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4 Common Misconceptions About Appointment Setting

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

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Appointment setting can be a challenging task, but it is vital for customer acquisition and increasing your ROI.

In this article, we go through the various misconceptions related to appointment setting and the truth behind them, so we can help you to improve your appointment setting strategy.

Appointment Setting is Simple

Some may consider setting appointments an easy task and believe the appointments will come naturally, or that it’s as simple as picking up the phone and booking an appointment on the first interaction. It would be fantastic if that were the case, but unfortunately, if you want to generate fully qualified appointments with relevant prospects that are likely to convert, it takes a lot more effort.

There are a few major components that are key to developing a successful appointment setting strategy.

The first is your pitch. Delivering a poorly worded, pushy, and awkward pitch is going to destroy your chances of securing an appointment, and if your pitch is unclear, any appointment that you do secure may not be fully relevant and the prospect may not understand what you are offering.

Developing a script that sounds natural, keeps the conversation flowing, and uses open questions, will make your interactions with your prospects a lot more valuable and you should be able to gather all of the information necessary to qualify the prospect, answer any of their questions, and then discuss a suitable time for an appointment if they are interested.

The second is resources. What many businesses fail to realise when running an appointment setting campaign inhouse, is that it can take more than just a phone, a list of prospects and a few hours to generate worthwhile business opportunities.

You need to ensure that you have a compliant data list that is rich with information to help you learn about your prospects and segment them according to your strategy, you need a well-structured CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to keep track of each prospect and your interactions, and you need enough staff to carry out the activity without it impacting your operational efficiency – and of course, the budget to acquire all of it! All of this is why many people choose to outsource their appointment setting to a professional agency.

The final key component is persistence. Depending on your target market, it can be a very rare occurrence to secure a fully qualified appointment on the first interaction. Some opportunities may require more nurturing, if your offering is contract-based you may need to wait until a prospect is closer to the end of their current contract to engage again, and larger opportunities will have to go through various departments within their organisation to gain approval before agreeing to an appointment.

Being persistent and re-engaging when the time is right will help to keep your offering fresh in your prospect’s minds, build rapport, and ultimately lead to securing more appointments and creating long-lasting business opportunities.

Team working together to produce the best results

Sales Teams Should Be Booking Appointments

Due to appointment setting being primarily related to a business’ sales process, many SMEs choose to delegate their appointment setting activities to their sales team, believing that having their salespeople on the phone, interacting with prospects, will be the most effective approach.

Although they may be skilled at selling your offering and the appointment you are looking to secure, is having your sales team stuck in the office, prospecting on the phones all day, the best use of their time? Wouldn’t you much rather they be out on the road, attending appointments with potential clients, focused on closing deals rather than searching for them?

Hiring experienced telemarketers to run your appointment setting strategy in-house can help to free up your sales team’s time and get them out of the office doing what they do best, closing qualified opportunities.

However, building an entire in-house telemarketing team isn’t just a difficult and time-consuming task, it’s also very expensive when factoring in salaries, sickness/absence, pensions, and other staff overheads. Therefore outsourcing your appointment setting strategy can help to increase the quality and quantity of your appointments, free up your sales team’s time, and is far cheaper than developing an in-house telemarketing team.

A sales team being productive and checking things off a list

Going Cheaper Will Maximise Profits/ROI

As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.

Some businesses that are heavily restricted by their budget, often choose to go with the cheapest external appointment setting service that they can find. They often believe that with the campaign costs being cheaper, if the results are good, the campaign profits and ROI (Return on Investment) will be far greater.

With the cheapest appointment setting services, you get what you pay for. Any appointment leads or appointments that they set may not be fully vetted or matched to your qualification criteria. This leads to many awkward situations where you turn up to a meeting with a prospect who has very little interest, need, or the budget to proceed – which is not only a waste of your time and money but also reflects badly on your business for not fully-qualifying your appointments.

With agencies that charge on a Pay-Per-Lead/Appointment rate, even if you choose the lowest priced agency, you may end up at their mercy and could be charged a considerable amount if they keep pushing through large numbers of appointments, all of which could have an abysmal conversion rate due to their low quality.

On the other hand, going for the agency that charges the most is no guarantee of results or quality either. You may be charged a considerably higher rate for a campaign that yields low-quality or quantity results. Meaning sometimes, you don’t get what you pay for.

When looking for an external agency to take the hassle of appointment setting off your hands, you should base your decision on the company that is the best fit, the company that understands your offering, the audiences you want to reach, and what you want to achieve, rather than which agency is the cheapest or the most expensive.

Set of scales with money on one side and an appointment on the other

All Appointment Setting Agencies are the Same

Over the years, we’ve spoken to a lot of businesses that have said: “We tried outsourcing our appointment setting before, and the company didn’t know what they were doing, so we haven’t looked at it since.”. Of course, a bad experience is going to make you more sceptical of outsourcing, but a bad experience with one agency shouldn’t put you off working with others.

If your car started having problems, and you took it to a garage who attempted, but failed, to fix it, would you keep driving around in that potentially broken car, refusing to take it to any other garage because the first one you chose couldn’t fix the problem? No, would take it to another garage that has the experience to fix the problem.

The same thing goes for your appointment setting strategy!

Each agency that offers appointment settings services will have different levels of experience, will take different approaches, and will provide different results. It’s important when looking to outsource, to research different agencies to learn more about their experience and expertise in your industry, what results they have delivered to other businesses similar to yours, and even what their company values are.

An agency’s experience and approach aren’t the only aspects to look at, the pricing model is also very important.

Pay-per-lead/appointment models are one of the longest-standing pricing structures in the appointment setting & lead generation space, but does that mean it’s the best? With the pay-per-lead/appointment model, the focus is typically on the appointment quantity rather than quality, meaning you may receive a large number of appointments, but they may not be the right fit for your business and will have a low conversion rate.

Most experienced agencies aren’t using the pay-per-lead/appointment model to avoid being associated with low-quality agencies that are simply focused on generating as many opportunities as they can, regardless of their quality, to ramp up your campaign costs.

For example, here at River, our campaigns are run on daily rates. These daily rates cover everything from dialling time to data acquisition and software subscriptions, with no hidden costs later on. Our core belief is that the key to successful business development and growth is through the quality of opportunities, not just the quantity, which is why all the appointments that we provide are fully-BANT qualified to ensure their quality.

Each agency is different, and when looking to outsource, it’s important to find the agency that has the right experience, approach, values and beliefs, and pricing model that best fits your business and what you want to achieve.

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