Newest data confirms that 20% of your buyers call you in advance of their visit and 20% email you in advance of their visit. (This is much higher for “destination stores”.) 60% of buyers still walk in directly. How to set an appointment with these 40% of buyers will continue to determine your success. There is a right way to do it (hard-core) and a less successful way to do it (soft-core). Here is the skinny.
How to Set an Appointment: Soft-core
If you don’t tell them exactly how and when you want them to come, they’ll rarely choose to do it when you want. Don’t beat around the bush when it comes to selecting times for a customer’s visit. I’ve written in a past blog about how to set an appointment by not being John Michael Montgomery. Yet whenever I train a new client, I hear open ended questions (ex. “When do you think you might wanna come in?” or just agents leaving it wide open (ex. “We’re open all day from 9am to 7pm. We look forward to seeing you then.”) Think of how your doctor’s office would be if they set soft-core appointments. The waiting room would be a madhouse and no one would get treatment quickly. This is soft-core appointment setting. Don’t leave the dates and times up to the customers. Don’t be soft.
How to Set an Appointment: Hard-core
This doesn’t mean to be demanding or aggressive. This means you need to have rigidity in your invitation by asking either-or questions (ex. “Right now or later today?“). Then, you must drill down (ex. “Morning, afternoon, or evening? We have a 1:15 or a 2:30, which works better for you?“). You need to always offer a couple options and let them decide between what you presented. This is the best way to lock them down and improve your show ratios. This is doing it hard-core.
Our goal is to please callers and online prospects, but I submit to you maintaining some control over the variables offered will lead them toward a shown appointment more often than not. We want to show them we’re flexible and will bend over backwards to treat them with respect. But they are far less likely to show with soft-core tactics vs. hard-core tactics. Do yourself a favor and get right to the point. Be direct in your appointment setting. Whether they realize it or not, they’ll appreciate having you in control.