Making Appointments that Stick

Peady’s Selling Engagement

Heard the phrase ‘prior preparation prevents poor performance’? It absolutely applies to your first call to a prospective customer.

Many of the salespeople I work with have the product knowledge, the relevant contact details and history (if needed) and they can do strong prospect research. But many times, they fail to make an appointment.

Most of the time failed appointment setting is due to poor preparation – failure to apply the five P’s.  

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

5 Steps to successful appointment setting

First step: Make a phone call using a pre-prepared and practiced script or roadmap to deliver a strong opening and grab the attention of the prospect. Yes, I know it’s easier to send an email, however it’s not as effective!

Second step: Avoid selling your product or service. Help the prospect understand that you are not asking for a buying decision; you are not asking for their business. All you want is a meeting, focus on that.

Step three: Confidently deliver the reason for the call using a valid business reason. You need to sell the appointment, so the customer gets a return on their time investment by meeting with you. Figure out one or two key benefits based on what you have learnt in your research.

Step four: Be prepared for questions, reflexive or ‘push-back’ objections or real objections. Don’t confuse a genuine question with an objection; don’t accept the first reflexive objection as an end to the conversation and be prepared to address all of them in a straightforward manner. 

Finally: Have several strong probing questions of your own. Using ‘smart’ sales questions helps you discover valuable information and make the call more engaging and interactive.

Congratulations, you’ve got the appointment! 



Don’t ruin your first call by hanging up too soon! Unfortunately, too many salespeople want to get off the phone immediately to avoid the customer changing their mind. There is one more vital step covering four areas. This step makes the appointment ‘sticky’: 

  1. Reiterate the time, date and place of the meeting and get an email address to send an outlook invitation
  2. Ask if the customer would like you to bring any research, information or case studies to the meeting
  3. Check if anyone else will be attending (partner, accountant, assistant etc). Get some background on them
  4. Thank the customer for their time and leave a ‘nugget’ of information that you’ll be discussing at the meeting or something that will pique their curiosity

By using some of these proven techniques you’ll be able to boost the odds of booking that critical first meeting and making it ‘stick’. After all, your pipeline health is dependent on prospecting and generating new customer meetings.

Until next week good selling!

About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]