Can’t Get an Appointment? Try Harder, Try Smarter.

Can’t Get an Appointment? Try Harder, Try Smarter.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

The guy won’t appoint me.
I can’t get an appointment.
He didn’t show for his appointment.
He won’t commit to an appointment.
She won’t return my phone call.
He has rescheduled me three times in two weeks.

Welcome to the reality of a salesperson. The above situations are not problems, they are symptoms. When these symptoms (excuses) occur, there are unstated but obvious objections. Pick the one that applies to you. If you think none of these apply to you, think again.

  • You haven’t established enough interest.
  • You haven’t given any value.
  • You haven’t created or uncovered need.
  • You are unable to or have not established any rapport.
  • The prospect is already doing business with someone she is satisfied with.
  • You have been talking (telling) instead of asking (selling).
  • The prospect doesn’t see you as important enough to carve out time to meet.
  • The prospect feels “sale” rather than “relationship.”
  • The prospect has an unfavorable impression of you, your company, or your product.

Get creative, Jack (Jackie). You’re not going to let little things like that prevent you from achieving your objective are you?

Here are some strategies and tactics that have worked:

Get referred Find someone you know, who knows who you want to meet with. Get them to call Mr. Elusive for you, if possible, (to smooth the way, or find out the real reason he won’t see you).

Send an email Send a referral letter, a top ten list, a cartoon, your calendar for next week with the open times circled. Use it to open the door.

Send a plant, flowers or a small gift You will be amazed how much ice you can melt with a small gift. Flowers can get through a brick wall no matter how thick it is. The right gift basket will bring remarkable response.

Get close to the administrative person who knows your prospect best Find out what your prospect likes. Their typical schedule arrival and departure times. Gather information.

Arrange to meet the prospect at a networking event Trade association meeting, Chamber of Commerce event, ball game. Want to know where they’ll be? Ask the prospect’s administrative person or sales team.

Send a provocative meesage without being provoking Ask questions or make statements in the message that make the prospect think. Don’t sell your product, just pique interest and sell an appointment.

A cold call just at a time when you know (from the administrative person) he’ll be there The best time for this is before the day begins or after the day is over.

Take a risk, take a chance Use your creativity. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, don’t be afraid to fail, don’t worry about rejection, and don’t quit just because some yahoo won’t see you. If you believe you can help the other person never quit.

Want a few closing lines to get the appointment? Here are three:

  • If you must use the dreaded “alternative choice” close, ask it this way: Would you rather have breakfast or lunch?
  • A better approach is to ask the prospect when are his open (best) times to meet and then suggest a meal.
  • The best approach is honesty. My objective is to help, Bill, but I don’t know if I can. We’ll exchange information at lunch. If I feel I can help you, I’ll tell you; and if I can’t help, I’ll tell you that too. FAIR ENOUGH? It’s hard to say no to that.

BONUS: There are benefits that transcend getting the appointment. Using your creative power achieves four other purposes:

  1. It will enable you to achieve your short term goal of appointing the prospect (and perhaps make the sale).
  2. It will provide you with a proven method of approach that will work again for you and for others.
  3. It will prove that your creativity is a tool you can begin to rely on.
  4. It will make you feel great that you persisted and achieved your goal.