Deadly Sins of Getting the Second Appointment
An excerpt from: “Getting the Second Appointment” by: Anthony Parinello

Have you ever encountered great difficulty getting a second appointment, such as: not getting your calls returned, having meetings cancel at the last minute or worse yet, showing up for a scheduled second appointment and having your prospect be “unavailable”?

If so, perhaps you’ve unintentionally committed one (or more) of the “deadly sins” of appointment getting! Let’s take a look at each one and as we do I hope you add them to your “not to do” list – think of how you feel when you encounter a salesperson who makes similar mistakes.

Sin Number One: Talking, Not Speaking
There is a big difference between a salesperson who talks and one who speaks. Parrots talk. Babbling infants talk. Professional salespeople speak.

The major difference between talking and speaking is purpose. Salespeople must learn to speak about their products, services and solutions with the prospect’s purpose and result in mind.

To Avoid This Deadly Sin … Focus Your Communications
Here are some tips:

1. Be very specific. Choose a topic that is likely to make sense from your prospect’s point of view.
2. Be alert. Every interaction you have with your prospects must be a learning experience. Prospects drop clues all the time as to how they want to be sold. Look for “buying signals” such as: “Would you be able to...” “Is it possible to...” “Do you charge for...” “I’d like my....” “Does it come in…” “How could we...”

Sin Number Two: Using Bad Language
The fastest way to be shunted away to someone other than the person you want to talk to – and to totally eliminate the chance of getting a second appointment -- is to use inappropriate language.

I’m not talking about foul language or jokes with “adult content. Rather, I’m talking about using vocabulary that’s unfamiliar to the person you’re speaking with.

To Avoid This Major Sin … Learn Your Prospect’s Language!
Find out what associations and professional groups your best prospects typically belong to. Then join those groups. Subscribe to their newsletter -- and read it! Order recordings, transcripts, and minutes of the workshops and meetings they have at their conventions. As you peruse these documents and recordings, make note of the most common words and these folks use to communicate. Then adopt and incorporate this kind of language into your dialogues with prospects.

Sin Number Three: Monopolizing the Conversation
We all want to be heard. However, if you want to get the second appointment you’ll realize that long monologues don’t get second appointments, but dialogues do.

To Avoid this Major Sin … Give Yourself a Time Limit (And Stick to It)
During each and every interaction with any suspect or prospect, you must seek first to understand what’s going on in the other person’s world. Here are some tips:

1. Use open-ended “prompting” questions:
• Cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.”
• Begin with the words when, what, how, why, or where.
2. Use what’s called a “clarifying question”:
• Secure the other person’s approval and prove to a greater degree that you’ve got a good understanding of what they said
• Express in your own words what you just heard
3. After you clarify with your prospect you can then use a “developmental question”:
• Encourage the other person to elaborate on what they just said
• Begin to make it possible for the other person to show their true feelings about the topic at hand.
4. Finally, you can use what I call a “social proof question”:
• Introduce a third-party that is relevant to the discussion
• May increase confidence that you can address the purpose and needs of the other person

Sin Number Four: Stretching the Truth
The “bigger is always better” mindset will do your cause more harm than good. Exaggerating capabilities is an all-too-common practice. So-called “little white lies” fall into this category as well. Over-promising and under-delivering has an unfortunate way of coming back to haunt you – and sabotage your attempts at getting a second appointment. So don’t do it.

To Avoid this Major Sin…Apply the Golden Rule:
If you ever find yourself saying, “Let me be honest with you” or “To be perfectly honest...” (as thought these were exceptional occurrences), guess what? You’re due for a truth check-up!

Start by looking at every single piece of documentation you’re currently giving to your prospects. Is each completely accurate? Are you willing to stand behind each one? If not, change them! End of conversation.

Author's Bio: 

Anthony Parinello is a Wall Street Journal best-selling author, nationally known sales trainer and Talk-show host. His books have sold hundreds of thousands of copies and he has personally trained more than one million salespeople. To find out more visit his web site at or tune-in to his weekly Internet talk show at You can order his newest book “Getting the Second Appointment” How to Close any Sale in Two Call on and www.Barnes&