Once prospects express an interest in your product, how do you get them to take the next step and show up at your store?
By working with your call center to set up an effective appointment-setting process that becomes a high-volume, low-maintenance, efficient machine for turning prospects into paying customers.
How the process works
Get contact information
The first step is to get interested consumers to provide their contact information—especially their phone numbers. You can do this by asking them to fill out a form on your website, enter a contest, download information, send in a coupon or BRC, or any other way that works to get their number. Provide the numbers to your call center.
Call the prospects
Your call center feeds the phone numbers into an auto-dialer, which really kicks up the volume of calls and makes it possible to call prospects several times in order to reach them.
Sell the offer or the product expert
When agents reach a prospect, they get on the phone to make an appointment for the prospect to come into your store. The agent at this point is not selling the product—he or she is selling the offer or the product expert the prospect will meet with at the store. For that reason, agents need to be able to “speak your brand” and express the brand personality on the call, but they do not need to be product experts themselves. They make it clear that they’re setting up an appointment with the expert, which is a key incentive for the prospect to accept the appointment. Other incentives can be a free quote or other giveaway.
Qualify the prospect
The agent qualifies the prospect with a series of questions that will determine if an appointment is in order. The information gathered will also be useful to the in-store expert at the appointment.
Calendar the meeting
Using a centralized, real-time, Web-based calendar shared by all agents on the account and by all your physical locations, agents set up an appointment for a specific time and specific location.
Confirm the appointment
Before the appointment, the call center sends a confirmation message by auto-responder or email that confirms the appointment, includes a confirmation number, and has a store locator link so the customer can easily find where to go for the appointment. In addition, the store the prospect will be visiting should make a follow-up call to confirm.
Update your database
Not all conversations with prospects will result in appointments, of course, but each conversation with a prospect still gathers important information that can be used to cleanse your database and update fields with new contact information and other useful sales intelligence.
Generate CRM-compatible reports
As they make calls, agents will complete reports to be sent to the client that include a range of information, including “refusal codes,” that is, the reasons prospects declined to make an appointment. It’s important that the reports match as closely as possible input fields in the client’s CRM system so that a minimum of manual intervention is required to get the information into the client’s system.
Use consumer insight to modify marketing
You can analyze the reports to get insights into why prospects aren’t ready to buy. Use those insights to modify marketing campaigns, product positioning and features, even brand image in order to address issues and appeal to a wider range of consumers.
Marketers can precisely calculate the ROI for an appointment-setting program. Because they know what they’re paying the call center per hour, marketers can calculate how much they’re paying per appointment and even per conversion.
Tips for Success
Increase the chances for success by making sure your call center follows these tips for your appointment-setting program:
- Training—Produce videos and manuals to train the call center agents in the process and how to sell the expert or offer that’s the motivation for accepting an appointment. Set up a procedure for experienced agents to coach newer agents.
- Marketing—Drive leads into the appointment-setting machine with effective marketing campaigns that motivate consumers to give you their contact information.
- Lists—Ensure the leads on your call list are as warm as possible—ideally, an agent should call prospects the same day they provide their contact information, if possible. Be sure to scrub your list by checking it against Do Not Call lists.
- Auto-Dialer—Use an auto-dialer to greatly increase the number of calls the call center is able to make. Keep in mind that you’ll probably need to call prospects several times before getting them on the phone.
- Scripts—Write scripts that include key talking points, but encourage agents to be flexible, adapt to the prospect, and keep the tone conversational rather than scripted.
So give it a try. An appointment-setting machine like this can help you move prospects through the sales process more quickly, boost your conversion rate, and make a big difference in hitting your sales goals.