Shut Up About the Appointments Already!


This may sound like strange advice since I teach dealers how to implement both an Appointment Culture and The Perfect Appointment in their dealerships… but, will you please shut up about the appointments already?

You are failing to set real appointments that show and buy, precisely because you talk so much about appointments that your salespeople and BDC agents can’t see the forest for the trees. (That is, they think appointments are the goal, so they only try to set appointments. Unfortunately, prospects have no idea what an “appointment” is with a car dealership.)

Your team suffers from Appointment Tunnel Vision or ATV. The managers scream about appointments; the walls are covered with appointment boards; they’re paid for appointments that show – who could blame them.

Appointments, appointments, appointments!!!

If it’s appointments you want, then stop talking about “appointments!” Stop tracking “appointments;” stop paying for “appointments.” It’s the only way your team can recover from ATV. Not sure what I mean, consider the following:

I teach this:

“… We have two test drives open on that Taurus this morning. We have a 1015 and a 1045, which one of those works better for you?”

Then I hear the salesperson say this:

“I have two appointments open today. I have a 1015 and a 1045, which one of those works better for you?”

What’s the difference you ask?

The first request sounds helpful and creates urgency. In the prospect’s mind, the salesperson is working to schedule a test drive for the prospect on a vehicle that clearly has a lot of interest (since there are only two open test drives this morning). Plus, because the request indicates “this morning,” there is the likelihood that later test drives might be available, if the prospect cannot make the earlier times.

The second request sounds inconvenient and controlling. In the prospect’s mind, the salesperson is just filling their tight schedule without regard to what the prospect wants. Plus, because the request indicates “today,” the prospect may assume this salesperson (and perhaps this dealership) isn’t a fit given their rigid schedules.

While you want your salespeople and agents to maintain control of the call, you don’t want them to sound controlling. You want them to come across as accommodating as they pull the prospect through the phone and drop them in your dealership for their scheduled appointment.

What about the voicemails?

I’m not even sure why we mention appointments in a prospect voicemail. Are we trying to scare them away before we’ve even reconnected? Are we trying to confuse them with our talk of these “appointments?” Why do we even utter the word “appointment” when leaving a voicemail for a non-responsive prospect?

Oh yeah, because no one at our dealership will shut up about the damn appointments!

I recently heard this voicemail on one of our comprehensive 7-day mystery shopsconfused

“… I was calling to see if you’d like to schedule an appointment on the 2012 BMW.”

Can you also hear the prospect’s thoughts?

“An appointment? Why in the hell would I want to schedule an appointment? Damn; is that how these guys operate? I just want to come in and test drive the car – I don’t want to schedule an appointment. What does that even mean?”

If you must mention appointments in a voicemail, it should sound something like this:

“… We’ve had a lot of interest in that beautiful BMW and I currently have a few test drives open on it today. Please call me back ASAP so that you don’t miss your chance at this great vehicle.”

Stop saying “Appointment!”

If you want to live in an Appointment Culture, you need to strike the word “appointment” from your vocabulary when speaking with prospects. Salespeople and BDC Agents don’t schedule “Appointments,” they schedule “Priority Test Drives” and “Professional Appraisals.”

If you really want to start setting more appointments that show, then stop trying to schedule appointments! Appointments are what you want – not what the prospect wants. They want to test drive your new car or have their vehicle appraised. Start thinking in their terms and you’ll start setting real appointments that show and buy!

Good selling!