One of the absolutely worst ideas in Sales is to call on a prospect without an appointment. I was on the receiving end today of a bad sales call.The regional representative for an unnamed digital press manufacturer shows up in the lobby unannounced to see me. At the time I was on the phone, had a stack of pricing and proposals staring me in the face, a person in my office waiting to speak with me, a financial report due at 11 and we are short-handed because of employees on vacation during hunting season. The last thing I need is to waste time with an unannounced sales pitch. And to top it off, he says “tell him I am town for the day, call me so we can perhaps meet this afternoon.

Here is what this Salesperson fails to acknowledge or realize:
1. If you are fortunate to have a responsible job in the year 2011, you are doing the job of at least 2 people. YOU ARE BUSY!

2. When you call on a prospect in these circumstances, here is what you are saying: YOUR TIME AND SCHEDULE IS NOT AS IMPORTANT AS MINE.

3. “I am in town for the day – call me” WHAT? A clueless comment.

4. He/she damages their credibility in my eyes. If they do not understand why and what is wrong about their approach, how astute are they in any technical matters of a potential deal? Could they possibly provide any expertise we do not already possess as an organization? Do they bring anything to the table or are they as clueless about consultative selling as they are about prospecting?

Respecting your prospects’ time by making an appointment sends a much different message: “I know you have responsibilities on a daily basis, I understand and respect that, so let me be at your disposal when you think you can carve out an hour.”