Why standard selling skills don’t work when setting appointments.

What is so different about the process of attempting to set an appointment?

Confused Orangatang PhotoThere are three distinct differences between what happens in a face-to-face Initial Appointment (or subsequent appointment) versus an appointment setting phone call and then there is one additional difference in how the best of the best prepare for each situation.

 Before meeting us, virtually all of our clients told us they applied the same objection handling techniques they employed in closing situations to their appointment setting calls, without much success. Here are the three reasons why it doesn’t, plus how we must prepare in each area to succeed.

 The Beginning Repartee

 In the Initial Appointment, what we call the beginning repartee or banter is collegial. Our target has agreed to set this time aside for us so the atmosphere is generally warm and friendly.

On an appointment setting call, the beginning repartee is not generally friendly. As a matter of fact, as soon as the target realizes this is a sales call, it becomes somewhat adversarial.

The Pace of the Exchange

In the Initial Appointment, the pace of the exchange is measured or comfortable. It’s a normal conversation.

On the appointment setting call, the pace of the exchange seems like it happens at 90 miles an hour.

 The Responses from Targets

 In the Initial Appointment, the responses we receive from our target are generally thoughtful and based on business logic because they’ve agreed to invest the time with us so they’re interested in learning whether it makes sense to move forward with us at the end of the meeting.

 On the appointment setting call, the responses from the target contain, what we call, Conditioned Knee Jerk Responses that are designed to do nothing but get us off the phone. As a matter of fact, most of them aren’t even true—they’re the target’s tried and true methods to get rid of sales professionals.

This is also why the pace of the exchange seems to be so fast. The target falls back on their favorite memorized response. They don’t need to think about it, they just react, just like what happens to our lower leg when the doctor hits us with that little rubber instrument right below the knee cap.

 The Preparation to Succeed

 The moral of the story is in our preparation for each of these distinct stages of the selling process. Good sales professionals succeed once a target becomes a Prospect (pipeline selling) because they are good at thinking on their feet. They understand their solution and enough of the prospect’s situation to be able to respond in a thoughtful manner and at a comfortable pace.

Those of us that are good at setting the appointments (telephone prospecting) invest the time to study what responses are heard most often on these calls, prepare Counters to those responses and then practice, practice, practice until those responses becomes second nature. The result is that they, too, can conduct the call at 90 miles an hour because they are prepared to handle the most commonly heard responses.

If you’d like to watch a video presentation on this topic, click here. If you’d like more information on the topic of how to set more appointments in general, drop us a line or give us a call. Or, if you’re simply interested in why no team of sales professionals has ever failed to at least double the number of Initial Appointments they were setting after going through one of our programs, give us a call or drop us a line. We love talking appointment making!


Caponi Performance Group and Contact Science jointly market the telephone prospecting and cold calling solution called Coldcalling101™.  It is the only comprehensive solution to solving the biggest barrier to success in most selling organizations—the inability to secure enough Initial Appointments to begin the selling process. We accomplish that through simultaneously addressing both the efficiency and effectiveness of the process.  We can be reached at 817 224-9900 or at bcaponi@caponipg.com.  You can also find answers to many of your challenges in our books: Contrary to Popular Belief, Cold Calling DOES Work! Volume I: Effectiveness, The Art of Appointment Making and  Volume II: Efficiency, the Science of Appointment Making.

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