I do not train sales reps on my chosen topics because it sounds good only in my mind. I train the proper way of setting appointments with inbound sales callers because I too have been a customer. Today’s shoppers have perceptions about salespeople (often undeserved) and expectations about their preferred buying experience (deserved). Adhering to the Golden Rule of sales prospecting and setting sales appointments goes a long way to winning them and feeling good about yourself. And it’s the foundation for solid lead generation activities.
It is acceptable to assume the availability of your product while on the phone with a caller. You cannot know with 100% certainty of any inventory’s accuracy. Not when our own websites are only 95% accurate given how long it takes some inventory to come off our sites. It must be said, though, if you know something is no longer in-stock, DO NOT LIE and say it is. I shouldn’t have to educate sales teams and individual salespeople with my ‘Don’t Lie’ mantra, but it is necessary for some to hear when it comes to selling any product or service. Don’t waste your opportunity for a quality sales pitch and ruin your chance to build rapport.
Don’t Just Assume, Confirm
Now, let’s say you’ve assumed the availability and have set an appointment with a qualified prospect to visit and see your merchandise. The moment you hang up the phone, confirm availability. Whether that means checking with a sales manager, or inventory manager, walking through a warehouse, or finding it and placing your hand upon it, you want to know it is in stock. If it isn’t available and you assumed incorrectly (or misspoke), don’t let them come in just to learn otherwise. Spend a few minutes researching comparable inventory and finding similar products that may also work for them. Then pick up the phone and call.
The prospect deserves a call back with this new information. This is the Golden Rule of Appointments and why setting appointments that show are made in the first place. It is your duty (nay: your responsibility) to contact that customer back and alert them to this new information while simultaneously presenting them with other options to consider.
Appointment Setting Tips
After providing them with those alternatives, do your best to maintain that appointment. Many will say “yes”, and some will say “no”. Either way, the shopper deserves the respect of being told truthful information and they will appreciate you updating them. (As a matter of fact, at any time after scheduling the appointment, if the inventory they hope to see is sold, make that call. Text them the update. Bring this to their attention.)
Imagine you set an appointment to see your doctor. You take a half day off work, drive 15 minutes to see them, walk up to the desk past all the sick people, and sign in, only to be told “The doctor isn’t here today. I can have you meet with the gyno if you’d like to see a tongue depressor.” You’d be upset.
Setting appointments with the Golden Rule is customer service 101 and goes a long way toward being a credible sales department. If you choose to let them come in anyway and allow them to learn they’ve been brought in under false pretenses, the results will not be positive. “Bait and switch” is written in far too many consumer reviews online.
Why is Setting Appointments Important?
Appointment setting for new and existing customers is one of the most important things a car dealer can do to ensure a positive sales experience. Often, customers come into dealerships expecting one thing and are sold something entirely different. This can be frustrating and lead to negative reviews or even legal action.
By booking an appointment with customers, ensuring they understand what they’re coming in for, and addressing their pain points, dealerships can avoid these problems and establish themselves as credible, customer-focused businesses. Setting appointments may seem small, but it can make all the difference in the world regarding your dealership’s reputation.
The Golden Rule for Setting Appointments
To paraphrase the Golden Rule for salespeople, if you don’t ever want someone to screw you over, it’s not right for you to screw someone over. Knowingly lying to someone doesn’t make you a good salesperson. It makes you a liar. Your dealership sales training sessions should have covered this on day one. Check out these 85 key sales statistics for more help understanding their importance. Another goal should be to demonstrate the best performance possible to help build internal case studies of performance excellence to motivate and train other appointment setters.
And liars help their companies get reviews like this…