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Setting appointments can boost sales

September 8, 2003
Filed under Archives

Your salespeople should average at least one kept appointment with a prospective customer each day (i.e. be-backs, past owners, referrals, and personal contacts (call-in or Web-in). These are customers who show up at a predetermined, fixed time.
Acquiring kept appointments is one of the most successful practices you can teach your salespeople. If they talk to 10 customers (on the showroom floor) and sell two of them, they have a 20% closing ratio. By the way, that’s far better than average.
Now let’s compare. Instead of these showroom floor opportunities, they have 10 customers who are “kept appointments.” These are people who show up at the agreed-upon time. How many do you think they are going to close? My experience shows between five and seven. Therefore, you have more than doubled your closing ratio.
Your salesperson might say, “Mr. Customer, I’m here from bell-to-bell tomorrow. Come on in anytime.” If this customer returns, they are a be-back but not a kept appointment.
Conversely, if you’re salesperson says, “Mr. Customer I’ll be available tomorrow morning at 9 o’clock or noon. Which of these is the best time for you?” If the customer shows up at a predetermined time, it is a kept appointment.
So, when should your salespeople make these appointments? During times that don’t conflict with heavy customer traffic flow (e.g., Saturday). Walk-in floor opportunities are important. You must have coverage. Kept appointments are plus business that should be handled during slower times.
Working by appointment in the Sales Department makes good business sense. First, it will sell you more vehicles. Second, the personalized attention the customer perceives (because of the appointment) helps increase customer satisfaction ratings. Lastly, the more time spent with the customer may equate to higher gross profits.
Here’s a technique that could enable a salesperson to consistently sell 20 units a month.
If a salesperson works, let’s say, 22 days a month and gets only two floor opportunities (on average) per day — that is, 44 floor opportunities per month. If you use a 20% closing ratio, that equals almost nine units sold. Can a salesperson live off of nine units? Under most situations the answer is no!
Now if during these same 22 days, a salesperson gets one kept appointment per day, times a 50% closing ratio, they will sell 11 additional units. That is how you sell 20 units. And should floor traffic drop off, your salespeople are still going to survive.
This is what I call the One-A-Day Sales Vitamin. Every day, each salesperson must get one kept appointment. That is all it takes to stay healthy.
A word of caution, don’t let them get discouraged. They may have to make two appointments to get one kept appointment. Half of the customers may not show. But if you get one kept appointment per day from each of your salespeople, your sales will skyrocket! Don’t forget, it’s your job to stimulate floor opportunities each day. Make it their job to get one kept appointment each day.
So, where can your salespeople get kept appointments? They can start with their showroom floor opportunity follow-up. Where do they get those names? From your Showroom Customer Log, of course!

  • If a salesperson works 22 days a month and gets two showroom floor opportunities per day, the total opportunities is 44.
  • We already figured they’ll sell 9 of those. That leaves 35 unsold prospects right there.
  • Out of the 35, you can bet that with good phone skills they can make appointments with 10 of the 35.
  • Half of those 10 prospects will actually show up, which is 5. Of those 5 prospects, your salesperson will sell two or three units.
  • And that’s just off the spillover from the showroom be-backs.
  • So when a salesperson says to you, “Where do I go to get a kept appointment,” you say, “Let’s start with your be-backs.”
    Another great way to get kept appointments is phone-in or Web-in inquiries. These are prospects with a predisposition to buy. When? SOON! That makes them very hot prospects.

    Next time: The showroom floor

    Author, speaker and educator, Gart Sutton has been retained by every major powersports manufacturer and distributor. He is a frequent keynote speaker for national motorcycle conventions and state Motorcycle Dealer Association events. Visit www.gartsutton.com

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