Sales Best Practice #21 – Uses an effective system for making appointments

This article focuses on Best Practices for sales people from guest poster Dave Kahle, author and leading sales educator. Follow Dave’s latest Tweets at @davekahle.

By Dave Kahle

The best sales people have created a system to consistently acquire appointments with prospects, and continually work to improve that system.

All routine, sophisticated work is most effectively accomplished by implementing a system.  That’s one of the observations I’ve made in my 20+ years of experience in consulting.  It doesn’t matter what area of work we are considering.  For example, cleaning teeth, paving a road, painting a house, laying carpet, creating your income tax returns, etc. are all routine, sophisticated jobs that are best accomplished systematically.

The job of the professional salesperson is crammed with such tasks – sophisticated tasks which need to be done over and over again.  Making appointments is one such undertaking.

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A system is composed, in its simplest expression, of processes, practices and tools.  Processes are the step-by-step series of events that eventually lead to a goal.  Practices are the behaviors which are part of the process, and tools are the specific things we use to accomplish the process.

So, for example, when it comes to making appointments, the process may look like this:

1.  Create a list of prospects.

2.  Research the list, and determine the highest potential.

3.  Acquire their names and contact information.

4.  Deliver a pre-call touch.

5.  Make a phone call to acquire the appointment.

6.  Repeat at least five times, if necessary.

7.  If necessary, send a personal snail mail letter.

8.  If necessary, make a personal cold call.

I’m not suggesting that this is the only process you could use.  I am suggesting, however, that the best sales people have created a similar process, designed for the specifics of their business.

Within that process, there are certain key practices. For example, the phone call that you make to the prospect asking for the appointment is a key practice. To improve the end results of your process, you improve each of the practices you use along the way.  The best sales people understand that, and work on forever improving them.

The final piece of a good system is the set of tools you use to implement the system.  The pre-call touch, for example, is a tool.  As is the script that you use, the letter that you may send, etc. Like your approach to practices, your approach is to forever refine these tools.

Let’s review.  The best sales people have thought deeply about the best way to acquire appointments, and have put together a system made up of processes, practices and tools.  Then, they consistently implement that system, and forever work on improving each piece of it.

That’s one of the things that make them the best.

Here are some of our resources to help you master this best practice:

First Steps to Success in Outside Sales – Chapter Four: Acquiring Appointments.

*  Video – Victory over Voicemail. Visit www.davekahle.com/notch.htm.

If you are a member of The Sales Resource Center ™, consider Pod-32: How to create a system to develop new customers., Pod-38: Mastering the Creative Cold Call, or Cluster CL-87: Making appointments.

About the Author:

Dave Kahle is one of the world’s leading sales educators. He’s written nine books, presented in 47 states and seven countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of sales people and transform hundreds of sales organizations.  Sign up for his free weekly Ezine, and visit his blog.

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