The One Key to Setting Appointments by Phone

If you set appointments by phone, then you know how hard it can be. Getting past gatekeepers, identifying decision makers, overcoming brush offs, overcoming objections, it can get pretty discouraging, can’t it? What if I told you that the hardest thing about setting appointments is often something that you yourself create? That would be even more discouraging, wouldn’t it? Unless I also gave you the solution which is what I’m going to do…

So let’s start at the beginning. Quick question: What is the goal of an appointment call? No, this isn’t a trick question, although you’d be amazed at the answers I get. People say things like: “To make a sale,” or “To overcome objections,” or “To qualify for the order,” and things like that. I’m sure you can add to that list. Perhaps the reason the right answer is so often missed is because it seems so pedestrian. The right answer, of course, is “To make an appointment!”

The reason sales reps struggle so much to achieve this simple aim is because they try to do too much. And the biggest area they do this in is when it comes to handling objections. You know the kind: “I/we don’t have any money,” or “I/we’ve already got everything taken care of,” or “Just put it in the mail,” etc.

Ok, now here’s the key:

There is a HUGE difference between an objection and an initial resistance statement, and you handle them both VERY differently.

This is a BIG deal when it comes to making appointments and here’s why: All the so-called objections you get are in fact just initial resistance. It’s the same as when you go to a store (especially when you know what you’re going to buy) and a sales rep greets you with, “Can I help you?” What do you usually say? How about, “Oh, just looking.” You aren’t just looking, you’re there to buy, but your initial reaction to a sales rep is to put them off.

This is the same when you’re setting an appointment. All the statements above are just initial resistance. They aren’t objections because you haven’t pitched anyone yet. In other words, there isn’t anything to object TO. And because of this, you’re making a big mistake if you try to overcome initial resistance statements like you handle objections. Because as soon as you do this, you’ll lose because your prospect can just dismiss you and hang up.

So here’s what you SHOULD do when you get initial resistance when you make an appointment call: You should simply acknowledge you heard it, give a quick sentence or two to help you get around it, and then move back into asking for the appointment again. Here’s how it goes:

The Wrong Way to handle initial resistance:

Prospect: “We don’t have the money right now”

Sales Rep: “No problem. We have a variety of payment plans that can fit into any budget. In fact you can get started today for as little as $150 down, and we’ll bill you monthly for as little as $35 for the next 10 years. You can afford that, can’t you?”

The Right Way to handle initial resistance:

Prospect: “We don’t have the money right now”

Sales Rep: “That’s perfectly fine and this isn’t about money. Instead, it’s about making a connection and introducing you to our firm and providing you with some options for the future for when you are in the market for this. Now, to make sure I bring you out the right brochure, let me just ask you a couple of quick questions…”

You see the difference? When you get initial resistance, don’t try to overcome it like you would an objection, instead, you should disarm your prospect, move past it, qualify and then ask for the appointment again.

If you can learn this key difference, you’ll stop fighting with prospects, and you’ll begin setting more appointments. And isn’t that the real objective of an appointment call?