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Sales Best Practices:

Effective System for Making Appointments

By Dave Kahle (6/15/09)

All routine, sophisticated work is most effectively accomplished by implementing a system. That's one of the observations I've made in my 20+ years of experience in consulting. It doesn't matter what area of work we are considering. For example, cleaning teeth, paving a road, painting a house, laying carpet, creating your income tax returns, etc., are all routine, sophisticated jobs that are best accomplished systematically.

The job of the professional salesperson is crammed with such tasks - sophisticated tasks which we need to do over and over again. Making appointments is one such undertaking.

A system is composed, in its simplest expression, of processes, practices and tools. Processes are the step-by-step series of events that eventually lead to a goal. Practices are the behaviors which are part of the process, and tools are the specific things we use to accomplish the process.

So, for example, when it comes to making appointments, the process may look like this:

1. Create a list of prospects.
2. Research the list, and determine the highest potential.
3. Acquire their names and contact information.
4. Deliver a pre-call touch.
5. Make a phone call to acquire the appointment.
6. Repeat at least five times, if necessary.
7. If necessary, send a personal snail mail letter.
8. If necessary, make a personal cold call.

I'm not suggesting that this is the only process you could use. I am suggesting, however, that you create a similar process, designed for the specifics of your business.

There are certain key practices that make up this process. You can improve the end results of your process by improving the practices you use along the way. For example, the phone call that you make to the prospect asking for the appointment is a key behavior. You ought to concentrate on implementing that behavior ever better. Focus on each of these practices, and work on forever improving them.

Finally, you'll need a good set of tools. Your pre-call touch, for example, is a tool. As is the script that you use, the letter that you may send, etc. Like your approach to practices, your approach is to forever refine these tools.

That's what it means to have a system that you use to make appointments. This is what the best do.

About Dave Kahle: Dave Kahle is one of the country's leading sales training educators. Since 1988, Dave has worked with over 400 companies, helping them to increase their sales and develop their sales people. He's been published over 1,000 times, writes a weekly Ezine (subscribe for free at, and has authored seven books. He has a gift for creating powerful sales seminars and training events that get audiences thinking differently about sales. Dave's website is available at, and you can follow his sales blog at

More from Sales Best Practices

  1. Sales Best Practices: Systematic Approach with Competitors - 6/15/09
  2. Sales Best Practices: Unique Presence - 6/15/09
  3. Sales Best Practices: Effective System for Making Appointments - 6/15/09

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