Appointment Setting:To Qualify or Not to Qualify?

Appointment Setting - Qualifiers

Appointment Setting Qualifiers – When to use them? When not to use them?

Appointment Setting is like fishing. We have a target catch in mind, but do we keep any fish that jumps in the boat?

The answer to that question depends on your business. It depends on what type of clients you need. Either you know that, or you need to assess the market further to sort the nibbles from the bites.

The main division here tends to be one of size. Some businesses need appointments with big fish only. Some businesses want small businesses only. While other businesses can accommodate small, medium and large companies.

If you don’t yet know which of those divisions your business falls within, then it’s just a matter of pulling out all the stops and allowing the whole catch into your fishing bag.

If you are not sure, or believe that your business offering is suited to all business sizes – don’t qualify. Start out with no qualifier and assess each prospect at the appointment stage to determine the prospect business size that best fits your sales needs.

What are Appointment Setting Qualifiers?

Appointment Setting Qualifiers are questions that we ask the prospect to ascertain their level of suitability for lead generation purposes. Suitability depends entirely on the underlying business we are setting appointments for.

Qualifiers may be based on Revenue or Turnover. You would use a revenue based qualifier if your business requires appointments with businesses that turnover at least $2Mil each year.

Appointment Setting Qualifiers may be based on a minimum number of employees. You would use a employee number qualifier if you have determined that your business requires appointments with businesses that have at least 5 employees or no less than 50 employees.

Appointment Setting Qualifiers can also be more specific and “tighter”, depending on your specific lead requirements. You may require, for example, that all prospects are in a certain target industry, that every prospect has a large roof space, or whether each prospect already uses your type of software solution.

The variety of qualifier is as diverse as there are types of businesses out there.

When to use Appointment Setting Qualifiers?

Perhaps the most important question to ask your campaign is whether to qualify or not to qualify. It is a very important question which will determine much of the campaign’s success.

The easiest way to answer that question is that if you are not sure – don’t qualify. If you are not sure, just allow all appointments through the door and determine what qualifiers needs to be added to the process. If the prospect that you are meeting seem to be “too small” for your needs – then discuss a size qualifier like revenue or employee numbers. If the prospects that are small are still working for you, or at least are saying all of the right things – then perhaps you don’t need a size qualifier.

Other more specific qualifiers tend to be qualified more at the target list level. For example, if you only want plumbing businesses or brain surgeons that we’ll confine our calls to the target industry required.

If you open the stops and take through any willing appointment, then a few things must be considered. You need to keep in mind that each prospect should be assessed with questions to yourself like – are they big enough, do they have an interest in x, are they in the right industry space for us? The questions that need to be asked will solely depend on your particular needs. But, it is important to assess them because the only way you can shape the quality of the appointments set is by knowing who you want, assessing who you are actually seeing, and determining what we need to add or subtract from the current profile. Meaning that, if you can’t assess what is needed in each prospect to make them viable then who is driving the bus? If you don’t know where you are going, any route will get you there.

When not to use Appointment Setting Qualifiers?

Again, if you are not sure – don’t qualify. Let the star drag off (fishing esoterica lol) and allow the leads in, measure & assess, throw them back – and then determine the correct hooks, best bait, and where to throw the line in.

Avoid frustration about leads that are not correctly qualified. All leads are good if you can learn from them. You either win some or learn some.

If you are open to all kinds of businesses with all kinds of profiles and sizes, don’t qualify unless the need arises out of the process.

Google Adwords can be sold to just about anyone with a website, but cold storage facilities need to be sold into a much more specific target. So, it all depends on who you are and who you want to catch.

It must also be realised that qualifiers will reduce the overall number of actual appointments. The more you crunch the less you get. So, it follows that if you qualify then you also need to increase the ratio of qualified over non-qualifying leads at the list level. Meaning that if we qualify and keep using the same prospect list, the appointment booking rate will drop.

Qualifying introduces a new issue. If the quality of the appointments are not quite hitting the spot, then the need to qualify arises. When you then qualify, the appointment numbers may reduce. That may be ok if there is enough appointments that are fitting and the process takes off. But, if that then means that the reduction in appointment setting numbers is too great – even if they are better – the return on investment may start to suffer.

That brings us to the new question of list purchasing.

If a business is very open with regard to what businesses they can meet and do business with, usually publically available data will suffice to generate a good list. But, as soon as you need to qualify you may need then to purchase a list so that the ratio of qualified leads is higher – thus re-bolstering the appointment setting booking rate.

It’s a game of give and take with appointment setting qualifiers. If you crunch then you need to pull more upon your leads at the list level to insure a sustainable return on investment.

Justin Laju is the Principal at Appointment Setter.

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