Appointment-Driven Communications – Part 16
TRANSCRIPT: Now, because this is more of a talk track class, more of a phone skills training class, if you will, and not the full ‘Creating an Appointment Culture ‘class, we’re not going to go through all four steps of the perfect appointment, but, we will touch on two that have to do with discipline and have to do with talk tracks that are all around appointment-driven communication.
The first step of the perfect appointment is something we call ‘strong appointment setting’. Now, if you watched ‘Creating an Appointment Culture’, or you attended my class, you know that a strong appointment requires three things: it requires a specific date and time, it requires a specific goal, and, it requires a mental and verbal commitment by the prospect.
Now, in this talk track class, I’m going to teach you one other thing. We need to do a strong recap of all three. By the way, if Barbara Jones is going to come in tonight before 8:00 to test drive the 2013 Camry we have on the lot, that is not a specific day and time. It is a specific day, today, but it is not a specific time. So, that is not a strong appointment, right? If someone says, “I’ll be in on Saturday morning”, that is not a strong appointment. A specific day and time is required. The specific goal: to test drive the 2013 Camry you saw on autotrader, right? So, here’s my recap. The recap is what is going to drive the mental commitment by the prospect.
Once Barbara Jones has agreed to come in today and test drive the 2013 Camry she saw on autotrader, we’re going to say, “Okay, Mrs. Jones, just to recap…” Here’s where your team falls down, or, maybe, if you’re the seller, you fall down a lot. Mrs. Jones has agreed to come in. She says 5:15 works great for her. Your team says, “Great! We’ll see you at 5:15. Be sure and ask for me.” Boom.
We were not able to create a commitment in her mind and your show rate drops to below 60%. If you want to get an 80% show rate, we’re going to add the recap. So, when Mrs. Jones says, “Sure, I can make the 5:15 appointment”, we say, “Great! Mrs. Jones, just to recap; we’re going to see you at 5:15 tonight to test drive that 2013 Toyota Camry you saw on autotrader. Now, Mrs. Jones, we’re going to get that Camry cleaned, gassed, parked out front and ready to go so when you arrive for your test drive, you will be in and out and on your test drive in under five minutes. Mrs. Jones, if anything happens to us or that Camry, we will call you well in advance so you don’t waste a trip down here. Now, Mrs. Jones, all we ask from you is that you show us the same courtesy. So, can I count on you for tonight at 5:15?” And, then we wait. When she says, “Yes”, we have not only a verbal commitment, we have a mental commitment because she knows all of the things we’re going to do to get ready for this appointment.
Remember our goal. Our goal is an appointment that shows. Our goal is not to get off the phone. Now, an appropriate appointment confirmation, the second step to the perfect appointment, needs to be made by the manager. The managers must make the appointment confirmation calls for two reasons. One, they ensure we have strong appointment settings. So, if I’m the manager and I call Mrs. Jones, and I say, “Hey, Mrs. Jones, Steve Stauning from Century Toyota. I’m the sales manager. I can’t wait to meet you tonight at 5:15 when you test drive….”, and she stops me with “5:15! I never said 5:15, I said I’d be in before 8:00”, or she stops me and says, “I, I, I didn’t really make an appointment. I just didn’t know what to say to the guy on the phone.” We are going to unearth weak appointment settings if the manager makes the appointment confirmation calls.
Here’s the second reason to have the managers make the confirmation calls and it’s perhaps more important; it increases our show rate. If you’re setting strong appointments, your show rates are 80%, right? Now, if you have strong appointment confirmation calls by the manager, you should expect nearly a 100% show rate and those who don’t show will call you in advance to cancel. So, the manager must make the confirmation calls, and they are not, simply, “Hey, Mrs. Jones, Steve Stauning from Century Toyota. I just want to make sure we’ll see you tonight at 5:15”or “I’m just calling to confirm your appointment for 5:15.” That’s silly. No, we’re going to thank them for considering us and then we’re going to do another strong recap of the three things that are required, right? A specific date and time, a specific goal, and a mental and verbal commitment by the prospect. We’ve got to make the prospect feel guilty if they no-show.
Our goal is an appointment that shows. It’s the same goal for the managers during the appropriate appointment confirmation. So, Mrs. Jones answers the phone. I say, “Hey, Mrs. Jones, Steve Stauning calling from Century Toyota, I’m the sales manager here. I just want to thank you for giving us the chance to show you what we can do. I understand, from Bob, that we’re going to see you tonight at 5:15 to test drive that 2013 Toyota Camry. I don’t know if Bob told you or not, but we’re going to have that Camry clean, gassed, parked out front, ready to go so when you arrive for your test drive, you will, literally, be in and out in under five minutes. Now, Mrs. Jones, if anything happens to us, or that Camry, we will be sure and call you well in advance so you don’t waste a trip down here. All I ask from you, Mrs. Jones, is to give us that same courtesy. So, can I count on meeting you tonight at 5:15?” Then, if she says, “Yes”, you’ve just created the 100% show rate.
By the way, if she can’t be here at 5:15, she’ll tell us now. She really will. “Oh my gosh, they’re going to do all these things to get ready, I’m not going to no-show. Another appointment came up.” That’s okay. As the manager, we now have the chance to save the deal. We have a chance to save the appointment and schedule something for a time that fits for Mrs. Jones and, also, fits for us. So, if she says, “Oh, I can’t make it. I forgot my daughter has soccer practice. She won’t get out until 6:30”. We can say, “That’s great news, Mrs. Jones, I do have a 6:45 or a 7:15, if either of those work for you.” We need to reschedule the appointment at that time and that’s the manager’s job. That’s the appropriate appointment confirmation, and the manager is the one to do that.