One of the questions I am asked very often during my Sales Master Classes is ‘should I reconfirm the appointment the day before or on the morning of the appointment and before I leave for the meeting?’
If you have already confirmed the appointment when you first made it, either in writing by snail mail or e-mail, then my answer is an emphatic ‘NO’, and here is why.
There is only one reason you could have for doing so which is to avoid making a journey to visit your prospect, only to find they are either not there or not available and you would therefore have a wasted journey. The danger of re-confirming is that you give them the opportunity to cancel.
I am the first to admit that in my early days as a salesperson, I used to re-confirm the meeting the day before. When I did that, I very often had the prospect say something like “I’m so pleased you called. I was just about to call you and tell you something really important came up and I can’t make it. Can you call me next week to re-appoint?” When I did call again the following weekI was very often unable to get through to them, and if I did, I frequently had to re-sell the appointment all over again.
I keep meticulous notes of just about everything that is related to selling activities. I learned that from Frank Bettger in his book titled ‘How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success In Selling’. That was written in 1949 and I still think it is amongst the best salesbooks ever written. So I started to track the results of what happened when I did reconfirm appointments and what happened when I did not. These are the results:
Out of 620 sales appointments I made during the course of one year and confirmed at the time of making them, I reconfirmed 310 and just turned up for the other 310.
Of the 310 I reconfirmed, 65 told me they were unable to keep the appointment.
Of those 65, I was only able to reappoint 15. So I had 260 meetings.
Of the 310 I did not reconfirm, 9 were not available when I arrived. I reappointed all but one. So I had 309 meetings.
My closing ratios were identical from both groups.
If you would prefer to keep your own records for a while, then please do so. Or you can take my experience as your guideline and do as I do – NEVER RE-CONFIRM. If your prospect needs to cancel or postpone your meeting, most will be polite enough to call you or have someone call on their behalf.