Are they really not home?

7 replies
Have you ever driven 20 miles for an appointment only to find out the homeowner or prospect has just stepped out and will be back later? This is the most frustrating part of sales calls. Even if I've confirmed the appointment the day before or day of, it seems unavoidable. Sometimes I wonder if the person is really home but just avoiding the sales call. Do these people just cave in to sales pressure and allow the appointment and then just decide not to go through with it?
#shows #stop
  • Profile picture of the author Rearden
    Welcome to Sales -- it happens to every salesperson, from neophyte to veteran.

    I probably have 2 or 3 out of 10 set appointments no show me weekly.

    A lot of it depends on the quality of people you call on; some of it depends on how you set the appointment.

    The way around it? Have 5 pre-set appointments each day in the field. Nothing sucks more than going out for just 1 appointment, just to be stood-up and nothing to do.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    "Is there anything that could come up, or any reason you would want to change your mind and cancel the appointment?"

    Ask this right after you set it. You can even say you don't want to drive 20 miles for no reason. If they don't take you seriously, you don't take them seriously.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
      Additionally, don't call the day before to confirm anything. This gives them the opportunity to change or cancel the appointment.

      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      "Is there anything that could come up, or any reason you would want to change your mind and cancel the appointment?"

      Ask this right after you set it. You can even say you don't want to drive 20 miles for no reason. If they don't take you seriously, you don't take them seriously.
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  • Profile picture of the author longrobnc
    This is a rare occurrence at my business. I tell my staff to be very careful about who they schedule for on site visits. If a person is unsure or seems a bit iffy we give them limited information over the phone and invite them to call us back when they want us to come out. If they do book then we generally call them when we are en route and not the day before. If they don't answer or make themselves available then we cancel the appointment. I have had staff members shocked that I turn customers away, but I have a pretty good sense of when I'm wasting my time. Chasing the wrong people has been a huge waste of resources for us in the past.

    The rule that I live by is that if I have to beg/push for an appointment then we are a bad fit. I've also closed dozens of sales by telling people outright that I think that they are wasting my time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jay Levine
    When I first opened my photo studio a decade ago, I found out real fast that people didn't show for appointments. I immediately started charging $50 to "hold the time open" for them. No-shows were cut by about 90%. And when they didn't show, I made $50 for spending 10 minutes on the phone. Win win - for me anyway.

    This probably won't help your situation, but maybe you'll come up with something that will work for your situation. Some of the suggestions above look good.
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by Samuel Adams View Post

    Have you ever driven 20 miles for an appointment only to find out the homeowner or prospect has just stepped out and will be back later? This is the most frustrating part of sales calls. Even if I've confirmed the appointment the day before or day of, it seems unavoidable. Sometimes I wonder if the person is really home but just avoiding the sales call. Do these people just cave in to sales pressure and allow the appointment and then just decide not to go through with it?
    I'm assuming you're talking about in home sales by appointment. I did it for 30 years. Like Reardon said; Welcome to sales.

    I would always book my appointments two at a time, and not for 6 PM, but for 6-7 PM. If the first appointment held, I'd call the next one & push it back or reschedule. I would never do that twice to a prospect. In other words, once I rescheduled, I made them the first place I would go.

    It would be two appointments for 6-7 PM and one from 8-9 PM. It worked out well.

    But if I had only one appointment for 6 PM? ...and they weren't home? (it as always to avoid a salesman) I'd stop back at 8 or 8:30 with a horrible story about why I couldn't make the appointment on time, but I promised my boss not to "stand them up", because that wouldn't be ethical.

    They would nearly always let me in for the appointment, and they would never tell me that they weren't there earlier.

    If it's a referral, I would be nicer, and call the referrer asking if they knew of an emergency with their friends. I would act like the furthest thing from my mind is that they would have stood me up. Because I knew they were such good people..that they would never do that.

    I always played nice. But if they gave me their word, that they would be there...and they weren't? Now I knew the rules. And it was a game.

    If there was a real emergency? They would have left a note on the door. And even then, it's usually just to escape a salesman.

    But, once caught, they were soooo easy to sell.

    Today? I would just scratch them off my list, and never call back.

    See...they think of you as a salesman....someone to be avoided. They need to think of you as an expert...someone they want to talk to.

    If they see you as a minor celebrity...and an expert...these "no shows" will almost disappear completely.

    But that's a long discussion, played out several times here.

    Originally Posted by longrobnc View Post

    If they do book then we generally call them when we are en route and not the day before.
    Very similar to what I would do. If it was 15-20 miles away or more, I'd call as though I were half way there, asking for the correct house number. But I really hadn't left yet. It would make it difficult to get out of the appointment...and would make it very difficult for them to hide. But of course, it still happened.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      Today? I would just scratch them off my list, and never call back.

      See...they think of you as a salesman....someone to be avoided. They need to think of you as an expert...someone they want to talk to.

      If they see you as a minor celebrity...and an expert...these "no shows" will almost disappear completely.
      Yup, and this is why those books of yours are so effective. They position you as the minor celebrity.

      And I agree about the "never call back" to someone who you know has lied to you. As I said above, if they don't take you seriously, you don't take them seriously.

      I like the idea of calling to confirm the house # before you actually depart.
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