I received a lot of positive feedback from my last article, God, Guns, & Free Enterprise. I enjoyed writing it. If you would like to see more of that type of article, email me and let me know.

A friend posted a question on facebook earlier this week asking what to do if a prospect stands you up for the second time in a row. That started me thinking, what should, you do if someone stands you up for the first or second time? The responses on facebook ranged from the comical to absurd, to serious. Several said they would write them off; still others said that they would call up the prospect and make that person feel bad about standing him up twice.

So what would you do if your prospect blew you off two times in a row or even just one time? Is there a protocol or some recommended course of action? Is there some sure-fire way of getting the prospect to repent and meet with you? What would you do? Get angry? Get even? Write them off?

Naturally, it’s a big deal when you drive across town only to find that nobody’s home. Then you have to deal with a hole in your schedule and you have to find something to do with the extra time. If you are lucky, you can move someone into that spot. If not, you can head back to the office if you have time go back before you move on to your next appointment. It’s worse yet if you go through this the second time with the same prospect.

What are some reasons for a potential customer to duck an appointment? After all, they called you because they had a problem that they thought you could solve. They may think the problem resolved itself if it’s intermittent, so they ducked the first appointment and didn’t have the courtesy to call you to cancel. Maybe you called a couple of days later to reschedule and by that time the problem returned, so they wanted to reschedule. On the other hand, maybe they had a huge car repair bill to pay or had to buy a new set of tires because of a blowout, and they just don’t have the money right now, but they are too embarrassed to call you. Maybe a competitor has already solved their problem because you didn’t respond quickly enough. It could be any number of reasons.

You might ask if it’s worth the effort to set a second or third appointment. Only you can decide. If it’s a potentially large sale, or if you need to make the sale to make payroll – I know that never happens to any of us, you may want to consider rescheduling. You have to put forth your best effort in order to reset the appointment.

Ask yourself what were the reasons that the customer called you in the first place. What problem did they bring you to solve? How many competitors could solve that problem? Are you the only one? Do you have a previous relationship with this prospect? What can you do to win this prospect?

In order to turn around the situation, you must get your prospect on the phone and discuss the reason they called you initially. Question if that is still an issue for them, if not thank them for their consideration and hang up. If it is, find out how they feel about it. Does it worry them? Does it make them mad, what would it mean to them to have the problem solved? Is this the only problem they have or is there anything else that you need to address. What would the resolution of the problem look like to them? How soon do they need to resolve this issue?

Essentially, you want them to do the talking; you want them to express the frustration they have with the problem. You want to dominate the listening, by actively listening. Listen, pause, question for clarification, pause again to make sure they have finished speaking and then paraphrase. If you do it correctly, you’ll hear them say, “Exactly” or “Right.”

Once you have them at the point of understanding and agreeing with your understanding of the situation, reset the appointment. Send a follow up email and call them the day before your appointment to reconfirm, or better yet have your dispatcher make that call for you. Once you do this and do it in a professional manner, you should minimize any further no shows.

My website contains links to all the marketing articles I’ve written for the HVAC-Talk Newsletter. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of my new book, Navigating the Marketing Maze, click here. If you need a branding consultation, a complete strategic marketing plan, or help with marketing services, call or send an email to discuss your needs.

Andy Fracica is president and CEO of Fracica Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing, and social media strategy. He has over 30 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience in the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. He concentrates on helping companies deliver their message in an ever increasingly crowded market by helping HVAC dealers more effectively market their businesses without breaking their budgets. Contact him at 260-338-4554, andy@fracicaenterprises.com or visit the Fracica Enterprises, Inc. website.