How To Set Follow Up Appointments

Never leave a sales call until you have set your next appointment.

Jeb Blount
October 27, 2009

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I recently asked a veteran sales manager what her biggest pet peeve was with salespeople. Her answer surprised me. I was expecting to hear a diatribe about how they didn’t ask enough closing questions or make enough cold calls. Instead, she said that her number one issue was teaching her salespeople not to walk out of sales calls without getting a firm commitment for a next appointment. She said:

You would not believe how many times I observe salespeople at the end of the meeting say to the prospect, ‘Can I give you a call next week?’ To which the prospect says, ‘That sounds good.’ No time, no date, no real commitment. Later, these same salespeople seem to be surprised when they are unable to get back in touch with the prospect and the next meeting never materializes.

Unfortunately I have observed the same phenomenon again and again. The salesperson leaves a sales meeting with a vague agreement to get back together with the prospect and subsequently is never able to reconnect. It is mindboggling. The same salesperson who persisted through gatekeepers and rejection to get the appointment in the first place allows the deal to just slip away because they don’t gain a clear commitment for a next meeting. I believe more deals are lost this way than from any other reason.

There are many reasons salespeople do this, from laziness to fear of rejection. Frankly it doesn’t matter. This failure to execute will not be resolved by delving into the psychology of salespeople. Instead, the fix is simply adopting a systematic approach to ending each sales meeting whether that meeting is by phone, video conference, or in person.


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