Ever have plans to meet a friend at a specific time for dinner, only to have the person show up 15 minutes late? Or how about when you go to an appointment with your trainer and you have to wait for 20 minutes, after you’d rushed to get to there on time. Annoying, right? So my question: Why would we subject our prospects to those experiences?
It’s been said that punctuality is the soul of business. And I couldn’t agree more. A salesperson must be punctual. Always.
When a prospect blocks out time to meet with you, you have to move the proverbial heaven and earth to make the meeting happen at the time you’ve committed to. And that usually means planning on arriving at their office five or ten minutes before the appointed meeting time.
It is important to be punctual because it makes a great impression on people. When you are late, it is disrespectful to those who have to wait for you. It shows a kind of arrogance – making it appear that your time is more important than theirs. And that’s not the perception you want on an appointment with a prospect.
Keep these scheduling tips in mind as it will help you treat your own time, and the time of your prospects, with the respect it deserves.
- Schedule firm appointments (Yes, I will meet you at 2:00 pm on Thursday) around a nearby soft appointment where a prospect indicates they will be available but you have to call to reconfirm the meeting. This keeps you from wasting your time should the soft appointment not happen.
- On those rare occasions when you can’t make a schedule appointment (family emergency, travel delays, car trouble – not a traffic jam!) call ahead, explain the problem and reschedule the meeting.
- Try not to overbook yourself. If you simply can’t make a certain date and time, it’s best just to say so…if you schedule appointments too tight together you run the risk of not being punctual.
- Perhaps the most effective tip is to be early. There are so many unpredictables and it’s virtually impossible to arrive at the exact time. Many people are overoptimistic in their estimation of travel time and end up being late. It’s much easier to arrive earlier. I find it can be a good time to check and answer emails before I walk in.
And finally, remember who really is in charge. If your client needs a few extra minutes to resolve an office crisis before sitting down to meet with you, be patient. If you’re frustrated about it, don’t let it show. You don’t want the meeting with a prospect who might turn into a client to get derailed before it starts!