Salespeople are constantly getting pulled in many different directions, juggling so many clients, prospects, and their own lives to boot. When something unexpected happens and you need to reschedule a sales call at the last-minute, it feels like a big deal.
You’re breaching the trust of your prospect or client, especially when they already took time out of their equally busy day to meet with you. Considering how powerful trust is to building the relationship with your prospects and closing sales, rescheduling a phone call can be the end of the deal if you aren’t careful.
Here are five strategies to help you reschedule these important sales calls without making your prospects feel neglected or stood up:
1. Share collateral prospects can review
The worst thing that can happen when you reschedule or cancel a sales call is that your prospect loses interest or forgets about you. In order to avoid letting them happen, make sure to send them any deliverables you were going to go over during the call, or some basic sales materials for them to peruse.
You can simply send a message along the lines of “even though I have to reschedule, here is the quote (or another piece of information) I promised you. Take the chance to look at it and we will discuss when we get time to talk later.”
By doing this, you keep the prospect involved in building a relationship with you and show that you did indeed take the time to put their deliverables together. This shows that you’re dedicated to them, and not simply blowing them off completely, restoring a bit of the trust you lost.
2. Book a new meeting immediately
Simply landing the initial phone call is often one of the hardest parts of a sale, so you can’t let it go without a fight. When you speak with your prospect or send a message canceling your call, make sure to include suggestions for the new time.
If you’re sending the message over email, reschedule in Google Calendar or Outlook and send the new invitation right away. This ensures that you stay on their calendar and don’t get lost in the shuffle.
3. Offer maximum flexibility
Your prospects are just as busy as you are. If it’s difficult to find a time that works for you during normal business hours, it’s probably just as hard for them. To show your appreciation for their time, offer them as much flexibility as possible.
If they’re local, offer to buy them lunch or coffee and handle the sales pitch then. If they’re too busy still, offer to speak with them before or after your normal office hours. This shows that you’re willing to bend your schedule for them and gives them a number of options to ensure that your next scheduled call definitely takes place.
4. Do it over the phone
Sending an email is much more convenient than picking up the phone, but for difficult messages, it’s not the most effective method. It’s extremely difficult to get the tone and emotional message right in an email.
You can write the most sincere apology possible but it will still be easy for a prospect to misinterpret it as hurried or insincere. Over the phone, even on a voicemail, they’ll be able to listen to the inflections and tone of your voice, leaving much less up to interpretation. For such a delicate message, it’s dangerous to leave anything up to chance.
It’s important to keep in mind that leaving a voicemail is advisable, but you cannot assume a prospect will have time to check it. If you do leave a voicemail, follow it up with a brief, apologetic email that notes you left a voicemail, too.
5. Don’t wait
Giving bad news isn’t fun, so it’s easy to put dialing that phone call off. The less notice you give your prospect, however, the more disruptive to their day it is.
Don’t wait in hope that your schedule will magically clear, even if there’s a chance it will. Reach out to your prospect the second you know there’s a conflict and you’ll have a much better chance of landing the critical reschedule.
Rebooking a sales call with a prospect who’s expecting you is tricky. You need to make sure that they feel important while still pushing them off to a new time slot. By following the advice outlined above, you should be able to move the call to a new schedule without hurting your relationship or the chances of closing the sale.