Getting The Appointment (or something like that)

(Today’s post was originally published in February. Enjoy)

It’s no secret that many salespeople who work by appointment calling on prospective customers struggle to get an audience—and just setting the initial appointment can be one of the hardest parts of the sales process. Today I want to address some things I’ve learned over the years that have made a huge difference for me and they will for you to—if you use them.

Understand that you and I could make a phone call to the exact same prospect five minutes apart selling the exact same product or service and one of us could get an appointment while the other “strikes out”, right? I believe it all boils down to one simple thing: the words we use. By changing the words we use we can drastically increase the percentage of appointments set in a call cycle.

I’m not talking about being deceptive; I’m talking about choosing good, positive words instead of ones that have proven to be less successful in setting the appointment.

For starters remove the word “appointment” from your vocabulary. Get rid of it TODAY! Just the word has negative connotations.

– Attorneys require appointments.
– You make a doctor’s appointment when you’re sick.
– You make an appointment with your dentist when you have a toothache.
– You make an appointment with a proctologist…well, never mind (see it’s VERY negative)

So, if you’re not going to use the “A word” what do we do? Replace it with this:

“I’d like to get on your calendar.” That’s it.

No longer are you going to ask a prospect for an appointment, rather you are going to try to “get on their calendar.” I learned this simple technique several years ago and the results are amazing. (I hope I am giving proper credit when I tell you I learned it from a book by the great Stephan Schiffman—at least I think that’s where it came from)

Next we are going to replace the phrase or verbiage about “presentations” with the word “visit”, as in “I’d like to get on your calendar one day next week and stop by to visit with you.”

People hate presentations. They love to visit. They visit with friends, family and neighbors. Heck, they probably sit around the kitchen table over coffee and visit.

Again, this changes NOTHING about what I’m going to do when I see them it just greatly enhances my chance to GET to see them.

So, the conversation would go something like this (I like to be very low-key and not sound like every other salesperson that calls on someone) “Hey, Mr. Smith this is Butch Bellah calling from Sales Power Tips and I wanted to see if I could get on your calendar for one day next week and visit with you for a few minutes?”

One of the main things is that when I deliver this sentence, I don’t sound like I am asking a question. My voice inflection is such that I EXPECT to “get on his calendar”.

Write it down. Rehearse it and make it sound natural. You will be amazed by the results.


Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut