Phone Calling Prospects for Appointments

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Two simple concepts that will make you more effective on the phone, and minimize broken appointments.

Phone calling prospects can sometimes get confusing when contacting large numbers of people at one sitting. By using a simple coding system, you can help maximize your calling time. This coupled with properly mailing appointment reminder cards, can minimize broken appointments.

This is another article in our series on phone calling tips and concepts. It shows you how two simple concepts can help you be more organized and minimize broken appointments, when phone calling prospects.

Once I started phone calling prospects, my goal was to go through as many names as possible in the quickest and most efficient way i could. Remember do not get into conversations or product explanations. Your phone calling session is to set appointments and get through as many names as possible.

Please note that when I refer to a file card, it could also be a data card on your computer file or in your organizer, depending on what system you use to manage your prospect name inventory.

Moving on - In the process of contacting and calling each name on each card, i found that i would run into the following situations:

  1. The prospect answered the phone and I talked with him or her.
  2. The prospects wife of kids answer
  3. The answering machine picked up
  4. You got  a busy signal
  5. No one answered

So at this point I created a simple coding system, which was a shortcut i used to mark on my prospect calling cards. This coding system helped me so I did not have to write everything down or try to remember repetitious comments and what happen when i called that cold prospect card the 1st, 2nd or 3rd time.

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The prospect calling card

In my early years, when phone calling prospects,  i had to make a lot of phone calls every week. I tried to make sure I had 10 selling appointments every week. Because i was new in the business, i started at the bottom of the prospect ladder.

This resulted in me having to contact about 130 people per week on the average. Because of this high number of calls, the names, dates, times and conversations started to become entangled and overwhelming.

Somewhere early on I discovered a simple format by using circles to help me become more effective when i sat down and started to call my leads which i developed during the prior weeks.

In this example at the left, you will see 3 circles.

When I would call a name, as mentioned above, one of those 5 situations occurred.

So rather than spending the time writing down which situation occurred, I used circles to help me remember what happen with that card or name i called. I would simply enter this circle in the upper right hand corner of my prospect card.

the plain circle indicated that i dialed that number, no one answered, I got a busy signal or answering machine. In the bottom of that circle i would put in na, bs or am to represent which of these 3 situations happen. I then put that card at the bottom of my calling list and when i got done going through all my names, i would re-start calling with those my coded names again.

The circle with the horizontal line told me that i talked to wife or kids and they told me to call back later. I then put in code on the top of the horizontal line to indicate: w-cb (Talked to wife and she said call back) or k-cb (talked to kids and said to call back).

When I completed the final step, which could have been my first phone call or 5th phone call to the prospect, I would enter the horizontal line and vertical line. This told me I completed the contact with the client. I then made a notation at bottom of card as to what transpired and refiled the card to call back at another time if the client said to call back at a later date. I then put the card back to recall at my next calling session or sent out the appointment reminder card if appointment was set.

Lets review an example of how it worked.

lets say I called and got no answer. In this case i would enter a plain circle in the upper right hand corner of the card. Then I called back later on and the wife answered and asked me to callback  as mr. husband was still not there. I then just added the horizontal line with the W-(talked to wife) in it and put it at the bottom of my prospect calling cards again.

and if for some reason i did not get back to that prospect in that calling session, when i started phone calling prospects in my next phone calling session, i knew where i was with that prospects name just by looking at the coded circle. I would put these coded cards on the top of my calling agenda for the next calling session.

You can customize this format and use it to fit your own situation.

The prospect reminder courtesy card

insurance agent setting appointments

This next step is your key to minimizing broken appointments.

If Mr. prospect agreed to an appointment time, i would immediately tell them that i will be sending them a reminder courtesy card with my name and phone number on it. I also asked that if something popped up, that they please give me a courtesy call so that we may reschedule. (this is why I started using what i refer to as a double booking format, which I will explain in another article)

I would then complete my appointment reminder postcard that I would be sending to the prospect. I would put the date I wanted to send it out in the upper right hand corner of the postcard where the stamp went, as a reminder and then made sure I mailed it on that day.

Why did I do that? Because timing is everything.

if you send a reminder card to someone too early it will loose its effect. I normally would mail the reminder card to them so they would receive it two to three days before I had the appointment. I then usually called them the same day I mailed the card to confirm.

Note: early on in my career, i was very reluctant to call a person to confirm our appointment. but because of the large number of no shows, i eventually realized it is better to make sure they will be there, rather than me driving there and wasting valuable interview times if they no showed or forgot.

(Reminder cards helped me eliminate no shows or people forgetting. When i completed the reminder card i was going to send out, i then noted on my 3 x 5 prospect calling card the date I wanted to give that prospect a courtesy call and confirm our scheduled appointment, which was followed up by me mailing the reminder card. i then put that calling card in my tickler file or on computer for quick reference.)

The reminder card you send out should be on 3" X 5" postcard format.  I had them pre printed and they were right on my desk when phone calling. This way, as soon as I set the appointment I took a card and addressed it and then put the date I want to mail it in the upper right hand corner, which could be covered up by a stamp when I mailed it.

Front was blank card

and I just hand wrote name and address on front of card, with my return name in upper top left. (Do not put this card in an envelope)

On back, everything was pre-printed except the underlined areas which i hand wrote.

(Write in first names)

Dale and Sally;

This is a courtesy reminder that our appointment is set for Wed evening the 23rd at 6:15 pm.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to meet both  of you.

Ted Wolk, ABC company.


Most of the times when I came in to their home this 3 X 5 card was right on the front of their refrigerator. So it helped them also.

I hope that this Phone calling prospects article will help you with minimizing your broken appointments and provide you a more effective system to make and set appointments.

Next article -phone calling -the reason you should double book times - 106.

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