Amazingly, despite having many patients and lots of responsibility, a doctor finds a way to give each patient their full attention. They schedule their day to commit to quality time with each patient. They’re high-value people who respect their time and invest it intelligently with every person they serve. This affords a Dr. a quality lifestyle.
Appointment Based Selling and Servicing
Why am I telling you about a family doctor in an article that’s supposed to be about selling? A family doctor is perceived as a true professional – precisely the kind of professional that an equipment sales professional needs to be. In considerable measure, a good doctor is perceived as a professional because they implement an appointment-based process.
Many salespeople are comfortable allowing the prospect or customer to control the sales process. That’s another way of saying that they don’t manage their own time well. Then they’re surprised when the people to whom they’re trying to sell don’t treat them as professionals! Every time we communicate with someone, we train that person how to treat us.
A Common Sales Scenario
It’s Friday morning, around 9:30, and the salesperson is at your business. The phone rings. Joe Customer is on the line, asking to speak to John Salesperson.
When he gets John on the line, Joe Customer says: “Listen, John, are you going to be around the business after lunch? I want to come by to talk to you about buying a couple of Widgets and Gadgets.”
Now, when he hears these words, John Salesperson beams with joy. Finally! He’s been talking to Joe Customer for months and is now dropping by to discuss pricing. So, here’s what the salesperson says in response.
Salesperson: “You bet, Joe. I’ll be here all day.”
Customer: “Great. See you this afternoon.”
John salesperson mentally files “See you this afternoon” under “Joe Customer is coming by after lunch.” All afternoon, John is eagerly waiting around. One o’clock rolls around. Two o’clock rolls around. Three o’clock rolls around. Joe Customer fails to materialize. Without a dedicated appointment, time and energy are wasted.
Certainly, John Salesperson needs to adjust his time management strategies – but he needs to change something else first. He needs to adjust his attitude. John must consider himself a professional. He has to start looking, dressing, acting, and communicating like a professional. That means taking control of himself – and his workday.
John Salesperson communicates to the customer: “My time isn’t as valuable as yours!” and “I’ll do anything – my schedule is wide open, which means I have no other prospects!” Well, that’s not how a family doctor interacts with the people who want their help, and it’s not how John should interact with the people he’s trying to help either.
John has to practice saying things like this:
“Mr. Customer, as a professional sales consultant, I schedule my time to be available for my customers. I’m so glad you want to come by today. I’d like to schedule a specific time for you to come into the business. That will give me the time to research any programs or other information you might need. What does 4:00 this afternoon look like for you?”
“Mr. Customer, I know you and I have been meaning to get together for a while. I’d like to schedule a time that’s good for you and me to have me stop by your business to talk. Can I come by at 2:00 so we can talk for about an hour?
“Mr. customer, have you got a piece of paper and pencil handy? I’ve got some very important information for you, so could you write this down? We’re now scheduled to meet between three and three-thirty tomorrow. Is that what you’ve got down on your side? Great, it’s what I’ve got down in my book. Now, if there’s some reason you can’t make it, Mr. customer, will you please give me a call back so we can reschedule?”
“Drop by anytime today.”
“I’ll be by sometime in the afternoon.”
“If you can’t make it, just let me know.”
Closing Ratios Improve When Salespeople
Schedule Their Time With Appointments
A family doctor treats an appointment as serious business. So should you! Suppose you improve on the right behaviors and learn to take control of your sales process. In that case, you will not only train yourself to respect your own time … but you will also train your customers to respect you in a way that dramatically enhances your personal bottom line. Do you know why? Because it is a statistical fact that people who commit to scheduled appointments are more likely to buy from you than people who don’t!
Bottom line: If we don’t ever seem to have an appointment on the books, you will inevitably find that your closing ratios are not as good as they should be. And sadly, that’s how some salespeople operate: out of control and under quota.
If you’re looking for the very best way to differentiate yourself from the competition, you just found it! Do what a doctor does: manage an appointment-based process. You will train your customers to treat you with the professionalism you deserve … establish a powerful competitive advantage, … and, who knows, maybe even get in the door for dinner by six o’clock. Good selling.