I received a call last week from an “Appointment Setter.” Real term.

She was calling to set an appointment with one of their salespeople and claimed that this company and its services could produce incredible results in the “government contracting space.” I told the “Appointment Setter” that I would be happy to take a call from them if they could first produce customer references and/or case studies supporting their success in my industry.

I thought that was reasonable request.

A couple days passed and a random appointment from a random person showed up in my email. Confused and of course not knowing who the person was, I declined the appointment. A few hours later I received an email from the salesperson explaining the call from the appointment setter and asking to reschedule the appointment. I expreseed my confusion and told him what I told the appointment setter: “Show me references and case studies.”

A few more days went by, and I received a capability statement that actually had some real results on it. It was hard for me to discern how they were able to help their customers procure these contracts, but the results were real enough for me to express interest in a conversation. The door was opened. But I started to think about the events leading up the capability statement and the back and forth with the salesperson, and really, the need for an appointment setter. I wondered why the salesperson just didn’t make the initial call, especially if they had specific information that would get me interested in their offering. Why have an “Appointment Setter” call? (Apparently it’s an art form. Check out this Google search. There’s even a book.)

Now that I have an interest in the company and how it could help ours, I can’t help but think of the saved time and frustration on both sides if the salesperson just called me directly. I would been more willing to engage their service from the start.

I understand the role of the appointment setter, and know a few people who use them. But the time saved by an appointment setter for the seller is lost on the buyer. If you’re a seller, just make the cold call.

Andy Frank, UDig COO