The four reasons sales professionals fail at appointment-setting.

Why our approach is different and why it has never failed to double the number of appointments a group of sales professionals set after going through our program.

When I make my own appointment making calls, prospects ask me all the time, why would investing in one of my Prospector’s Academies benefit them? They say that their team seems to be doing okay. And if my sales team knows how to close, they must also know how to set appointments, right? After all, selling is selling? “I just don’t think I’m interested.”

The content of my response (not how I actually conduct the conversation on a call, which is my methodology…and is another topic) is twofold:

  1. Most sales professionals fail, not because they can’t close, but because they don’t get enough chances to close. After all, sales management can go along on sales calls to help when a new struggling sales professional stumbles. However, they can’t get on the phone with them and help them set Initial Appointments. Ergo, if you want to reduce expensive turnover that occurs with new hires, help them learn how to get better at setting those Initial Appointments.
  2. Most sales teams can be broken up into three performance groups; top performers, poor performers, and mid-level performers. Which group is normally the largest? It’s the mid-level performers. So, back to my first point and this question: What would be the impact on your company’s bottom line if just your mid-level performers doubled the number of Initial Appointments they were setting—let alone if you saved some of the poor performers?

The next step in the discussion goes back to the original assumption of all ‘selling is selling’, and the same skills, tools, and processes we use to close business should work when setting appointments. Unfortunately, this is not true, but that discussion is too much for this blog. If you’d like to read about why this is not the case, click here to read a blog that addresses that issue.

In addition to the skills issue that is covered in the above referenced blog, here are the reasons why people fail at appointment setting:

  1. Call reluctance – they are afraid of embarrassing themselves because they are not prepared to handle what will happen on most calls—in other words, they are not prepared
  2. The process of staying organized when pursuing large numbers of targets becomes overwhelming and too time consuming
  3. They don’t have a good list to call from each day so the time they do set aside for making calls is taken up with research or indecision on who to call today
  4. They don’t have a plan so each time they place a call, they are determining messaging and whether the last call was enough or whether they’ll call again today

What makes us different from those that just teach appointment making skills and why we have been so successful since we began this business in 2004 is simply the following two reasons. One, our clients sustain the gains they make during our Prospector’s Academies and two, before we ever teach the skills of what to say, how to say it, and when to say it (the Art), we do the following:

  1. We work with our clients to prepare an appointment setting plan or process (the Best Practices), which includes things like answering the following questions:
    1. How many targets are needed for a sales professional to hit their individual revenue goal?
    2. Who is the best target for what we sell and where is the best place to get an accurate list that has all of the information necessary to begin making calls?
    3. How many times will we call someone before we give up and put them away for some specified period of time and try again?
    4. How often will we call?
    5. What are our value propositions—the top reasons why people buy from us, and how will we present them in an opening script, voicemails and emails?
    6. What are the most common ways people say ‘no’ to us when we ask them for an appointment and how will we ‘Counter’ those?
    7. What are the most common questions people ask us when we request an appointment and how will we answer them?
    8. What supporting marketing pieces do we have that can be used to support the process?
    9. How can we monitor, measure and manage the process in order to sustain the gains that come from a Prospector’s Academy?
  2. We apply a front end tool to CRMs that was designed specifically for the appointment setting process that virtually eliminates the organization and time commitment challenges
  3. We apply a proven methodology for handling the ‘no’ we invariably hear when asking for appointments

Only after completing those tasks do we teach one of our Prospector’s Academies. So, when a sales professional goes through one, they are applying our methodology to their value propositions and their custom process. It is also why we can claim that we have never failed to at least double the number of appointments a team of sales professionals were making after going through one of our programs. It is also why the gains that are attained coming out of the training can be sustained over long periods of time.

With our approach, sale professionals have skills that work and a plan to follow, which solves the confidence and call reluctance challenge. They also have a tool to use that enables them to apply the plan, stay organized and actually reduce the time it takes to make the calls. Lastly, management has the tools to manage the process which sustains the gains.

If you’d like more information on how to build a plan or 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 about the challenges of 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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