Million Dollar Idea: Sales Appointment Setters!

The Niche CEO Summit, held in Phoenix last month, was packed with growth strategies from niche publishing CEOs nationwide and in all markets. We’re sharing the best ideas with you in our new Million Dollar Idea feature. (Check out the first installment on event revenue.)

The next Million Dollar Idea comes from Omaha publisher Todd Lemke. He’s seen mistakes and successes and everything in between. Read on to learn more about his great idea for creating new sales revenue:

  • Publisher: Todd Lemke, Omaha, NE
  • Magazine: Omaha Magazine
  • Big Revenue Idea: Sales Appointment Setters

Fast Fact: Face-to-face meetings with clients are the highest and best use of a salesperson’s time (vs. cold calling)

Born from the recession and the fact that most salespeople HATE cold-calling two-plus hours a day, Todd decided to stop fighting the fight. Instead, he developed a program to hire people whose total focus is making sales appointments and then handing them off to his salespeople.

The Formula

Hire in-house appointment setters that only do true cold calls. They are part-time, because the truth is no one can cold call (at least not effectively) all day long. The “setters” earn $25 per appointment set. Their goal is 1.5 appointments per hour. You can offer additional compensation if a sale occurs.

Why It Works

This position appeals to college students, at-home spouses, and others who want to supplement their income. Each appointment made is handed off to the salesperson. The salesperson and the appointment setter MUST work together as a team. (You’ll also find out really quick if a sales rep isn’t interested in growing their business beyond their current client base.) Motivate them both with quarterly bonuses.

Bonus tip: Have the salespeople create the call sheets for the setters so there’s no debate on the leads.

The Results

Having appointment setters works because they are doing the work no one else on the sales team wants to do. Todd tells us that in the first year of launching this program, his team netted $72,000 in new advertising dollars. Now that’s a success!



About this blogger: Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Niche Media. A former sales director and corporate marketing hack, she has now found nirvana in writing and wrangling quality content. Diana is a food, wine, art and SF Giants enthusiast…who sometimes gets carried away.



Niche Media has the best events, education, and training in media! Our super niched-out events & content give target-audience publishers in the B2C, hobbyist, B2B, city & regional, and association markets the tools they need to build revenue, audience, and more.