Avoid Slick Manipulations

When it comes to scheduling appointments, old school sales techniques recommend manipulation. The decision of a suspect is manipulated by giving them a choice between two yes answers. Using this technique the sales person says something like, “which would be better for you, Tuesday at 10:00 A.M. or Thursday at 1:00 P.M.” The problem with this technique is that the manipulation is so transparent as to be offensive. It appears slick and sleazy, and sales people who have invested in their credibility by carefully developing a relationship with their suspect should avoid painting themselves with the brush of sleaze used by less scrupulous sales people.

Unfortunately, most sales people schooled in this technique are unaware of the damage they do to their credibility. The reason it is unfortunate is that scheduling is such a simple skill. Every kindergarten child knows how to schedule playing time with their friends. We all use perfectly appropriate scheduling skills, until we get into a selling situation. Let me be clear, it is perfectly appropriate to suggest a time. What is to be avoided is even the hint that you are attempting to back the suspect into a corner.

A more appropriate way to recommend a time is something like, “I usually set aside Thursday afternoon for new meetings, how does that work for you?” or “I have some time next Monday, what works best for you?” These examples accomplish two things. First, you take initiative by suggesting a time and second you demonstrate your willingness to be considerate of the suspect. From one of these openings, it is a simple matter to find a mutually acceptable time. There is no reason to erode your credibility by appearing slick, manipulative, or sleazy.

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