When are the best times to call for appointments?

A Kellogg School of Management study sheds some light on the subject.


There is an old axiom in the appointment setting business that there is no bad time to call. If you’ve got time, pick up the phone and make some calls.

I still subscribe to that theory. However, as you’ve heard me say in this blog before, we measure everything we do and look for ways to incrementally improve our performance wherever possible. As a matter of fact, the calling tool we use from Contact Science actually has a report that will breakdown the most successful times you have calling. As you most likely aren’t using that yet, I thought I would pass this study on.

You can read the whole article describing the study by clicking here, but here’s the gist of it.

Best times to call: 8:00am to 9:00am and 4:00pm to 5:00pm.

Worst times to call: 1:00pm to 2:00pm.

(We’ll tackle the best days to call below.)

Let’s explore those times for a moment. The early morning times make sense because the study says that most companies do not schedule meetings that begin first thing and gatekeepers may not be in yet. I agree. If fact, if you are calling into a level where gatekeepers are prevalent, I would even try starting to make calls at 7:30am. Many executives come in early to get some work done before everyone else does.

According to the study, the 4:00 to 5:00 time slot logic says that there are fewer last hour meetings in most business days as people want to get things wrapped up at their desks before leaving for the day. This also makes sense to me, as I practiced that when in the corporate world. Once again, if you’re faced with gatekeeper issues, we’ve long said that calling after 5:00 works for the same reasons calling before 8:00 or 8:30, or calling during lunch works.

As to the lunch hour being a bad time to call (the study identified 1:00 to 2:00 as the lunch hour—not sure where they live), our clients have had mixed results calling then. First of all, the ‘lunch hour’ now is anywhere from 11:30 to 1:30 including those that try to beat the crowd and those that try for the late lunch. The flip side to this being a bad time is that the gatekeepers go to lunch on a more specific time (noon hour) than their bosses do. Ergo, if you’ve tried calling someone, gotten the gatekeeper, tried our techniques to engage the gatekeeper and not been successful—call when they’re not there. One of those times is lunchtime.

So, what about days of the week? The study determined that Thursday was the best day and Friday the worst. Not too sure why Thursday is so good. Fridays are bad, particularly in the summer when getting away for a long weekend is likely to be part of the reason. My own experience for calling people who travel a lot is that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays are the days they’ll be gone the most.

The last thought on this subject is this. Every business is different as are areas of the country. The mix of the levels you’re calling into, the solution you sell, etc. make it impossible to make a blanket statement about the best days and times. Personally, my best time to call, believe it or not, is Monday mornings. I determined that one Monday morning when I had some time—so I did a Call Block. My targets are senior sales management, not front line management. Those folks are available on Monday mornings because their direct reports (front line managers) are all having their sales meetings at that time. Who would have thought, eh?

So my advice is to track your calls. Measure the number of dials and the percentage of the time you get through to the person you wish to meet with. You may be surprised.

If you’d like more information on the best times to call 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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