A sales visit costs a lot of money and should be made only when certain criteria are met. Before then, leads need nurturing and developing until they are sales-ready. Pay-per-appointment is a bit like paying a mother child benefit only when her child reaches a certain goal – good GCSE results? – without caring about what needs to be done to get to that point.
When Lingo Telemarketing was born back in 2008, we made a firm decision not to offer pay-per-appointment services. We believed then, and still believe now, that we could not provide the high level of service that Lingo stands for when working in this way. We believe that appointments should be made when it is appropriate – and therefore cost effective – for the client. Other forms of communication are just as important in the sales process and, on pay-per-appointment terms, these will be ruled out.
If the only form of remuneration gained by a telemarketing company is for dates in the diary, there will be pressure to move away from what should be the real aim of the call – to begin a financially beneficial business relationship between client and prospect. Anything less is wasteful. By focussing purely on appointments, a telemarketer is likely to aim only for those they can contact first time, leaving many good potential contacts to go to waste. This is not building a pipeline of business, it is just a numbers game.
It is certainly appealing to pay just for ‘results’ but, before you are seduced, let me pose a few questions:
1. How much does it cost to send a sales person on a call?
2. Can you save enough on pay-per-appointment to recover this cost for any insufficiently qualified appointments?
3. What will be the impact on your sales people’s morale if they are regularly sent out to badly qualified sales calls?
4. How much is your brand worth? It can be damaged so easily by pushy, aggressive telemarketers focussed on the ‘prize’ of an appointment.
Sure, you can insist on appointments being qualified for Budget, Authority, Need and Timescale (BANT) but you don’t really find out until your sales person gets to speak to the prospect. If an appointment turns out to be insufficiently qualified, you can decline payment for that appointment, but you’ve already incurred the cost of a wasted sales journey.
As is often the case, it is less expensive in the long run to pay for a quality.