What To Do When The Prospect Is Very Late For the Appointment: Part I

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Woman waitingYou have set a solid appointment, and immediately sent an email verifying the meeting information.  You then followed up by confirming the appointment by telephone the day before. Finally, you arrive at the 10:00 a.m. appointment a proper 15 minutes early.  The receptionist informs you that she will notify the decision maker (DM) that you are there.

However, 10:00 comes and goes and you find yourself still waiting in the reception area.  By 10:15 you check with the receptionist who tells you that the DM knows you are waiting and must be running just a bit late.  10:20. 10:25. 10:30 and still nothing.  The DM finally appears over 40 minutes late.  What should you do?

Acknowledgment Equals Respect
For the prospect that comes out with sincere apologies like, “I am so sorry to keep you waiting.  We had an emergency…” you may just let it go as you both work together.  However, what of that prospect that shows obvious and total disrespect for your time?   What of that prospect who just says, “Ok, I’ll see you now…” Or the one who greets you without the slightest regard for what happened?

A Delicate and Volatile Situation
This is a very touchy predicament.  On one hand, you obviously do not want to anger the prospect or chance killing the sale.  On the other hand, you can not overlook what, at best may be evidence of a slip-shod, inconsiderate businessperson; but at worst, can demonstrate an improper, inappropriate and possibly deliberate disregard for you and your value as a person and a professional.

Do Nothing?
Again, in cases where the prospect shows some acknowledgement of the mishap, forgetting it may be the thing to do as you both work out a solution together.  However, understand that if a prospect views you in such low esteem to not offer some explanation, then it is unlikely that anything good will result from this relationship.  If the prospect sees no value in you or your time, how can he or she possibly see any value in what you do or sell?

If you allow a prospect to treat you like a low-level peddler, then that is exactly what you will be.  Should you close the sale, you can bet this prospect will haggle with you on price, demanding more for less, and will never be satisfied with your service.   Chances are this would be a nightmare client who constantly demands your time, complains about everything, pays little or nothing and will jump to your competitor the moment a slightly better offer comes along.

Be A Professional
You must take control of situations like this, letting the prospect know that you are a professional and that your time is valuable. It is imperative that the buyer view your time as important and expensive as it is.

What to Do
What you need to do in these situations is to use the incident to raise the value of your time and achieve your objective to move the sale forward.  You want to use the situation as a positive.  Below and continuing in the next two posts, I will give you an effective method to take control of the above situation and use it to your advantage!

Use the prospect’s tardy incident to your advantage.  Here are four ways to do this and you can use one or all of the ideas that fit your selling situation.

1. Use the incident to enlighten the prospect of the issue without making it an attack

2. Use the incident to insure a proper meeting as planned

3. Use the incident to set the next meeting

4. Use the incident to raise the value of you, your time and your products or services

What to Do When the Prospect Is Very Late For the Appointment: Part II
Posting October 6, 2011

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 5 October, 2011

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