Is Pay-Per-Appointment Telemarketing Worth It?

Are you thinking about hiring a call center that does pay-per-appointment telemarketing?

If your main telemarketing goal is to book appointments with prospects, then it may be a good idea to consider compensating your telemarketing provider on a pay-per-appointment basis.

There are beginning to be more and more call centers that offer pay-per-appointment (PPA) or similar pay-per-lead plans. There’s no doubt that you should consider this option if the purpose of your telemarketing efforts is only to book appointments with prospects.

If this isn’t what you’re looking for then it probably does not make sense for you to go down this road.

What is pay-per-appointment telemarketing?

It’s exactly what it sounds like. Instead of agreeing to a price for a full campaign beforehand — based on call volume, duration, and other factors — you simply agree to pay the vendor a fixed amount for every appointment they book for you.

Sounds perfect doesn’t it?

How much does a service like this cost?

We’ve heard of plans paying as little as $10 per appointment (really?) and as much as $2000 (holy smokes!), but most plans pay between $50 and $100 per appointment.

When you consider how much revenue an appointment can lead to, that sounds like a huge bargain — especially when you pay nothing for all the calls that don’t secure an appointment!

Can it really be that simple?

Here are some important questions that you should ask yourself:

How long-term are your goals?

What are you trying to achieve?

A pay-per-appointment plan is, by necessity, very short-sighted. Since the provider only gets paid when its agents book an appointment, that’s all they train their agents to do. If that’s all you want, then it might be a good match.

But what if you expect more from a telemarketing campaign?

What if your goals include:

• Lead development and qualification?

• Answering prospects’ questions?

• Database building and maintenance?

• Gathering market intelligence?

• Long-term branding?

All of those goals require professional, well-trained agents who can adapt on the fly and engage busy professionals in a productive conversation — agents focused on more than just nailing down an appointment.

What Do Your Prospects Think?

People who are paid to accomplish one goal pursue that goal as aggressively as they can. It’s human nature.

In a pay-per-appointment plan, agents will pursue appointments aggressively. Some of your prospects may appreciate this approach, but others are likely to be turned off by it.

Are you willing to turn off your prospects?

A call center with traditional pricing, on the other hand, is more interested in engaging your prospects, with classroom-trained agents, customized scripts, and multi-touch campaigns.

It’s not that they won’t campaign aggressively toward your goals. A top business-to-business call center can execute 30–50 targeted dials per hour and pitch between five and seven of them — quadruple what an average person can do. Is that aggressive enough for you?

Be Careful What You Pay For

Most pay-per-appointment call centers are reputable and honest. Still, before signing up for a plan, make sure you only pay for qualified appointments that actually happen. After all, an appointment with an unqualified prospect, or with someone who fails to meet you isn’t worth a dime, let alone $100.

Also, watch out for non-refundable “set-up” or “assessment” fees. And if a vendor asks to be paid in advance for appointments they haven’t booked yet, don’t walk away — run!

Booking appointments is a great goal for a telemarketing campaign. But it’s usually not the only goal. Ask us how a complete telemarketing campaign strategy can generate qualified leads and build long-term business — oh, and book appointments, too.

Post written by: Amy Schiller

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