A salesperson’s big dilemma – “Do I reconfirm the appointment or just turn up?

One question I am asked  frequently during my Sales Master Classes  is ‘should I reconfirm an appointment the day before or on the morning of the appointment if there is time to do so before setting out?’

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’s why.

There is only one good reason you could have for doing so, and that 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 wasted a 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.” Guess what – when next week came I was very often unable to get through to them and if I did, I had to re-sell the appointment all over again.

I keep meticulous notes of just about everything that’s 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’s one of the best books ever written on the subject of record keeping. 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 you on their behalf.


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