How many ways can a target say no on an appointment setting call?

There are only four ways to say no when asked for an appointment.

My wife, Nancy, and I love to hike in the mountains and a little while ago we were in Sedona, Arizona doing just that.  (It’s beautiful, by the way if you like rocks.  Many, many rocks.  They even have mountains named as rocks like Red Rock and Cathedral Rock.)  Anyway, as we were hiking up this one trail, I stepped on a fairly smooth rock and my boot lost a little traction, causing me to slip.  Being a conscientious hiker, I proceeded to kick it off the path after regaining my balance as I certainly didn’t want someone else to have the same experience.  But as I did it, I noticed that there were millions; no make that gazillions more of them, so I quickly gave up on my crusade to make hiking through Sedona safe for everyone.

So what does this have to do with appointment setting, you ask?  Great question, and thanks for asking!  Many times in my workshops on appointment setting, I’m told by our intrepid appointment setters that it is just impossible to prepare for every potential negative response that can occur when making those calls.  Those pesky targets seem to have gazillions of them (like that tie in?).  Anyway, for some unknown reason, that usually happens right after I assign a little exercise asking them to prepare a list of the most common ones they hear.

The good news is that there are really only four categories of what I like to call Conditioned Negative Responses (remember Pavlov and his dog?  We all have our favorite response to get that caller off the phone when we’re cold called). The bad news is that a couple of them come in multiple flavors.  But, once you identify which category it falls into, you can use the same approach for each of the multiple flavors when ‘Countering’ them.  That means that you only have to identify which category they fall into order to handle them effectively.  Here are the categories:

Before I assign you that same assignment I mentioned above to help with your own appointment setting, let me make one important point about The Appointment Making Formula™, our methodology. We believe in the value of controlling the flow of the appointment making conversation. Why? Because it makes our job easier. If we deliver the same message each time we ask for an appointment, we will tend to get a consistent set of responses in return. As a matter of fact, if your reason for the call is the same each time, start tracking the Conditioned Responses you hear when talking to the person you think you want the appointment with. I’ll bet that 80 to 90% of what you hear are the same one or two and 99% of them will fall into these categories.

Once you’ve got your list, develop how you’ll handle each of the four categories and you’ll increase your effectiveness when calling!

If you’ve got one you’re really struggling with, share it with us and I’ll attack it in the following week’s blog.

If you’d like more information on 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 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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