Selling: Step One is Get An Appointment

Most people misunderstand the beginning of the sales process. The point of your very first interaction with a prospective client/patient/customer is to get them to invite you into his/her world. Sometimes this invitation is really a request to come to your office and see you and sometimes this invitation is a request to have you visit them. The key is to get an appointment to discuss the client’s situation.

That is step one.


This is Dave Lorenzo with Valtimax Consulting. Today we’re talking about step one in the sales process and step one really is to gain an understanding for what the client, patient or customer is facing and then helping them understand what it is they need in getting them to want what they need.

What does this really mean to you? This means that you just need to get an appointment to sit down with a client, patient or customer face to face and have them tell you what’s going on in their life or in their business. That’s step one.

So many times, I meet professionals and folks in other businesses who want to sell somebody on their service, on their product immediately the first time they meet them. That’s not the best approach in 90 percent of the cases. So I’m going to describe a couple of scenarios for you to help you understand how you can get the sales process started.

If you’re a professional and you are in the business of having people come to you, so you’re in a medical office or you are a lawyer, an accountant, and people come to you generally for initial consultation. Here’s the way to go about this process.

The phone rings and people will usually have a lot of questions when the person on the other end of the phone answers the phone. You absolutely want to answer as many of the questions as you can and then say to them, “How would you like to proceed?” and they will always ask for information as to what the next steps are.

At that point, you invite them in to have a consultation. Now if you’re soliciting the business, if you’re calling on someone, who perhaps doesn’t even know you’re going to be calling, it’s called a cold call. If you’re doing that, the way to approach things is to call up and ask the person if they have a few minutes to discuss what’s going on in their business with you and you explain to them that you’re in the business of solving certain types of problems.

So let’s say you’re in the credit card processing business. You’re in the business of helping people save money on their credit card processing. You have a few minutes for me to come in, take a look at what you’re doing and discuss some ways that we can help you.

We’re in the business of helping people get paid. We have some unique and totally exclusive ways to help merchants get paid. I like to come in and see if any of them could be a benefit to you and then you stay silent and see what they say. Oftentimes, people don’t know what they need and you have to help them understand what their needs are.

I prefer to do this by using consumer-driven data and providing them with some information. So here’s another approach you can take. You can call people up on the phone and say, “Hi. My name is Dave Lorenzo and I’m in the business of helping people just like yourself make more money with the resources that you currently have. I’m going around in the area and doing presentations for all the people who are in your business,” and you name some of the competitors that you’re doing presentations for. “And I’m showing them how they could take advantage of a new trend in consumers using,” and you talk about whatever it is, the service that they provide.

So let’s say you’re calling on pizza shops. “Hi, Mr. Pizza Owner. My name is Dave Lorenzo and I’m calling to invite you to a presentation that we’re giving to all the pizza shop owners in the area. I’m going to Joe’s and I’m going to Luigi’s next week and we’re going to be delivering a presentation on the new demographics in the market and how you can take advantage of them to sell more pizza.

We’ve just done a great study and that study has indicated that there’s an opportunity in the market for you to capture some business that you’re not already getting. Would you have some time next week for me to come in and give this presentation to you?”

Now the demographic study that I’m talking about is simply looking at the area and determining where there are more children and helping them see that they could benefit by delivering pizzas to that area. You can do this in any industry. It’s very simple market research. It gets you an opportunity to get in front of that business owner.

Once you get in front of that business owner and you’ve explained to him how you can improve his business, he’s going to ask what you do and you’re going to get the opportunity to show him and tell him. If he asks on the phone what it is you do, you should always be upfront and tell him exactly what you do.

The key to getting an appointment with anyone at anytime if you’re looking to get an appointment with a business owner is to provide them with some helpful information that can be a benefit to them.

You may only get three appointments out of every 10 people that you call upon but that’s three more appointments than you would have had anyway. In professional services, when people call you, you want to take the opportunity to answer all their questions and then ask them how they would like to proceed.

When they say that they’re not sure or they want to know what the next steps are, you invite them in for a consultation based upon whatever your consultation procedure is. It’s that simple.

The key is to remember that the first step in the sales process is to get an appointment to have a conversation. You’re not selling anything. You’re looking to get an appointment.

My name is Dave Lorenzo and if you would like more great tips just like these on productivity improvement, business strategies, sales and marketing, you can find me at Thanks for watching. Have a fantastic day.