A Complete Guide to Appointment Setting Techniques

Written by Zach Litwiler / February 8, 2023 / 8 Minute Read
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Appointment setting is a cornerstone of successful sales strategies. But how can you make it truly effective? Learn proven techniques that secure appointments and position your business for success. From understanding your audience to leveraging technology, these methods ensure a robust sales pipeline and meaningful engagements.

Outbound Lead Generation

When searching for an appointment setting marketing company, smart business leaders consider how their services align with the needs of your business.

For your sales reps to succeed, appointment setters must work to generate leads, qualify leads, manage your sales pipeline, and always know when the best time to feed your team with high-quality leads.

One of the most important considerations when hiring and appointment-setting services is the company’s experience and track record of success in lead generation and cold-calling prospects.

These subsets of outbound marketing are clear indicators of how successfully the appointment-setting calls and campaigns will operate. Most importantly, ensure that the marketing company you hire offers market research, list building, and continuous training.

At Valve+Meter Performance Marketing, our business development representatives (BDRs) are driven by time-tested techniques, cutting-edge tactics, and a genuine desire to apply data to improve the appointment-setting process.

Our team of BDRs operates as an extension of your business, providing prospecting efforts and securing appointments for your sales teams to finalize the sales process. All of the work we execute includes clear reporting and transparent data for our partners.

Many businesses, including other marketing companies, often inquire about the best appointment-setting tips. Like all performance marketing strategies, Valve+Marketing offers no magic formulas.

Instead we are constantly testing, measuring, and adapting our appointment-setting techniques based on metrics. Some core techniques are proven effective in earning more appointments and reaching more qualified prospects.

Exploring how math before marketing strategies apply to these efforts mutually benefits our clients, competitors, and emerging appointment-setting professionals.

Primary Techniques for Securing Appointments with a Potential Buyer

Outbound lead generation is a unique skill set. Many sales teams immediate goal is to close sales using persuasive language and an advanced sales pitch. This overlooks that many decision makers’ initial purchase is time.

Appointment setters use a branded introduction and a helpful tone to demonstrate a solution to a specific paint point. New prospects who have never heard of your brand, products, or services will not respond to an elevator pitch. The role of an appointment setter is to generate interest and sell the sales appointment.

Business development representatives use various techniques to generate leads and set sales appointments within the appointment-setting process. Within each of these primary techniques, there are nuanced tactics that separate great appointment setting from typical sales representative efforts.

Cold Calling

A powerful tool in all lead generation is outbound calling. This tactic involves reaching out to potential customers to make an introduction and demonstrate the value proposition.

The best cold-calling techniques generate enough interest for the decision maker to agree to more meetings. When you create a branded message catered to your ideal audience, calling only needs a few sentences to connect with your audience.

Email Marketing

Respect your prospect’s time with a precise subject, a clear introduction, and a distinct closing sentence where you request the appointment. Many email marketing campaigns falter when sales teams and designers muddy the message.

For a decision maker to open a cold call email, you must solve the pain point in the subject. You can add links after your sales pitch for the more discerning prospect. Customers trust user reviews, so including these is effective.

You can also build a landing page that includes longer demonstrations of how your product or service solves the problem of your ideal prospects. A landing page can also share examples of your brand in the marketplace and a call to action to set an appointment.

Above all else, email marketing must argue there is a genuine need for your brand. The right prospects will respond to clear messaging.

Keep emails simple and execute the campaigns using proven tactics, including sending at the right time and day of the week and executing iterations based on prospects’ actions, such as opening, clicks, and non-opened.

There is extensive data available in even the simplest email marketing platforms to form a consistent schedule. Of all appointment-setting tips, adaptation is the most important skill to learn.


Social media, events, conferences, and peer groups are fertile grounds for securing appointments. Meeting a business owner or decision-maker is extremely common through networking.

The best sales appointments emerge from these interactions. The best appointment setters always have a value statement at the ready. You have a few minutes to make an impression when you meet qualified leads. The ultimate goal of networking is to build relationships.

The most effective strategy is not to focus on delivering the entire elevator pitch. With the right attitude and powerful message, you can sell time.

Without using pressure tactics, you can ask for the first appointment by asking for a convenient time and specific date. Charm and tact are key to landing appointments.

Business development specialists never focus on closing deals. They approach networking like cold calls: introducing, demonstrating value, and asking for sales appointments.

Social Media Marketing

Every platform offers your sales team a chance to stand out. Social media is no exception. The marketplace is crowded with other outbound campaigns.

Short, creative, and clear messaging is vital to social media. If you can attract prospects, then setting appointments is possible.

Social media is very helpful for retargeting prospects. Appointment-setting techniques must meet your potential buyer where they are most active. Like the mailbox, social media can discover new businesses with creative tactics.

Social media is where many professionals build rapport. The properly branded messaging helps to capture enough interest to connect with leads. Like with all tactics, be prepared to ask new prospects for a few minutes and concisely offer a more thorough presentation within a sales appointment.

Referral Generation

Customer testimonials are the most powerful marketing tool for your business. Sales reps thrive on repeat business but often struggle to nurture relationships. Business development representatives have unique training and inert talent at building rapport and prospecting efforts.

Within the list of appointment-setting tips, the most obvious is asking qualified prospects, existing clients, and peers for referrals.

Direct Mail

Despite your sales team doubting this old marketing method, direct mail is a powerful tool. Using technology to research your target audience and finely hone your prospect list, direct mail is creative, effective, and persuasive. There will always be a market for the glossy double-sided flier, but direct mail has evolved.

Branded gifts and unique packaging help to demonstrate your brand’s value to prospects. If your packaging stands out, your message will likely reach the key decision-maker.

Appointment Setting Tips for Every Outbound Marketing Strategy

Beyond the broad tactics, the goal of appointment setting within each strategy can be planned. From the initial call to closing deals, the most effective technique will depend on your business’s specific industry, target market, and goals.

The professionals at Valve+Meter use a combination of various strategies and techniques to maximize our lead-generation efforts.

Cold Calling Appointment Setting Techniques

Appointment setters must be skilled in verbal and written communication. Appointment-setting calls and emails can be a highly effective way to generate leads and set appointments, but it requires skill and preparation to do it well.

  1. Scripting: Like before a sales call, cold calls should have an interesting introduction, a strong focus on solving the prospect’s problems, and a prompt call to action. A well-written script and rehearsal sessions help anticipate and overcome objections.
  2. Qualifying the lead: Without using pressure tactics, representatives determine who are the decision makers, where the prospect is located in the sales funnel, and whether they are a good fit for your business.
  3. Building rapport: An appointment setter is often the first contact between your brand and prospects. Every successful cold call greets prospects with a friendly, professional tone. Handling objections also demands listening to the prospect and speaking directly to their questions. Finding common ground leads to more deals and greater rates of success.
  4. Data tracking: An appointment setter should keep track of the calls made, the leads generated, and the appointments set. Technology guides have made assessing data across multiple channels simple. Metrics help to adapt, fine-tune and improve results.

Email Marketing Appointment Setting Techniques

Email marketing is an extension of your outbound prospecting campaigns. More deals are generated through highly planned and well-executed email campaigns than most phone calls. Technology allows clear insight into the performance and behavior of prospects.

  1. Ideal buyer persona: Appointment setters carefully research to build an email list. Regarding complex products and services, prospect lists are often segmented to deliver customized strategies to different audiences.
  2. Personalize the email: Each audience should receive personalized subject lines and content. Testing different subjects, introductions, and other parts of an email can yield data to adapt and improve.
  3. Strong call-to-action: The email should not make a prospect uncomfortable but must include a clear call-to-action. Lead generation is only effective when you close with an invitation to set appointments.
  4. Use Technology: Email automation can increase performance over any call-only strategy. This includes personalizing messages, optimizing delivery times, A/B testing, iteration scheduling for follow-up strategy, and tracking data.

Social Media Appointment Setting Techniques

Many outbound prospecting techniques can be applied to social media. Data drives best practices on these channels. In setting appointments, you must always focus on adding value to a prospect’s business. There are two key concepts to embrace in social media marketing:

  1. Consistent Message: You should target as many relevant channels to your brand in social media. While each platform is unique, you should always present a consistent core message of adding value and solving problems. Outbound marketing in social media is unique because you must stand out.
  2. Reinforce Value Proposition: Promoting a sales appointment on social media is time sensitive. Social media messaging can be disruptive and amplified even more than other outbound tactics. Urge prospects that your product or service is worth their attention through creativity and breaking from the mainstream.

Networking Appointment Setting Techniques

Attending networking events is most effective when you plan and act upon your objective. Networking is a powerful way to generate leads and set appointments by building trust and earning personal recommendations from peers. The most important thing to remember is networking is a strategy with clear techniques for success.

  1. Identifying the right events: Value your time by researching the best business events to attend. Research the most relevant industry events, including trade shows, industry conferences, and even small meetups.
  2. Preparing in advance: While you may not need to write a script as you would on the phone, practicing with peers is valuable. Knowing the attendees and the agenda is more likely to make specific connections and earn more appointments. If you can share examples of the topics and how your brand solves a genuine need, the right prospects will give you time.
  3. Staying organized: Track all contacts so you can properly execute follow-up. Focus on the names, interests, and objections of your prospects. If you can follow up with clear knowledge, you will distinguish yourself from competitors.
  4. Continuously improving: Networking can always be improved. Continuously evaluating the data to learn from experience will help you grow. The key to networking is to understand the core proposition that you are present to demonstrate your brand and earn sales appointments.

Referral Generation Appointment Setting Techniques

Sales teams ask for referrals when a client loves your product or service. Often this is executed with cold and impersonal automation. Appointment setters who execute personalized referral generation techniques are likelier to earn more appointments.

  1. Asking for referrals: Customer testimonials are invaluable to growing a brand, but many appointment setters fail to ask for referrals. At the close of a successful appointment, simply asking the question is likely to gain results. If you have solved a genuine need for your customer, they are often eager to recommend your product or service.
  2. Building relationships: Follow-up communication is crucial to earning future sales and generating referrals. Appointment setters build trust and credibility with their customers during outreach, so customers will likely recommend your brand to their peers.
  3. Thanking and recognizing: Customers trust user reviews, but often brands do not take the time to acknowledge a referral. Great appointment setters provide gratitude, incentives, and even gifts if a new prospect is generated from an existing client. Every referral is valuable, but recognizing your customers is more likely to generate even more leads. Essentially, you have converted a customer into a sales prospector.

Direct Mail Appointment Setting Techniques

Like social media, direct mail can stand out from the stack. Planning a direct mail campaign should be just as precise as the other strategy used by appointment setters. If you send a postcard like everyone else, you are likely to get the same results, flowing into the trash bin without a glance.

  1. Standout from the pile: Unique gifts, packages, and shapes are expensive for a reason. If you research and know your audience, you don’t need to send an entire zip code direct mail. Every mailbox is packed with the same types of solicitation. Effective direct mail looks and feels different.
  2. Stay on message: A fancy package may catch the attention of a prospect but your message must be exact. State the pain point, demonstrate your solution, and provide a clear call to action.
  3. Use Technology: Your research will rely on technology, as should your direct mail pieces. Technology like QR codes allows prospects to take action quickly. No matter how creative your direct mail campaign is, you only momentarily keep a prospect’s attention. Technology that drives leads to a landing page or even inbound content generates a cycle.
  4. Follow-up: Tracking phone numbers and landing pages through direct mail allows for retargeting and additional outreach. Always use data to drive your actions.

Outsourcing Appointment Setting

Most in-house marketing teams specialize in building sales reps and training on closing deals. Adding outbound marketing specialists like appointment setters can be extremely expensive.

Many business leaders benefit from partnering with a team of marketing experts to save money and expedite campaigns. More notably, these roles are not always permanent and often seasonal.

For businesses that are growing, launching a new product or service, or trying to invigorate their sales pipeline, outsourcing sales appointment-setting services to Valve+Meter is highly effective. Our team of experts can quickly execute campaigns as an extension of your sales teams and feed your salespeople the high-quality leads you need.