3 Effective Ways to Reduce Canceled Appointments

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

25 August, 2011

Paper calendarAppointments that cry off at the last minute will cost you a great deal of money.  In addition to the time you spent to set the appointment, now you have travel time, gas and a host of other less tangible expenses.  Depending on your business, it may be impossible to eliminate canceled appointments completely.  However, you can greatly reduce them and diminish their effect on your sales process and income.

Phrase the Appointment Differently
One way to help make appointments more solid is to phrase the appointment differently than normal. When you make an appointment over the telephone, where you are going to go see the prospect, as you are confirming, it may sound something like this:

“Great.  So Mr Prospect I will see you at your office on Tuesday, the 25th at 3:00 p.m.”

The problem is that often when you are to go meet the prospect, the prospect does not get a clear mental picture of an appointment.  In many cases, the prospect does not have to go anywhere or do anything.  The prospect will go to work as normal because you are coming to see him or her.  The prospect often feels as if he or she has no responsibility.

Alternatively, if the prospect has to go somewhere to meet someone, the appointment takes on a different meaning.  So, when setting an appointment where you are to meet at the prospect’s place, simply turn it around and still ask the prospect meet you.  Here is an example:

“Great.  So Mr Prospect, we are set for next Tuesday, the 25th at your office, and you will meet me there at 3:00 p.m., is that right?”

Just have the prospect meet you even if you are going there.  This subtle change gives the appointment a different, more important feeling.

Set Irregular Times for the Appointment
Another highly effective way to help keep more appointments from failing is to use off times for the appointment.  Instead of the traditional on-the-hour or on-the-half-hour times, try to set appointments for 15 minutes before the hour, or 20 minutes after.  As an example:

“Great.  So Mr Prospect, we are set for next Tuesday, the 25th at your office, and you will meet me there at 2:45 p.m., is that right?”

This approach not only makes it much harder to forget the appointment, but it also gives the impression of an easy, short meeting.  In addition, this gives you the image of a very busy VIP, whose time is extremely valuable and who schedules his meetings to the second.

When Possible, Have the Prospect Direct You
In the modern day of things like Google Maps connected cell phones and Map Quest, people seldom ask directions.  However, asking for directions to the meeting place is a great way to help solidify the appointment in the prospect’s mind.  Ask for precise directions and if the meet is in an office building, then ask for directions once you are inside the building.

Follow the above three lesser-known tips and you will have more completed appointments, more closing attempts and more sales.

Happy Selling!

Sean
Sean McPheat

MTD Sales Training | Sales Blog | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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