No more no-shows. That would be nice, right?
Well, the truth is we can never totally eliminate no-shows to sales appointments. Emergencies happen. Schedules change. Other meetings take priority.
But… you can drastically reduce the number of no-shows you’re experiencing. And if you’re reading this article, I imagine no-shows are becoming a big issue.
Here’s the thing. When your prospect doesn’t show up to the sales appointment, you lose money and time. Plain and simple. So it only makes sense that you’d want to “plug the holes” where you can.
The tips and tricks in this article will help you improve sales appointment attendance. In other words, no more ghosting prospects. Instead, you’ll capture more business and better position yourself to hit your sales numbers month after month. Just be sure to implement what you read in this guide.
Let’s get right into it!
How Many No-Shows is Too Many?
Sure, no-shows are part of the sales game. They happen.
But your no-show rate should never consistently exceed 15-20% of meetings booked. That means for every five meetings you have on the calendar, it’s not the end of the world if one person doesn’t show up. But once you have 2-3 no-shows out of five, that’s too many.
My recommendations below will help you get this number closer to 5-10%. Which, depending on your industry, could mean an extra $100,000+ in sales captured annually.
How to Kiss No-shows Goodbye
1. Nail down a specific time on the call.
First, be specific about your meeting time and nail-it-down. Send out the invite right away. Try to book this appointment as close to the qualification meeting as possible, 24 to 48 hours is best. You can go 72 hours, but this is stretching it. Do not book further than a week out. C-level executives and other decision-makers are busy, and it’s likely that your meeting will get shuffled around and eventually dropped if you’re trying to meet with them in two weeks to a month.
2. Get their verbal agreement of attendance.
Ask the question: “Is there any reason why you wouldn’t be on our next call?” Most prospects will say something like “No, I’ll be there.” And guess what — people tend to stick to their word when you make it personal like this. If they are considering canceling or no-showing, they will remember your blunt question and their answer to it. You’d be surprised how effective this little psychological trick is at boosting your sales appointment attendance rates.
3. Send a custom reminder the day before the meeting.
“Hi Mr. Prospect, I look forward to connecting with you tomorrow at [appointment time] about [his main pain point] and how I can help you with [his specific goals].” This might seem impersonal at first read, but I guarantee you will have your prospect’s attention the moment they’re reminded of their specific pain point. Remember, it’s a thorn in their side that they want resolved! Keep in mind that you can schedule and automate this email in your CRM. So write it the moment you get off the qualification call, and schedule it for the day before the big sales call.
4. Final touch day-of meeting with added intrigue.
“Added intrigue” is the kicker here. Something like, “I look forward to our discussion today. And just so you know, I’ve put together some notes on [a specified interest of theirs] that I think you’ll like.” This little bit of intrigue incentivizes their attendance, so they are more likely to show up to the appointment. Plus, who doesn’t love free strategy, insights, etc.? The ol’ “I’ve got this neat shiny thing I really want to show you” almost always works. Just be sure you deliver on your promise!
5. Hire a VA to help schedule appointments.
One of the reasons why your meetings are going haywire could be due to your own disorganization. This isn’t 100% your fault; the truth is, when you’re hustling hard it can be tough to keep everything straight. So a little help couldn’t hurt. These days, you can hire a virtual assistant (VA) for less than a few hundred dollars per month who can book meetings for you and manage your calendar. This small investment will more than pay for itself if you capture even one more sale because of it.
Remember, work smart, not hard. If you run your own sales outfit, hiring a VA is a no-brainer. And if you’re a salesperson in a bigger company, you’d be the cool guy with his own personal assistant. Either way it’s a win-win.
Next Steps: How to Deal with No-shows
Now keep in mind that emergencies happen. So you really have to give your prospect the benefit of the doubt. They are people with real problems and daily pressures. And be honest, chances are you’ve stood someone up in the past, even when your intentions were good.
With this in mind, just shoot them an email. Keep it simple and ask to reschedule — ideally at some point in the next few days. You’ll hopefully get a reply, put a new meeting on the books, and maybe they show up to that meeting.
If they don’t answer your email, write a few more emails over the next few weeks. If they still don’t reply, send a “break up” email. This will read something like: “Since I haven’t heard from you, I wish you the best. I won’t be contacting you again.” The break up email often prompts the prospect to reach out. And if they don’t, there’s no rule that says you can’t reach back out to them later in the year.
Final Thoughts on Dealing with No-show Prospects
Before we wrap this up, there’s one very important point I haven’t discussed yet: Have a back-up plan for white-space in your calendar. In other words, when a prospect ghosts you, be sure you fill that hour by picking up the phones and dialing new prospects, following up with leads, etc.
Unfortunately, it’s all-too-easy to feel defeated and take the path of least resistance, when you should be getting right back into the game. This is a mindset and confidence thing. It’s a momentum thing. You simply can’t afford to slink back into self-loathing when a prospect no-shows. Have tangible sales activities at-the-ready and turn your frustration into motivation when you need it most. Chances are, if you spend that hour dialing prospects, you’ll have another deal on the line. Just don’t miss this opportunity!
All right, hopefully this guide has helped you to tighten up your appointment setting and scheduling. Again, if you can increase your sales appointment attendance rates by just 10-20%, that likely translates into thousands of dollars in commissions throughout the year. And to think that it’s such low-hanging fruit that’s totally within your control. There’s really no reason not to get this dialed-in. So follow the tips in this guide, and you’re more likely to have your prospects turn into hot leads and eventually buyers of your product or service.
Until next time…