Charley is excited to explore this topic, as it arises from a question James had posed previously: whether having a sales team and appointments setting would be beneficial for his business.
Recognizing that many others may have similar questions or may be evaluating their existing sales teams, Charley aims to provide clearer understanding and point out the potential wins and pitfalls. Working closely with professional setters and closers for his clients, Charley has first-hand insights into the subject.
James and Charley will be defining setters and sales closers for the benefit of those new to the terms.
They’ll talk about the ways setters and closers go about their roles, and the ethics around impersonating business owners and using chatbot for sales.
And they’ll discuss how lead generation and appointment setting can work together to improve sales and conversions for a business.
Table of contents
1. Setting and closing defined
2. When someone else does the selling
3. Does it really take a phone call?
4. The role of your lead magnet
5. Choosing who to work with and how
6. The things you’ll want addressed
7. Getting people to work together
8. The mediums that convert
9. What pay arrangement are you looking at?
10. How do you control the quality of performance?
11. The first step Charley takes with clients
12. Is there any amount of bias?
13. Wrapping up the episode
Setting and closing defined
James thinks it’s a good idea to address first the listeners who have no idea what “setting” and “closing” are.
James gives an example of Instagram engagement, based on his own experience. When a person likes or comments on a post of someone famous, they often get a direct message appearing to be from that individual. This is, in fact, not them but a person from their team, referred to as a “setter”.
These setters engage potential clients, a technique often used by high-ticket coaches.
Charley provides some historical context, from the time when internet ads directed users to a contact page to initiate business. People would either call the number provided or fill out a form to get in touch. This method, while still effective for trades or contractors like plumbers today, has evolved over time.
Next came the era of webinars, wherein businesses would run ads, direct people to a webinar, and conduct business based on the attendees. This method, used by James and many of his students, was quite effective, surprisingly, when webinars were a less familiar concept. James even used to sell tickets for these webinars at prices ranging from $2,000 to $4,000.
Setters and closers are a current concept, a new way to convert sales, essentially the process of turning leads into business.
Setters, once a lead is generated, set the sales call through direct messaging, calling, or engaging within a Facebook group. The task of converting these engagements into actual sales falls on closers.
When someone else does the selling
Charley and James have their views on using alternate personas or representatives to sell products and services on platforms like Instagram.
Charley is openly uncomfortable with the falseness that can come with such practices, as it can damage trust early in sales conversations. James acknowledges this, reflecting on his own experiences – he successfully shifted from manning a live chat to letting his team handle queries via help desk, with the note that authenticity is key in these interactions.
Both methods, James found, yielded successful conversions. The caveat was that whoever operated the chat – be it James or a team member – must be able to sell and provide accurate answers.
Asynchronous communication, or communication that doesn’t occur in real time, actually gave the support desk an edge in that they could think out proper and accurate responses to tickets, providing much the same quality of communication as skilled live chat might, and optimizing conversions.
Both Charley and James stress their discomfort with deceptions such as pretending to be someone else during these interactions. They consider it a form of chicanery and have concerns about it being taught as a normal business method.
They touch on the use of automated emails and argue that while automation is acceptable, impersonation is not. Transparency is important. They do agree that using assistants to follow up, while revealing their identity, is acceptable.
Charley warns against violating the terms of service on various platforms by pretending to be someone else, which could result in losing personal profiles. Such deceit, he adds, could harm conversion rates in the long run.
Charley proposes using business pages or Facebook groups instead, ensuring that the interactions are genuine and authentic, which is crucial for building trust.
So how can businesses leverage the use of setters or representatives without risking authenticity? Charley advises making it clear who is contacting leads, not pretending to be someone they’re not. He also suggests using communication channels other than direct messaging, like calls, SMS, or emails, to diversify businesss’ communication strategies.
Does it really take a phone call?
Do most methods of contact through social media or direct messaging, usually involving a second opt-in, lead to a sales phone call, asks James?
Charley suggests that price point and brand power generally influence whether a phone call is necessary for a sale.
Charley says that higher-priced goods or services, usually in the range of $5,000 or more, are typically sold using a sales team that will reach out to potential customers. Products under $1,000, on the other hand, might be sold just via chat, especially if a strong brand power is present. For instance, someone like Elon Musk could sell a high-priced course with a simple tweet due to his immense brand power.
Our two experts also explore the importance of a double opt-in process for businesses that have a sales team reaching out to potential customers. This process ensures the customer is genuinely interested, and can help the sales team prioritize quality conversations with potential customers.
One challenge is the issue of overload, when a sales team cannot keep up with the lead generation. A single setter may become overwhelmed and start to make subjective decisions about who to contact. Having at least two setters allows for greater capacity as well as the comparison of performance and an opportunity for split testing.
The role of your lead magnet
Charley and James emphasize the importance of intent behind a lead magnet in generating leads. They give an example of two contrasting lead magnets: one offering a free iPad, and another promising to double one’s business in 90 days.
The type of lead magnet used can generate different levels of intent among potential customers and result in different kinds of conversations. For example, the iPad magnet may attract people who are only interested in the gadget, while the business growth magnet will likely attract people who have a business and are keen on scaling, leading to very different discussions with the sales team.
James and Charley also discuss the positioning of a lead magnet and how it can significantly influence the type of conversations a setter has with leads. They suggest that marketing a solution to a problem, such as losing weight, may generate more motivated leads than offering an improvement, like becoming one’s best self.
Different lead magnets produce different volumes and qualities of leads, which affects the effectiveness of the sales process.
James shares his own experience with weight loss, where the prospect of a six pack appealed less to him than lowering his biological age. He suggests it’s crucial to experiment with different offers and not rely solely on one approach.
Choosing who to work with and how
Charley shares how he works with multiple agencies, termed here conversion agencies, which provide setting and closing services.
In a new model of the selling process, businesses might not need a full-blown sales page anymore. Instead, they could use a piece of content like a video on social media to engage potential customers and then move them to a private chat.
James and Charley consider this new sales method as similar to using a bank app versus a teller – the methods have evolved, but the essential function remains the same. This approach, they believe, may be more cost-effective for some businesses, as it isn’t reliant on time-based events like webinars. Instead, it involves a sales team that can work round the clock or in various timezones.
This could be a potentially better opportunity for some businesses seeking greater return on investment (ROI).
Stacking or combining methods can work towards better returns. James cites an example of a client who uses webinars to garner interest, but also requires phone numbers upon booking. If a prospect fails to confirm or attend the webinar, salespeople reach out directly, resulting in a significant increase in sales and attendance.
Charley talks about clients who use a big challenge as a time-based event, but then utilize their setters and closers to guide attendees to another event or a Video Sales Letter (VSL). In combination with a marketing agency, businesses can strategize and make numerous plays in this area.
James mentions he gets daily pitches from setter and closer-type companies promising sales spikes. He notes the repetitive nature of their pitches and considers the possibility of training his own team instead.
He and Charley discuss the benefits of working with a traffic and conversion agency, as they would know the effectiveness of different suppliers. And Charley stresses the importance of coordination between different sides of a business for exceptional results, especially when using a setters and sales team along with an agency.
The things you’ll want addressed
The goal for a marketing agency, says Charley, should be to generate leads with the right intent, even if it costs more per lead. If a business employs setters and salespeople, it is crucial to provide them with high-quality ad leads that have a genuine likelihood of converting into business, rather than those who are just enticed by freebies.
Managing volume is critical. Charley compares a marketing agency to a dam, with setters the next level down and closers below that.
If the flow of leads (or water) isn’t controlled correctly, it could lead to complications. For instance, an uncontrolled influx of leads might overwhelm the setters, while a dearth of leads could leave them with no prospects. It’s also important to balance the ratio of setters to salespeople, as having too many of either could disrupt the process.
Regular communication is crucial to navigate these flow changes and ensure that there are enough leads of the right intent and from the right places.
One of Charley’s successful cases is a company called Sales Sniper. They excel in providing valuable feedback regarding where the most sales originate. This information allows the marketing team to target and generate more leads from these specific areas, creating a more efficient cost per sale. Such campaigns have a higher success rate, as opposed to campaigns where marketing and sales operate in silos or competitively.
Getting people to work together
Collaboration between marketing and sales teams is critical for a company’s growth. Unproductive finger-pointing between these two departments about lead quality and conversion rates can hinder progress. Instead, using the previously mentioned ‘dam’ analogy, fine-tuning lead intent and understanding what converts can spur real growth.
James suggests that analyzing successful sales tactics within the team can help enhance overall performance. If one salesperson, Freddie, for instance, is converting leads more effectively than another, Peter, it would be beneficial to study Freddie’s approach and share those best practices across the team.
The price of the product might necessitate different sales scenarios. For low-ticket products, it might only be necessary to employ a ‘closer,’ who could potentially handle sales via chat. On the other hand, a more expensive product might require an email ‘closer,’ who uses their copywriting skills to drive sales.
The mediums that convert
Various mediums can be used for setting and sales. Charley outlines some: phone calls, text messages, emails, and direct messaging on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Having access to multiple avenues can increase lead generation opportunities. For example, acquiring a lead’s name, email, and phone number provides two immediate methods of contact, and they could already be part of a Facebook group, presenting yet another pathway.
Charley talks about the value of split testing these different pathways, especially if there are multiple ‘setters’ and ‘closers’ on the team. By testing various methods, businesses can identify the most effective ways to convert leads.
Charley also emphasizes the power of strong branding, which can often do a lot of the ‘heavy lifting’ in the sales process.
James shares his experience with brand power and how he has seen its effectiveness in converting leads. He talks about using an “Ask James” button on his product page, where potential customers can reach out with questions. Through emails or brief phone calls, James can reassure customers and convert them without much difficulty.
Initiating conversations with potential customers, James believes, can improve the ‘setting’ process. He acknowledges the need for a more effective call-to-action in his marketing efforts.
There is enough brand equity in James’s business, however, that a minor change in strategy could yield significant results, something he wants to do ethically, with values in mind.
What pay arrangement are you looking at?
What kind of pay arrangement would be appropriate for closers and setters selling, say, a $10,000 product, with the business owner paying for ads? James mentions the previous methods he’s seen involved retainers, ad spend, or pay-per-lead models.
Charley responds that for a product with no established brand, the setting team would likely be larger due to a lack of trust in the brand. Closers and setters in such scenarios often work on commission, with some preferring a low base pay with incentives based on sales.
Charley also notes that marketing agencies often operate on a retainer or pay-per-lead basis. He says that the choice between models depends on the specific needs of a business, as both have their pros and cons.
For example, the pay-per-lead model can create an unbalanced relationship, with agencies potentially prioritizing the most lucrative opportunities. However, a retainer-based model ensures a set cost and allows for ad spend scalability.
And what should one should look for when engaging a marketing agency? Charley stresses it’s more critical to find an agency with a proven track record of success in similar business models than to focus on their charging method. He believes that the best agencies are those that can apply successful models to your business rather than experimenting and guessing.
How do you control the quality of performance?
James is a big believer in the value of performance-based pay, something he has used in his own work. Those who are skilled, he says, are often willing to be compensated based on performance because they are confident in their abilities.
However, James is aware of potential issues, such as salespeople who may exaggerate or push poor-fit clients to make a sale, and he questions how quality control is ensured in these instances.
Many companies, says Charley, address these concerns through “clawbacks” – taking back money if a deal goes sour. This is to protect the company from financial losses, which go beyond mere refunds to include marketing costs and sales commission. James agrees, adding that knowingly taking on a wrong-fit client is always detrimental. He also suggests that companies conduct audits or reviews of setters and closers to ensure the quality of their work.
Charley adds that, while many businesses appreciate the idea of commission-based pay due to its incentive structure, it’s crucial to hold employees accountable. Auditing is necessary to prevent the system from falling apart.
Charley also speaks about the financial risk he takes as a marketing agency owner, noting that he doesn’t have the same margins as a salesperson and so can’t rely solely on performance-based income.
Charley suggests business owners consider whether they can provide enough opportunities for salespeople to make a decent income. If the business can’t handle the capacity of clients a salesperson needs to make a living, it creates an unsustainable mismatch that is likely to fail. He reiterates that while aligning incentives is essential, it’s equally crucial to ensure there are enough opportunities for employees to benefit from them.
James shares the story of an affiliate marketing campaign gone awry when the company he was promoting couldn’t fulfill the volume of sales generated. This experience taught him the importance of balancing marketing and sales capacity, a lesson he carries into his current work.
He ends by asserting that even businesses without a well-known brand can leverage the services of marketing agencies to drive traffic and increase sales.
The first step Charley takes with clients
Charley describes the first step he takes when beginning to work with new clients, which involves conducting an audit or review of their current situation. This enables him to understand their needs and assess which strategies and tactics will be the most effective for them.
Charley emphasizes that not all solutions will be right for every client, and that honesty in this regard is crucial, both for maintaining a good client relationship and for the success of the recommended strategy. He further explains the significance of a thorough audit – by providing a clear understanding of a client’s current situation and potential strategies, it allows Charley to make appropriate recommendations based on their specific needs.
Charley strongly discourages a trial-and-error approach due to its high cost, especially with ads, and the large number of variables involved. Using an audit, he asserts, will shortcut the process and help the client achieve better results faster.
Is there any amount of bias?
James wonders if Charley’s relationships with various suppliers and setter and closer companies can create a bias in his recommendations. Might these deep relationships prevent Charley from making the best choices for his clients?
Charley reassures James that his ultimate priority is always the client’s best interests. As an example, he cites the case of one of his clients, with whom it was decided an internal team would be more beneficial than outside hires, due to their specialized niche.
In the context of marketers, Charley mentions his own realizations around being too invested in Facebook ads. There are risks, he says, in over-reliance on a single platform, due to the unpredictability and changeable nature of their policies. Knowing this, he had to adapt his strategies and embrace other platforms such as Google and YouTube.
Charley encourages the use of various platforms for their differing demographics and believes that a successful strategy on one platform has the potential to work well on others. He acknowledges it might be acceptable for a small business to be somewhat platform-centric initially; however, as it grows, diversity is needed to mitigate risks and maintain stability.
Wrapping up the episode
Charley’s explanation of the setter-closer model has given James a much clearer understanding of the process, its benefits, and potential pitfalls. He will be reaching out to Charley for an audit or review if he considers incorporating the model into his business.
James also shares his plans to initiate more conversations with his team and strategize around lead magnets, highlighting the positive impact they’ve seen from these efforts so far.
A a parting tip, Charley urges the audience not to dismiss the setter-closer model based on a single negative experience. He compares this to swearing off food after one bad meal and assures listeners that while there are people doing a poor job in every industry, it doesn’t mean the model itself is flawed.
If you’d like Charley to review your marketing strategy, check out ValherMedia.com/review.
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