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What Is Appointment Setting?

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  • Written By: M. Kayo
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2014
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Appointment setting is simply calling as many people as possible, qualifying them as a prospective customer, and asking them to set an appointment with a salesperson or representative. Professionals and businessmen do not want to waste time or money meeting people who have no intention of buying their product or service. These businesses rely on appointment setters to make sure that time is not wasted. Appointment setting starts by calling people whose names appear on a list of prospects and determining if a meeting is necessary to provide more information, make a sale, or follow up. Professional appointment setting services may provide one of the least expensive methods by which companies can generate leads and qualify potential customers.

Cold calling prospects may be one of the most challenging tasks for a business professional. Even though it can be difficult, these calls must be made in order for some businesses to be profitable. Professional appointment setters hold themselves out as cold calling specialists. They contact the people on a list that may contain hundreds or thousands of names. Skills necessary for this position include perseverance, friendliness, and persuasiveness. The appointment setter must also be able to handle any objections effectively. Most appointment setters work up to eight or more hours a day calling prospects, asking a few qualifying questions, and arranging a meeting for someone else to follow up.

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The actual process of appointment setting starts with a list of contacts and phone numbers. Using very broad qualifying criteria, hundreds of thousands of names can end up on this call list. Appointment setting specialists will then begin calling people on this list to determine if they meet more specific criteria. For example, an appointment setter who wants to set up meetings for a car insurance agent may ask questions about a prospective customer's auto insurance needs, the amount they pay in premiums, their driving habits, and if they want to save money. Since they may be paid more for actually setting up a meeting, appointment setting specialists will typically make a large number of phone calls in order to set as many appointments as possible.

Sometimes, businessmen may not have the skill to make effective cold calls to prospects or to generate leads. Hiring an appointment setting service frees up more time for salespeople to spend in face-to-face meetings with qualified prospective customers. These services can also help identify target markets and ideal customers and to develop cold calling scripts designed to appeal to the people on those lists. Many of these services provide detailed data on the number of calls made and leads created. When comparing the cost of these services to the time needed for generating leads and setting appointments, a professional service can provide a cost-effective solution for getting new customers.

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