With the pandemic in full swing and many dealer principals operating by appointment only, we wanted to revisit a topic which has now become more important than ever… thus the title of this writing. Before we all got sucker-punched by a circumstance no one saw coming, I was constantly and consistently encouraging sales associates, especially the newbies, to consider running their sales activity lives by appointment. The funny (not funny “ha-ha”, but odd and amazing type of funny) thing is that even the owners, sales managers and experienced piano sales pros get very lax in their habits and forget the value of appointments. In fact, with digital marketing and great follow up, we should all endeavor (when it resumes) to make walk-in traffic the icing on the old proverbial cake.
Let’s examine some innate and inarguably solid facts about the selling positives that appointments provide us. In support of my statement that, “I’ve always encouraged living your piano sales life by appointment” and to see a list of these benefits please read these past but “even more relevant than” ever articles:
In my last article entitled “ Selling Confidence During a Psychological Storm”, I shared a script example of how to sell the value of “one-on-ones” in a believable way, to prospects in our current environment. Here it is again:
Dear ____________, for the sake of honoring your time and mine I’d like permission to ask you a few brief questions about the type of piano you may be most interested in and here is the reason why. Because we are the regional representative for __________________(name of anchor piano brand) we have many responsibilities to service and care for our past customers along with organizing all of the increased (critical word to use) need for people who are needing music in their lives. In times like these music becomes an emotional lifeline for countless people.
You can understand the need for us to organize all of this interest so that everyone safely gets what they need. What day this week etc., etc then on to setting the appointment.
Embedded in the event article is an area which is critical to appointment setting success in event settings, here is an example that can be used for “day-to-day” appointment setting. It is designed to facilitate the highest possible attendance rate:
Thank you so much for allowing me to provide pianos for you to consider as your new family member! As I stated, I’ll have three or four pianos in your price range prepped and sanitized for your consideration Thursday at 2:00pm on our showroom floor. We are located at 1234 Firestone Lane in the Industrial Park just off of the loop. Your confirmation number is: 75189A. Upon receiving a return email from you, your date and time will be confirmed.
Please accept my gratitude for the opportunity to serve your musical needs and I look forward to your return email as well as your visit.
At Your Service,
Regional Piano Specialist
P.S. Please let me know at least 24-48 hours in advance if you are unable to attend so we can reschedule and I can stay as organized as possible in how I serve the public demand.
I want to stress that “casual” appointments are the enemy! For years I’ve heard event coordinators recite an appointment number and ask, “do you have something to write with?” then tell the person to “please call them so they can give the time slot to the next person in line” if they need to cancel or reschedule. I don’t know that I would use that verbiage for a day-to-day sales appointment, but one thing I do believe is that verbal confirmations are weak compared to the attendance rate that can be achieved by getting an email back from the prospect. In fact, if you do not receive an email back, you should go right back into the appointment setting process via phone, text and email (listed in priority order) reminding the prospect(s) that you would really appreciate an email back so that you can have the instruments that are perfect for them to consider ready to meet them. Until they DO email you back, you have a “casual” or “intended” appointment, which they are happy to own in order to decide closer to the time the appointment is to occur whether or not to exercise the option to visit and play or receive a demo of their options.
You don’t have to be strong personality wise, but if you stick to this habit/protocol, you will have the highest possible attendance rate and avoid many, many of those emotional “down” experiences that happen when you think you have a sales opportunity and no one shows up.
Every circumstance life throws at us is an opportunity to improve and become stronger and better than before. There are some sales associates who don’t have the habit of running their day-to-day sales lives using a disciplined appointment protocol. If you fall into that category, we just gave you a method that can easily double your income. If you are a dealer principal or sales manager who isn’t sure that everyone in your staff is encouraging appointments at every appropriate juncture and nailing down the confirmation process in writing – give this try. If you are already doing these things, don’t feel like I wasted your time reviewing these important selling items because as I’ve said many times in the past: “Fundamentals are Never Obsolete!”
We are always on the anvil; by trials God is shaping us for higher things – Henry Ward Beecher