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The reasons you can’t get appointments


The guy won’t give me an appointment.  I can’t get through to the decision maker.

He won’t commit to an appointment.  She won’t return my phone call.  He has rescheduled me three times in two weeks.

He didn’t show for his appointment.

Quit your whining. Those are wake-up calls to alert you that your fundamental sales skill are lacking.

Why can’t you get an appointment? There’s no compelling reason for the buyer and you failed to sell them on “yes,” so they sold you on “no.”

The appointment is the fulcrum point of the sale. You can’t sell squat without a face-to-face or over-the-phone appointment with a decision maker.

If a prospect said to you, “This looks great – let me share this with my boss,” you just wasted your time. That is visiting.

An appointment is when you meet with someone to further the sales process or you meet with someone who can decide.

So what do you have to change in order to achieve or exceed your sales appointment objectives?

Stop blaming other people for your lack of sales skills.

Don’t sell the product.

Don’t sell the service.

Sell the appointment.

How do you get an appointment?

You engage, you spark, you provide value, you interest, you create desire.

If you call and the person is willing and you set the appointment, that’s dumb luck. My 5-year-old granddaughter Morgan can mail out information and set an appointment with someone who’s willing. This is about the people who aren’t willing.

If they have no interest, you will not get an appointment. If you provide no perceived value, they will not appoint you. If you are not engaging, they will avoid you. If they think they have no need, they will not see you.

You need to build expertise beyond your brochure and price list. Become an expert in the industries or categories you cover. You need to know where your prospects or customers use your product or service to build their business.

You may need to become an expert in branding, customer loyalty, use of media, customer response, delayed response, publicity, public relations, converting responses to sales, image building, and every element the customers are seeking as they plan their businesses.

None of this appears in your literature. To know the effectiveness of your current brochure, grab a red Sharpie and circle the areas your prospects would consider valuable.

Get the attention of the decision makers. Do this by engaging them with questions or statements that make them want more. Not more about you. More about what you know that could help them.

You have to be brief. You can’t sell more than an appointment. You can’t ask, “How are you today?” or “Have you ever heard of us?” You ask compelling and engaging questions.

When I sold lists of new corporations and new homeowners, I would walk into a potential customer and ask, “Who’s in charge of sales leads?” That question got me an appointment more than 50 percent of the time. If you sell copiers or you’re a printer, ask, “Who’s in charge of images?” or, if you’re an accountant or a banker, ask, “Who’s in charge of profits?”

Ask the prospects what they think and tell them how they can win by meeting with you.

Don’t say you’ll save the prospects money. Say you’ll help them earn a bigger profit.

Ask for a short amount of time and give them the option to make it longer if they’re interested.

Start higher on the decision-making chain than you dare.

Don’t think, “Should I go to the accounting department or the office manager?” Go straight to the chief executive.

Talk profits, productivity, ideas and opportunities. Business leaders don’t deal with benefit statements; they deal with profitability statements.

They don’t want to be educated; nor do they need to be. They want answers. They don’t want to hear about you. If they give you time, you’d better make it about them.

Do you think a prospect wants answers to their problems or your sales pitch?

Offer answers as a reason to meet and the appointment is yours.

Free GitBit: Want a lesson in persistence? It’s yours by going to www.Gitomer.com. Register if you’re a first-time user, and enter the word PERSISTENCE in the GitBit box.

President of Charlotte, N.C.-based Buy Gitomer, Jeffrey Gitomer gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or by e-mail at salesman@gitomer.com.

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