How to Handle Inbound vs. Outbound Appointment Setting

Appointment setting happens one of two ways. Inbound calls become appointments if the prospect calling believes that their inquiry was handled well and that the business they are approaching is a good fit. Outbound calls lead to appointments when the lead is looking for what the business offers, and the business is able to convince the lead that it can meets its needs.

Since inbound and outbound appointment setting calls both have the same objective, you might believe they should be handled the same. After all, the only real difference is who is picking up the phone and making the call. The fact is, however, that these calls are very different, and the difference comes down to one important factor: motivation.

Inbound appointment setting means that a prospect is motivated to act. This means you need only to take advantage of this motivation if you want the caller to set an appointment. Provided you don’t say anything that turns the caller off and you handle any questions well, an appointment is practically guaranteed.

Outbound appointment setting calls are, of course, considerably more challenging but that doesn’t mean that they have to be less successful. The key is to help outbound prospects move from neutral to positive.

The best way to do this is to make the appointment relevant to the prospect. Let them know how this appointment will ultimately benefit their business. In other words, inbound callers are already motivated to set an appointment whereas prospects who are receiving an outbound call need motivation to be created for them.

So how can that be accomplished? First off, although it may be considered cold calling, that doesn’t mean you have to go in cold. Do your research and make sure that you know all that you can about the business you are contacting. Once you do that, you need to understand how to communicate to the prospect that your business provides the products and services they need.

Second, take off your sales hat. You are trying to set appointments, not convince anyone to buy anything. Your call should provide the right incentive to want to hear more. Remember, at this point prospects are just starting their journey through the sales funnel. Rush them and you won’t get past this first step!

Finally, admit it if outbound appointment setting isn’t your (or your sales team’s) forte. This doesn’t mean you should give up on outbound appointment setting, it just means you are probably better off outsourcing these calls to a business to business telemarketing firm. This is hardly admitting defeat. Rather, it is choosing to do what is best for your business and increase the number of appointments set.


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