You are making cold calls. You have picked up the phone and have reached a decision maker – NOW WHAT? What do you say to set an appointment?  

Here are four important things you need to say and do on a call with a prospect in order to actually set an appointment that will convert to a sale: 

  1. Build trust 
  1. Build credibility 
  1. Clarify and re-state their needs 
  1. ASK for their business 

Build Trust 

Let’s be honest, salespeople can get a bad rap. Past experiences with Snakeoil salesmen and people with less than virtuous intentions can make prospects reluctant to take calls from people they don’t know. Your first task, on any call, is to put them at ease and get them to TRUST you.  

Using positive words like “Good”, “Great”, “Wow” and “YES!” helps set the tone of the call and encourages them to trust you. But you MUST be GENUINE when using these or you will come off as insincere and salesy. 

Conversely, negative words can lead to mistrust. Always use the affirmative, stay upbeat and frame statements positively. Use “What would relieve some of the pressure you are under?” vs “What pressures are you under?” 

Salesy talk and high pressure selling tactics usually turn people off. You are there to HELP – make sure they know it! 

Build Credibility 

Include ‘Credibility Statements’ in your messaging. Establish your expertise and abilities in this area.  

What to say to get an appointment? Use phrases like: 

“Yes, we can definitely help you with that.” 

“Yes, we have helped others with this type of issue.” 

“Yes, we have years of experience with this.” 

Keep in mind that it is better to UNDER sell and OVER perform than to disappoint so be sure to set REALISTIC expectations. Over promising will set you up for failure. 

Saying “Yes, we are experts in such and such.” when you are not, MAY lead to an appointment but it may NOT lead to a sale.  

And needless to say, don’t use the words, ‘such and such’ – insert THEIR problem there! Which takes us to the next step… 

Clarify and re-state their needs 

Make sure you have been LISTENING so you understand their issue and their needs! 

Make sure you are ASKING GOOD QUESTIONS so you get the info you need to clarify their needs, their pain points and their timelines.  

Re-stating their issue and needs lets them know you are LISTENING to them – that you hear them and understand. Studies show conversion rates rise 80% when you restate needs! 

What to say to set an appointment? Incorporate phrases such as: 

“Please tell me more” 

“What I hear you saying is…” 

“You said XYZ, right?”  

Don’t worry about getting it wrong. As long as you are listening, are basically on the right track and you are in a conversation – not giving a soliloquy – they will most likely correct you and give you the opportunity to rectify your statement. Take that chance and use that opportunity to build a relationship with the prospect!   

And, most importantly, 

Ask for the Appointment! 

The next step is to ASK for the appointment! Ask the prospect to commit to the next step in the process. Only 13% of callers actually do this. Yes, it is scary – if they say no, the call could be over – but ASKING is the only way to move forward to get an appointment. Take the chance and make the ask! 

And if they say no, remember, a ‘no’ is a ‘no for now’. Put them in your hold file for a set period of time and move on. New prospects await and this one may be ready next time to you reach out to them!