Do your sales appointments often turn into phone meetings, re-schedules or even cancellations? It may be time to make how and when you confirm appointments a sales tool instead of a sales hurdle.
Timing really IS everything.
This is especially true when it comes to confirming appointments. All too often, a confirmation call turns into a quick phone meeting or a cancellation instead of an effective face-to-face appointment. The trick is to make sure your prospect is ready for you, without creating an opportunity to avoid the meeting. Confirm as close to the appointment time as possible.
- For morning meetings: confirm the evening before with an email or voice message just after business hours.
- For afternoon meetings: a morning email serves as a confirmation — a call is a chance to cancel.
Create a confirmation template.
This isn’t some kind of email format, although email is part of it. Instead, it’s a system that serves to keep your sale on track.
Begin by putting another person between you and the prospect: your assistant. When the confirmation is handled by a third party, it’s harder for your prospect to say no. After all, you’ve developed a relationship with this person. It would be rude to cancel without speaking directly to you. There are three parts of this template:
- Control the conversation. Avoid any kind of language that makes canceling a possibility. Don’t ask if the time is still good; assume that it is. If there’s a conflict, make your prospect bring it up.
- Set the terms. Whether your assistant makes contact by phone or email, always include the date, time and purpose of the appointment. This puts you in control from the start.
- Establish that your time is valuable. Your assistant is confirming the appointment because you are busy taking care of business. Your time is worth just as much as your prospect’s.
Use the right tools.
Selling is an art and every artist needs tools. In addition to your contact software, use tools that help you find appointment times and make confirmations. Here are two great tools that work online and with mobile devices:
Calendly integrates with your Google calendar. You can choose who sees your schedule and when you are available. Prospects can easily match their schedule to yours, or your assistant can take care of the details. Calendly saves time by eliminating email and telephone tag.
Assistant.to also monitors your availability and works with contacts to set the appointment from within an email. It uses SSL data encryption and secure servers to protect your information. The system automatically sends emails to you and your prospect when a meeting is scheduled or changed. Assistant.to currently works in Google apps, although a version for Outlook is in the works.
If your prospect insists on cancelling, present other options. While rescheduling a meeting isn’t ideal, it beats losing the sale. Give your assistant the ability to reschedule on your behalf. If this fails, make contact directly. A personal call will go a long way to salvaging the relationship with your prospect.
We’ve all had to deal with a re-scheduled appointment and the dreaded no-show, but there is a way to make sure prospects will follow through. Use these four strategies to consistently turn appointments into meetings, and ultimately, sales.