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

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Woman on orange sofaThe prospect shows up 30 or 45 minutes late for the meeting.  You do not have enough time to do a proper sales interaction and you feel the prospect has complete disrespect for your time.  What do you do?

In Part I and Part II of this article, we began to focus on the following solutions to use the prospect’s tardy incident to your advantage.   You can use one or all of these ideas that are applicable to 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

Now continuing:

#3. Use the incident to set the next meeting
Now that you have confirmed that the allotted time for the meeting is still valid, use the opportunity to build the value of your time, your schedule and set the next appointment (if applicable) as well.  Remember, the prospect knows that he or she is the cause of any problem that may arise from the late meeting.  Use this to your advantage.  Here is an example:

“James, again, I appreciate your time here today and you will appreciate what I have to show you too.  Please give me just  a few seconds to double check my schedule on my next appointment.” (Pull out Pad, mobile phone or schedule)

“Yes. Even with travel time, it looks like I’ll make my next meeting in time.  By the way, seeing firsthand how tight your schedule is, while we are on the subject, why don’t we go ahead and take care of our follow-up meeting right now.  Let’s see…are you available next Friday, at this same time?”

Take advantage of the situation and go for it.

#4. Use the incident to raise the value of you, your time and your products or services
Once you have confirmed the allotted time for the meeting is still valid, inform the prospect as to why this is so important and build value at the same time.  Here is an example:

“That’s great that we still have a full 30 minutes.  You see, the information I have for you is important and will prove extremely valuable to you whether we do business or not.  As we do with everything and with all of our clients; we believe it is best to take our time, and do everything right the first time…don’t you agree?”

(Like with all of the “role plays” it”s not the words that are important it”s the message. You will want to adapt it to your own style)

You get the idea.

Executive Summary
In short, to handle the situation where the prospect is late and begins the relationship with a feeling of disrespect for you and your profession; don’t get upset, but don”t take it lying down either.

First, let the prospect know that you are a professional and your time is valuable, but do not make it an attack or a scolding.  Then, make sure you will have the time you need to do a proper job.  If necessary, use the moment to set up the next meeting. Continue to use the situation to raise the value and importance of what you do.

The final word – don”t forget that the people that you are likely to meet are very senior people. They have meetings that over-run and “crap” happens that may mean that they are running late for a genuine reason. Just remember to re-evaluate the objectives of the meeting and to make sure that you can get done what you need to get done in the remaining time you have available.

Happy Selling


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 7 October, 2011

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