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Sales Reps: It’s Not Your Prospect’s Job to Pick a Meeting Time

I recently received an email from a very friendly sales rep who was trying to schedule a meeting with me to talk about his company’s product. The messaging was direct and relevant, but it was how the rep closed the email that bothered me.

“Here’s a link to my calendar. Is there a time that works for you in the next week?”

On the surface, encouraging a prospect to check out your calendar and pick a time that works for them might seem helpful.

But it annoyed me.

As someone who works in the tech industry — and works with others who are very tech savvy — I’m not unused to seeing new ways of trying to improve personal productivity. But, frankly, I think it’s arrogant to assume that a prospect (or a customer, for that matter) will be willing to drop what they’re doing and hunt through your calendar to find a time that works for a meeting.

If you’re the one doing the selling, then it’s your job to do that work, not the prospect’s.

So, What’s a Better Solution?

It’s not a new idea, but the better approach is to suggest two options for a meeting — preferably at different times of day and on different days of the week. That way, a prospect can quickly check both times on their calendar and see which one works best. If neither option works, and the prospect is still interested in talking with you, then they’ll frequently suggest an alternate day or time.

You win! Appointment scheduled.

If you’re feeling really bold, you might even consider sending calendar invitations for both times you suggested.

It’ll only take your prospect a moment to click through to her calendar and confirm if one of the times will work, or suggest an alternative time. Either way, you’re simplifying the process for the prospect and avoiding the risk of offending them by asking them to do the work for you.

Flexibility is a Cop Out

Ultimately, this all ties back to the misplaced belief that flexibility helps build relationships with prospects and improves closing ratios. In reality, flexibility is a cop out — and, as I wrote in this post, it very often hurts your ability to close sales.

Instead, your goal should be to start relationships off on the right foot by showing prospects that you’re willing to work for them by confidently delivering informed, relevant recommendations. Yes, that even includes meeting requests. At the end of the day, you want to make things as easy as possible for the prospect, not turn them into your admin.


kendra-leeKendra Lee is president of KLA Group, which works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment. Read more blogs from Kendra here.

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6 Comments

Comments

    Christy Sacco:

    Could not agree more!! This is incredibly annoying.

      Joe Panettieri:

      Hey Christy: Thanks for stopping by. Your note is one reason why we were happy to reconnect with Kendra Lee a few months after launching ChannelE2E.
      -jp

    Jay McBain:

    I respectfully disagree – I have used a calendar tool (http://jaymcbain.youcanbook.me) for over a year and the feedback has been great.

    On the flip side, when someone sends their calendar I feel more flexibility as I can find a time that really works well for me, as opposed to trying to fit the 2 times they suggest.

    – Jay

      Dave Sobel:

      Only if it’s someone you know. For a stranger? Who is selling to me? That gets a delete.

        Jay McBain:

        100% agree to that.

    Joe Panettieri:

    Amid this debate, I think we can all agree that Jay has the best photo here. Mine is the worst. And Dave’s is somewhere in between 😉

    Kidding aside: I appreciate the varying viewpoints. As do our readers.
    -jp

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