their quota for that month. We all know the aversion most people have to used car salesmen – let’s avoid sounding like them.
It is very important that you approach your prospect from a service perspective, from a desire of wanting to help or wanting to give them value, and not being sales-oriented and pushing for a quick deal. We always must remember that we are trying to earn a client’s business. Appointment setting may be a sales-driven transaction, but should not be sales-focused during the initial conversation. Your goal is to convince your prospects to give you an opportunity to explain your offer in-depth, not to go on a scripted, high-pressure sales pitch once they pick up your call. Secure the appointment first.
2. Growing up “Not Talking to Strangers”
“Don’t talk to strangers” is part of every parent’s first set of instructions to their child. It is a parenting basic that is deeply ingrained in our psyches. We are raised to be cautious in dealing with people, and, as we discover later in life, there really are people who care less about our interests, and who would do whatever it takes to further theirs. So, imagine receiving a call from a stranger offering you some wonderful, beautiful opportunity that you shouldn’t pass up, using the usual hard-selling tactics most third-party service providers are known for. This would leave anyone on edge.
Gain your prospect’s trust, by first introducing yourself, your brand, and being clear about the purpose of your call. Your “hook” during the first 30 seconds of your call should be about being open to them first, rather than forcing yourself in their minds right that minute. There needs to be a call to action for the appointment and stating your unique value proposition.
Persuasive and sincere communication plays a big role in addressing your prospect’s biggest fears. Make sure that the representatives or agents you hire have high-level interpersonal communication skills that represent your brand both effectively and empathetically.
Referrals are also a big help in appointment setting and sales. They will trust your company because of their friend’s experience.
3. Their Perceived Value for their Time
People waste time on their own accord but do not want other people wasting their time for them. Even if you catch your prospect in the early morning, during lunch break, or after work (the usual times your appointment setting would be most successful), if you do not communicate early on that you respect your prospect’s time you will lose them. By asking permission if they do have the time to take your call, and communicating very clearly early on the value of your offer to them, they will be swift to say no without even understanding the full benefits of your offer.
4. The Desire for Pleasure
Setting regular vacation time is part of everyone’s list, and somehow, a lot of people prepare more for their vacations than their own careers. However, the specifics, the details, the actual choices of where to stay, what activities to enjoy, etc., are details that can be changed even on the spot. If the prospect is persuaded or introduced to a new opportunity they might not have heard of before, this is when impulse buying sets in, wherein you focus on the emotional benefits of your offer. By mentioning just a few benefits during your appointment setting call you go a long way towards compelling them to give you a block of their time.Mention the benefits during your call to compel them to block of their time to talk to you.Click To Tweet
5. Being “The Chosen Few”
We have all encountered telemarketers. When you encounter an offer from your bank that says you are one of the few people qualified for a credit extension, or when you get that university alumni card which gives you discount privileges from certain establishments (no matter how small), don’t you feel more special? Also, why do people spend hundreds or thousands of dollars more for a specific resort, when that exact same resort shares the same beach with other resorts nearby? A lot of times it is the Members Only privileges, wherein they get special treats, or attendance to exclusive events, or whatever premium service may be given that is only for a select few. This is the desire for “exclusivity”, the desire to feel special and important. There is a big difference between receiving a call from a resort wanting to share a special vacation opportunity with you, versus a call from a vacation club that is open ONLY to select individuals who are, let’s say, the top ten managers in their industry. Obviously, you are going to listen more to the “chosen few” approach.
At ICCS, we have proprietary training methodologies that equip our agents with all the necessary tools, PLUS the extra interpersonal skills needed to turn prospects into warm leads. We then convert these warm leads to Customers. Call us for a free consultation, and we will be happy to explain how we can help your business grow.