How To Book An Appointment With Anyone in English
It’s true that over the years, telephones, emails and now smartphones have changed the way that we communicate with each other. When you really want to connect with another person, however, for professional or personal reasons, nothing beats a face-to-face meeting. In order to do that, you have to first make an appointment with them. Today we’ll explain to you how to book an appointment with anyone in English.
Follow the 3-Step Method
If you’re trying to sell to someone, or get your foot in the door to apply for a job, then making that call can be a difficult task. The problem is that so many people hear that you are trying to pitch something, and they just put down the phone, or maybe tell you politely “Thank you, but we’re not interested.”
How do we get around this problem? There’s a simple three-step method you can try in order to answer the question how To book an appointment with anyone in English: disarm, purpose, and question.
Step 1: Disarm
This is all about stopping your contact from simply putting the phone down on you. The most common reason people won’t take your call is that they claim they’re busy, so you can first acknowledge this while introducing yourself. Use simple language:
“Hi there, this is Jim Scott with DM Paper. I know you’re probably very busy, and I’m sorry to take up your time, but…”
You will find that getting straight to the point of who you are, and acknowledging that your contact is busy, is a great way to keep them on the phone. They will be surprised that you are being direct.
Step 2: Purpose
One thing that makes cold calling so scary is that we don’t fully know how our target will respond. The best thing to do is have a few practice calls where you pretend to call and imagine what your contact might say. For example, you could imagine a contact who is impatient and angry, and practice what you would say: You could say, “I’m sorry to bother you, but this will only take a couple of minutes”.
Straight after your introduction, state the exact purpose of your call, which is to make an appointment for a face-to-face meeting.
Hi there, this is Jim Scott with DM Paper. I know you’re probably very busy, and I’m sorry to take up your time, but I was hoping that I could arrange 20 minutes or so to meet with your office manager to discuss how DM Paper can get you your paper and stationery for 15 percent less than you pay now.”
Does 20 minutes sound like a long time? That’s a good thing. Imagine if you call up saying that your appointment will take no more than 5 minutes. How important or well-researched could it be if it only takes 5 minutes to discuss? Ask for at least 15-20 minutes, and possibly up to 30 minutes.
Did you also notice that in that statement, you mentioned the benefit of your meeting, as well?
Step 3: Question
The final step is to end on a question to which your contact will certainly give a clear answer. One really great method is to give them two choices of time and date. Both of these times/dates should be specific:
“Does Thursday at 2 o’clock sound okay? If not, we could talk in the morning on Thursday before lunch, at 11 o’clock.”
In many cases, your contact will either choose one of those times, or perhaps suggest a third time, which you can gladly accept, too. There’s no doubt: giving customers a clear choice has a better chance of success in getting an appointment.
When booking your appointment, you should stay polite, but not overly formal. When language is too formal, it sounds less natural, and that makes your listener think they are being sold something that they don’t want. Even the word “appointment” might be too business-like. You can ask instead:
Does your HR representative have any openings on Monday?
Does your office manager have a morning window this week?
Finally, when asking questions, try to make them so your contact has to make a choice. Do not give them the option of simply saying ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ With appointments, making clear choices is more important.
We hope you find this guide useful in booking your next appointment in English! Overall, keep it simple, and people will respond.
For more great articles on Business English and General English, you can find them here. If you would like to practice booking appointments and get personal feedback then you can book a class with one of our Native English Teachers. You can check out the best plans here.