Telemarketing and Call Center Information

Appointment Setting

Telemarketing and Appointment Setting

Telemarketing by itself has a proven and successful track record.  But if you can meet the prospect in-person, the sales rate increases dramatically. 

90% of many business marketing budgets are spent on appointment setting.  This is because appointment setting gets your sales person in front of the decision maker.  For example, it’s used by:

  • top Fortune 500 companies
  • the smallest one-man shows,
  • doctors for new patient generation and patient reactivation
  • financial planners
  • insurance agents
  • contractors
  • most service oriented businesses

If you want to increase your sales, let telemarketers get your sales person in the door using appointment setting.

How Important Is It To Follow the Telemarketing Script?

How important is a telemarketing script?…they are good for actors in the movies, but how important in a call center? Customers are looking for specific solutions in products and services that they purchase, so ready-made scripts may be unhelpful when catering to the needs of customers.

For example, the UK based Lloyds Trustee Savings Bank stopped using scripts after 90 percent of its clients complained about their use. Its staff performs best not by learning scripts or sales techniques’ but by just being natural, open, honest and friendly. But John Price, managing director of Price Direct feels that scripts have an important role to play in outbound calls used to solicit customers.

Some feel that call center staff are more intent on following the script rather than listening to what they are saying. But, scripts are valuable when it comes to following the specifics and details of the product or service, according to Kevin Norton, account manager at the UK-based business marketing, data management and analytical services provider LBM.

Training your staff to stick to the script while still being conversational is the key.  Skilled staff should have the expertise to use the script as a tool to explain the company’s selling points, and also be flexible enough to deviate from it when the need arises.

90% of Some Marketing Budgets are Spent on Appointment Setting

It’s important enough to focus on and I can’t stress it enough…  Telemarketing is used to set appointments because it works!

Some businesses are so aware of how effective this is that they spend as much as 90% of their marketing budgets to have telemarketers set appointments for their salespeople.  Getting their sales reps in front of the right decision maker increases the liklihood of a sale, and businesses know it!

That’s because the sales person is able to have an uninterrupted and exclusive time with the prospect.  This undivided attention gives a good sales person the chance to present the features and benefits of the product, answer objections and close the sale.  It’s much harder for the prospect to say “no” when they are face-to-face with the presenter. 

In fact, it increases the sales rate dramatically and businesses know this.  Cold calling is a drudgery compared to having a standing appointment already set for an in-person meeting with the decision maker.  Telemarketing is used to set appointments and businesses have found it to be worth the expense. 

How Appointment Setting Works

Telemarketers set appointments but they don’t try to sell the product.  And they shouldn’t.  That’s what your sales people are for.   It’s a proven fact that in-person meetings reap the highest sales rate. 

An appointment setter is trained to call the decision maker and entice them with the benefits the product offers.  And when the prospect wants to hear more, they set the appointment for a sales person. 

It’s the job of the telemarketing appointment setter to create the prospect’s desire to hear more about the product.  That’s all.  No selling.  That’s not only because selling is the job of the sales person, it’s because too much information over the phone may lead the prospect to get bogged down in a discussion and say no.

A good appointment setter should make it short and exciting, saying generally, “These are the benefits (name them), and that’s why other businesses (use references if possible) use this product.  You could have these benefits too…  When can our representative come by and tell you about it?  Tomorrow or Wednesday?”  Set a specific time. 

Then send out your best salesperson on that appointment!

Don’t Make Your Sales People Set Appointments

Your business hires top sales people because they are persuasive and convincing.  You hire them to sell your product. 

Yet I am surprised to find that many businesses still expect their sales people to set their own appointments.  It’s such a waste of their time and talent because appointment setting can be accomplished by trained telemarketers. 

This leaves 100 % of a sales person’s time for selling!  And that means more sales for your company. It’s the cost of appointment setting that seems to be the deterrent. 

But your business is actually spending more.  Here’s why:  In-person meetings are proven to be more productive because you have the prospect’s complete attention.  Sales rates increase, and these added sales more than offset the cost of the appointment setting expense. And appointment setting can be outsourced to a telemarketing service.  So the only thing that your business and its sales people are focused on are SALES.

Appointment Setting Is the Top Use for Telemarketing

Telemarketing by itself has a proven and successful track record.  But if you can meet the prospect in-person, the sales rate increases dramatically. 

90% of many business marketing budgets are spent on appointment setting.  This is because appointment setting gets your sales person in front of the decision maker.  For example, it’s used by:

  • top Fortune 500 companies
  • the smallest one-man shows,
  • doctors for new patient generation and patient reactivation
  • financial planners
  • insurance agents
  • contractors
  • most service oriented businesses

If you want to increase your sales, let telemarketers get your sales person in the door using appointment setting.

Why Use a List Broker for Outbound Telemarketing

 While “sales” is still partly a numbers game (the more contacts, the more potential for a sale) we’ve come a long way in targeting markets that include prospects most likely to buy our product.  A new industry has even evolved to help telemarketers do just that: the List Broker.  And I think it’s well worth it, rather than using the phone book or other haphazard, unfocused lists.

To target the appropriate prospects for outbound telemarketing, I suggest you buy a list from a List Broker.  This is a service that provides calling lists based on the demographics that you request.  It can match the profile of the typical buyer or user of your product or service.  Besides the basic demographic choices of age, gender, location and income, there are many additional and more specific options. 

For business-to-business calls, you can request the type of business, location, and number of employees.  More options include and the name of the owner or manager, and credit history etc…

Targeting your market is the first step in making sales, and the right list for your market is conveniently available through a List Broker. 

Cost and Services of Outbound Telemarketing

Outbound telemarketing is a phone call that’s generated from a call center to prospects who are often unaware of the product or service, and who did not request such a call (cold-calling).  This type of call can be used for lead generation, sales calls, appointment setting, research surveys and information verification. 

The key to the success of outbound telemarketing is that a specific market can be targeted using call lists with demographics that correspond to the type of buyer that would use the product or service.  For example, people in the “over 60” age range can be called regarding special travel packages for seniors.  A percentage of those called will respond favorably because they are the right type of client and are interested in what you offer.

Pricing:  In the U.S, a telemarketing service usually charges about $2 per call plus a base fee that depends on the size of the whole project.  500 calls is usually the minimum accepted, and larger projects typically receive a better per call rate. 

Additionally, a minimum down payment of around  $1,500  is often required.  So, plan on about $20 to $40 per hour plus the base fee.  Outsourcing globally (off-shore) is becoming more popular because the cost can be as much as 50% to 75% less than an on-shore service.  This option is usually used for huge projects.

Looking for New Customers?

Businesses can’t grow much without new customers. The puzzle is to figure out the best way for your business to find them. 

The Direct Marketing Association reported the results of its recent survey, which showed that telemarketing continues to have the highest response rate at 5.78%.  Just for comparison, McDonalds Corporation reports that a 1% to 2% response rate on its printed coupons is considered very successful. 

So, telemarketing certainly has the best stats to back it up as a great marketing tool, and your business may want to consider this option seriously.

Thinking Ahead about Your Business Telemarketing

You can always switch telemarketing companies of course, but it makes sense to think about starting out with a telemarketing company that can grow as you grow.  For example, an outside telemarketing call center may handle lead generation well.  But suppose you want to expand to appointment setting?  And what if there is an option for your product or service to become national or international?

A telemarketing company that can expand to other types of telemarketing will make it easier for you in the long run.  Eventually, your company may want to expand to off-shore telemarketing.  Typically, this type of telemarketing is for companies with huge prospect lists and the cost per call becomes a major factor.  Off-shore telemarketing can be significantly less expensive.

Or what if your company wants to add in-bound customer service?  If your business product or service has the potential for expanding beyond your current telemarketing company’s range, you may want to consider  outsourcing with a telemarketing service that has all the services you will need in the future.  This could save you from needing to switch later, as your business needs grow.