In my last article, I talked about different aspects of cold calling that can be used to set yourself apart. In this issue, we are zeroing in on messaging. The key to success in appointment setting is saying the right things in the right order so that the prospect will stay on the phone and engage in a conversation with you.



Grabber. The beginning of the call is all about creating rapport so that the prospect is willing to continue. You have 20 seconds to keep them on the phone.  Don’t start with who you are because your prospect doesn’t know you. If they hear that, they will know it’s a sales call and may hang up. DONT give your company name.  Start with something like, “Hello Paul, this is Nancy Calabrese…we don’t know each other.”


Ask permission to stay on the phone. Following your very brief introduction, the next step is to get the prospect to agree to give you a moment to speak. “I know you are busy. If you give me a brief moment, I’ll tell you why I’m calling.” Confirm with the prospect that it is OK to continue.


Introduction to what you do. Follow this with a simple statement the name of your company and what you do, specifically the problems you solve and why your customers buy from you. Find out if they are experiencing any of the same problems.


Turn the conversation around. Ask strategic questions about the issues the prospect is experiencing. Apply open-ended, thought provoking questions that will encourage the prospect to share important details about their business and issues. The more they talk, the more emotional they get.  Customers buy from emotion.  Our job is to uncover it.


Ask for a meeting. Suggest a meeting to determine if a there is fit for one another.  If their issues are deep enough, they will be willing to make an appointment.  If they are not, OR your message is not compelling, you may not get an appointment or they may blow you off entirely.


Make the appointment. Agree to the day and time and length of the meeting.


Summarize.  Touch on the agenda of the meeting. Agree to be honest and let you know if they feel your services are not a fit, and in kind, you will do the same.


Capture email and direct phone number.  This will enable you to send support materials, such as collateral or a questionnaire, in preparation for the meeting.


These steps will help increase your success rate, but be sure it doesn’t sound rehearsed. Take an honest interest in your prospect and the call will sound natural and you’ll have even better chance of success.