7 Best Practices for Phone Prospecting and Sales Appointment Setting

by | Aug 12, 2020 | Lead Management, Sales Strategy, Sales Tips

“No one picks up.”

“It’s a dead end.”

With the rise of data-driven prospecting and digital outreach in the development sphere, a rumor went around that phone prospecting was dead.

Yet, successful development teams still leverage phone prospecting for sales appointment setting. Why?

The Facts on Phone Prospecting

Well, they know the facts. Phone prospecting methods evolved, leveraging data, and digital tools to modernize this impactful communication tool. Studies show:

  • 69% of buyers accepted one or more cold calls in 2019
  • More than 80% of buyers said they set sales appointments as a result of multiple contacts that started with a cold call
  • Almost half of buyers say cold calls are their preferred first contact
  • 57% of C-suite executives report they value information gained from phone calls with reps

Seem like the sales call is alive and well. It’s all about how you leverage it.

1. Start with a qualified lead

Here’s where data comes into play. Though still known as “cold calls,” initial sales calls shouldn’t be cold at all. The information gained from your marketing automation drip campaigns and CRM equips you with background knowledge you can use to build a relationship right away.

2. Use multiple outreach tactics

While the prospecting call is very much alive, it can’t do the job on its own. Sales calls should be one part of a multi-pronged outreach strategy. Content sharing, email, and social media outreach are all elements of what makes up a professionally persistent, data-driven outreach strategy.

3. Practice discovery

Approach all your conversations with a sense of discovery. Your goal is to learn more about the prospect and their needs. The more you know, the better you can tailor your solution to meet their needs, increasing the likelihood of a sale. Use every opportunity to find out more about your lead, including countering possible “no’s” with discovery questions like, “What are you looking for that you’re not seeing?” or “What’s holding you back?”

4. Focus on the prospect

Stay focused on the call and the prospect’s needs at all times. That means eliminating distractions: close your door, sign out of email and social networking, and consider wearing headphones to block out other noise.

Show your commitment to the conversation by saying the prospect’s name often, smiling, and leaving room for them to talk. Over 60% of individuals surveyed said a salesperson who listens to their needs is more likely to win their business.

5. Follow-up with something useful

Always follow-up after a conversation to re-cap what you talked about, confirm your next communication (whether a call, something you’ll email, or a meeting), and add in something they can use. That “something useful” could be an eGuide, Fast Fact Sheet, demo promo code, or any other content that provides more information. This “freebie” gives them something concrete to reference as they contemplate their decision, and it shows you care more about their success than making a sale.

6. Leverage team training

Too often, salespeople are told they either have “it,” or they don’t. While there is some element of natural ability and interest, successful salespeople grow from coaching and training.

Know the strengths and weaknesses of your team and leverage training to fill in your gaps. Be realistic with new hires, telling them the processes may feel uncomfortable at first but that their confidence will grow. Establish mentorship and coaching, letting timid team members sit in on calls with experienced members. And, have a consistent feedback loop for all team members, ensuring each has someone to consult to assess growth and celebrate successes.

7. Review and improve

As with all successful systems, you need to review and improve your phone prospecting strategy continuously. Look at how certain cadences are performing, make updates to scripts, and adjust your training as needed to keep yourself on an upward trajectory.

If you’re scratching your head on how to improve – or where to start – the experts at NuGrowth can help. Our CRM management services, custom go-to-market campaigns, and targeted tactic group outreach are crafted to fill pipelines and convert leads. Through proven outreach methodologies and honed training tactics, the veterans at NuGrowth are poised to improve your development systems and processes for success – today and for years to come.


Activate your business development advantage today – contact us at 614.304.3916 or visit us online today.