Appointment Setting at the C/VP Level

Updated: September 21, 2009

One of the biggest challenges that sellers face is how to get the time of a C-Level prospect inside big companies - how to set an appointment with that VP or CxO that we know is the perfect prospect.

There are typically four channels available to achieve this:

  • Sales rep can set meetings on their own
  • Sales rep can use network contacts to open the door for them
  • Sales rep can have an inside sales team set meetings
  • Sales rep can have an appointment setting firm set meetings

All four methods work. It really depends on how the rep's company has setup their demand gen programs and how the rep wants to operate. Inside sales departments and appointment setting vendors specialize in providing the lead generation activity and the appointment setting expertise to identify, qualify and secure the meetings.

But what if the seller has to or wants to do the work on his own.
Here are a few tips from the experts:

  • Work from a good list, and as soon as you get a direct dial or email address, don't ever lose it.
  • Persist. Dial whenever you have 5 minutes. Dial your hottest list of prospects--add the numbers to your speed dial. They eventually pick up.
  • Work with admins. Most execs still use them and contrary to popular belief, they are NOT gatekeepers unless you put them in that role.
  • Don't over-sell on the first phone call or email. If you get that short opportunity to communicate with the prospect, your only goal should be to get a meeting.
  • At first, try not to let them push you off with a request to send information, or a referral to another colleague. These are just natural instincts to brush you off. If you can't recover though, sending info or delegating the meeting is acceptable.
  • Bring value to the call. You only have a few minutes. Be respectful of their time. hare your value, then ask one or two questions, and make sure they lead to your goal

Here's a dialog example that should clarify the above points.

State your purpose, "I'm calling to see if we might get together to talk about..." Then state your benefit in a simple statement, "the ROI my company has been bringing to companies like yours..." Ask a leading question, "What is your company doing in this area right now?" Listen. Then ask for the meeting, "...interesting. I really believe a conversation could be valuable, especially given what you just told me. Are you available in the next couple days for a formal call?"

Don't get dragged into a rat hole If the prospect pushes you for a pitch, or asks a question that is more than a couple minute phone call can handle, reply with:

"That's a good question, and yes we do (fill in the short answer), but to really address that topic it would take more than the few minutes you have here and I want to be respectful of your time. Would you be available in the next week or two for a short meeting?"

In Summary: Hello. Short pitch with value. Ask a leading questions. Ask for the meeting. Repeat. Good luck!

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