What is the definition of a conversation?

Appointment setting is a business process; a tough one, but just another business process to monitor, measure, analyze and improve. The process is measured using two simple ratios: one for efficiency and one for effectiveness.

  1. To measure Efficiency – The ratio of conversations (C) generated to the number of dials (D) made; commonly called the ‘Conversation Ratio.
  2. To measure Effectiveness – The ratio of appointments (A) set to the number of conversations (C) generated; commonly called the ‘Appointment Ratio.’

If you want unassailable accuracy in these metrics, you must have a clear definition of Conversation. Since the Conversation element is part of both ratios, it is essential that the caller and managers are using the same definition for what should be counted as a conversation – and what should not be counted. 

The simple rules to identify a 'conversation' are these:

  1. You spoke with the person who you want to make the appointment. Typically, this is called the decision maker (DM) even though they might not be the final, or only voice in becoming your customer, they are the right path into the target company. 
  2. You had the conversation you wanted. I know, the conversation you wanted would have ended in an appointment; but, for the purposes of measuring the process we must accurately measure the number of ‘real conversations’ that did not turn into an appointment.

The 'conversation you wanted' requires that you select what that means to your team. There are three outcomes when a decision maker answers the phone that could be used to define the 'conversation you wanted.'

The DM answers the phone and I deliver my opening script, then:

1. The DM says nothing, just hangs up on me. Basically, they answer the phone.

2. The DM says, "I am happy now" (or any of the common initial reactions we hear) and hangs  up on me. Basically, they give me an answer that I can put in my notes.

3. The DM says, "I am happy now" (or any of the common initial reactions) and I use my skills technique to respond. Basically, I get a chance to respond to them at least once.