The Question: To Confirm or Not to Confirm?

by Wendy Weiss

Before your scheduled appointment with a new prospect, do you call ahead of time to confirm? Or do you not dare call because that might give them the opportunity to cancel on you?

Do you confirm every prospect appointment before you head out the door?

Or…

Do you not confirm, believing that it gives your prospect an "out?"

Far too many coaching clients, workshop participants and readers have said to me, "If I confirm the appointment it gives them a chance to get out of it." Let's examine this statement and the beliefs that go with it.

The above statement implies that the scheduled appointment is something that, given a choice, your prospect would avoid. This must mean, therefore, that you tricked or manipulated your prospect into agreeing to the appointment in the first place. Now on reflection, your prospect could only want to bolt.

If you had to trick your prospect to schedule the meeting, the meeting itself must not have any real value. It logically follows then, that the agenda for the meeting, your products or services, you and your time also have no value!

Well, that's demoralizing!

If, however, you truly believe that your product or service has value, if you have done your homework, targeted your market and are calling on qualified prospects then there is no reason that a prospect should want to avoid meeting with you. It is time to change some of your beliefs about the meeting. If a prospect schedules an appointment with you, that means they are interested in talking about what you have to offer!



And here's another thought: Do you really want to spend your time racing around your territory to meetings with prospects who don't show?

I've had some sales professionals tell me that when a prospect stands them up, they like it, because the prospect then feels guilty and "owes them." These sales professionals believe that their prospects will meet with them because of that sense of guilt. And perhaps some do. But barring a last minute emergency that takes a prospect away unexpectedly, someone who stands you up once, will more than likely have no qualms about standing you up again. This "guilt" approach goes hand-in-hand with the belief that prospects must be tricked or manipulated into meetings.

So here's a better approach: Change the way you think about prospect meetings and confirm them! Call your prospect the day before or early the morning of the appointment. Try to reach the prospect directly. Say:

"I'm calling to confirm our brief meeting tomorrow (or later today) at (fill in the time.)"

(The use of any of the following sentences is optional.) "I've put together those samples we discussed."
"I've given a lot of thought to your situation."
"I have some very interesting ideas to share with you."
"I'm looking forward to meeting you."

If your prospect says the agreed upon meeting time no longer works, reschedule immediately! Otherwise, you now know that when you show up tomorrow your prospect will actually be there! (Do make sure that your prospect has your phone number so that they can reach you if something unexpected does happen.)

If you are not able to reach your prospect directly, and if your prospect has a secretary, ask her if she keeps the prospect's calendar. If she does, you can confirm with her. If she does not, deputize her. Give her your name and phone number and say: "I'm calling to confirm my brief meeting tomorrow at (fill in the time) with Ms. Prospect." Ask her to speak with the prospect for you and then call you back to let you know that the meeting is on.

If you are not able to reach a human being leave the following message on your prospect's voice mail:

"Hello, Ms. Prospect. This is (fill in your name) from (fill in your company name.) My phone number is (your phone number goes here.)"

"I'm calling to confirm our brief meeting tomorrow at (fill in the time.)"

(The use of any of the following sentences is optional.)
"I've put together those samples we discussed."
"I've given a lot of thought to your situation."
"I have some very interesting ideas to share with you."
"I'm looking forward to meeting you."

Please be good enough, to give me a call back and let me know that tomorrow at (fill in the time.) still works for you."

"And again, this is (fill in your name) from (fill in your company name.) My phone number is (your phone number goes here.)"

Most prospects will call you back, either to confirm or to reschedule.

Over the past years, many, many coaching clients, workshop participants and readers have asked me about differentiating themselves from the competition. This is one way to do it. By confirming your appointments you are setting yourself up to be viewed by your prospects and customers as an expert and a professional. You are a consultant, like any consultant your time is valuable and your prospects will see that if you conduct yourself in that manner. Far too many sales professionals allow themselves to be treated poorly, feeling perhaps, that it comes with the territory. It doesn't have to.

Confirming appointments is a far better use of your selling time. A prospect who will not meet with you, is not a qualified prospect! Those prospects who do cancel and are unwilling, for whatever reason, to reschedule are doing you a favor. They are saving you the time and energy you would have spent going to see them, following up with them and then not selling anything!

Wendy Weiss, "The Queen of Cold Calling & Selling Success," is a sales trainer, author and sales coach. Her recently released, self-study program, Cold Calling College, along with her book, Cold Calling for Women, can be ordered by calling toll-free (866) 405-8212 or visiting http://www.wendyweiss.com. Contact her at wendy@wendyweiss.com.

 
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