Set More First Appointments with This Up-Front Approach

You’ve got a new prospect on the phone. You’re working to break down his initial resistance and to set that critical first appointment.

If you can increase your odds--even a little bit--of getting to “yes,” you’ll set more appointments, begin relationships with more good prospects, and end up with more sales.

How? Try this idea:

Use an “Up-Front Contract,” a Sandler Sales Training technique for creating positive client relationships that can help you set more appointments in the first place.

The Tactic: Clearly Define the Meeting

David Sandler, Founder of Sandler Sales Training, has a great rule:

“No mutual mystification.”

The rule reminds you that surprises erode trust--that essential element in the relationship between you and your prospect.

Surprises occur when you promise one thing (e.g., a no-strings-attached appointment to exchange ideas) and deliver another (a hard sell of your product). They make you appear manipulative, especially to prospects who already expect you to say anything to get your foot in the door.

Up-Front Contracts (UFCs) appeal to your prospect, because they offer assurance that there won’t be any surprises.

According to Sandler Sales Training, UFCs include the following:

  • The purpose of the meeting
  • The prospect’s agenda for the meeting and expectations of the sales rep before and during the meeting
  • The sales rep’s agenda for the meeting, and expectations of the prospect before and during the meeting
  • The date, location, and duration of the meeting
  • The expected outcome of the meeting

When you invite your prospects to work with you to set the ground rules for and purpose of your appointment, they see you as a straight shooter, and they know exactly what to expect--no surprises, curveballs, or bait-and-switches.

The Result: More Appointments Now (and Stronger Client Relationships Down the Road)

When your prospects see you as an honest broker and know how they stand to benefit from a meeting with you… well, they’re more likely to agree to meet with you!

Maybe that means an extra appointment (or two, or three) every week or month. Or maybe it means a sit-down with a big client that otherwise would never have given you a shot.

Any way you look at it, it means more opportunities for you to turn a prospect into a customer, and a more predictable and controlled process for sealing the deal.

For more on the benefit of using an Up-Front Contract, check out this video: