Closing Appointments

appointment close calendar

The Best Way to Close an Appointment on the Phone

Sometimes there is immense benefit in having a field sales consultant visit a client at an agreed time and with an identified purpose.

The important aspect of the close technique I’m going to suggest here is first to qualify, then identify need and attempt to guide the prospect down a path where it’s easier for them to say yes than to say no.

This formula relies on suggesting a set time and day, and either the client will agree or they will offer another time. That’s of course providing you have won their interest and identified their need, before you attempt to close.

In other words, your smooth, practised, professional introduction got you in the door. You then followed up with an excellent qualifying and identifying process that encouraged interest in your prospect.

But you must make sure your prospect doesn’t get the impression that a slick sales rep is about to descend upon them for a dreaded sales appointment.

The close below works very well in most appointment-setting situations and removes the pressure prospects often feel when faced with set times and official-sounding appointments.

This call guide is highly successful for the insurance brokers and agents I work with, but you can of course adapt it to your own service or product and industry. It’s the technique and formula that is important to understand.

A reminder though: it is most important to have a qualified and identified need BEFORE you enter into any close and never more so when fixing appointments.

Appointment Close Script

That’s great, (prospect) … I would just like to say that based on what you’ve told me today … I recommend that I call by and give you an opportunity to have a look at our savings programme designed for people just like you …

In fact, (prospect) … I’m in (their area) on (day) and would be happy to drop by and have a brief chat with you … and … I can leave you with some information in case you would like to use our service now … or maybe sometime in the future …

And I wondered, (prospect) … do you think you’ll be home if I drop by around (time) on (day)? Will you be at home then (prospect)?

Before this part of your presentation you will have covered the qualification process and gained the prospect’s interest.

If you’ve done all that it is far easier for the prospect to just say, “Yes” or often they’ll give you another time that fits their schedule.

Sometimes though, the prospect has second thoughts and will throw up a time or money-related question/objection out of the blue.

The most common problem that pops up at this stage of the call is usually around time and cost.

Don’t worry! This is usually a conditioned response.

When it’s about time, it often comes up because the prospect has been caught in the past with sales reps who turned up and stole their time and droned on for hours and hours.

If it’s about cost, they are seeking reassurance and sometimes it’s just a last wriggle before they say, Yes”.

Prospect:  Um, well, can you tell me how much this will cost me?

Or if time is the issue they will ask:

Well, how long will this all take?

The great Allan Pease taught me the response I will share with you here. I have to say, it’s brilliant. I have used it for years in my own calling and it works more times than not.

I now pass this on to all the appointment-setting teams and sales professionals I work with and once you get it flowing right, you’ll be amazed how the objection/question just melts away.

You see, it’s often impossible to give an accurate answer to the question of cost before you can sit down and show the prospect their options at an appointment.

Often there are so many variables and prices depending on need and choice and what best suits their situation.

Also, when some callers try to give a cost range, often the prospect raises barriers to any kind of outlay or expenditure at all and uses that as a reason to duck the appointment.

On the question of time, only you know how long it will take to make your case at the appointment.

Mind you, if the prospect just sat there and asked or said nothing while you presented, it could be quite short. It’s the questions and objections that take the time.

You must give an honest and immediate response to such a direct question, and here’s the one I recommend:

Of course, (prospect) … I understand but the initial cost is around 12 minutes of your time to make sure we provide you with the very best options for saving you money and gaining greater security.

Now, you need to assume you have answered the question and repeat the last part of the appointment close again…

And … as I mentioned, I would be happy to drop by on (day and time) and have a brief chat with you … and … I can leave you with information so you can see your choices, and maybe you’ll consider using our service at some stage later in the year.

If I called by around (time) on (day), do you think you’ll be home then (prospect)?

General Tips and Call Handling Ideas

One other thing to consider regarding appointment setting: Try not to arrange call-backs to confirm the prospect will be there if you can avoid it. This will often give them an opportunity to say, Actually, I’ve been called away so I’ll have to cancel.

By the time you call back to confirm, the first flush of interest you created in the earlier call is only a fading memory.

Unless you are going to re-present all over again, or the prospect insisted on a call to confirm, it is best just to go on the agreed time and date. Most people will keep to their agreement and see you.

Also, try not to book times and appointments too far out from the original call. I usually recommend bookings no more than five working days ahead. The interest can go cold if the sales visit is too far out from the phone call.

This style of appointment close also flushes out time wasters and those who have no real interest and can save you hours of energy and your own time as well.

There’s no point in booking appointments with the wrong prospects – they just keep you away from the good ones!


This article is an excerpt from our book Super Size Your Sales, exclusively available from this website. More information>>>