There is nothing more infuriating as a seller than having a No-Show appointment. It is the culmination of prep and hard work only to result in the ultimate let down. We have all been there. The truth is however there are many things that you can do to decrease your No-Show rate. They start with how you set the appointment, making it easy for them to attend, and becoming a priority for the prospect.
Setting the Appointment – When you finally get the prospect to agree to meet with you, remember the hardest objection to overcome is no objection at all. That is why you must ask qualifying questions to build rapport and value with the prospect. Jeremy Donovan, SVP Sales Strategy & GM at SalesLoft recommends the following, “So I can better prepare, what are you looking to get from our meeting?” or, less formally, “Prepping for our meeting… anything specific you’d like to cover?” You also want to ask the prospect who else “would find value” in attending the meeting or recommend additional attendees that you know are part of the buying committee. The simple truth is the more people who attend the better your chances are for avoiding a No-Show.
As you close the appointment – ask for the prospect’s direct dial phone number or confirm the number if you already have it. Ask the customer for permission to call them directly if something comes up or if their day becomes too busy. (They will always concede and you will need this permission later.) If the prospect wants a date more than two weeks in the future then tell them that your company has a policy that doesn’t allow for appointments that far in advance – perhaps we can try something sooner. Another simple truth is the farther out – the less likely to attend.
Make it easy to Attend – Once the appointment is set then your job is to make it is easy as possible to attend. Don’t just send a confirmation email – send a calendar invite. Ensure your calendar invite has a value-centric subject line and not just Demo or Check-In. In the invite, provide a dial in number and link to a web conference. I prefer a dial in because the prospect has a large window to make a call instead of a short window to take a call from you. Depending on your audience, you also should consider a reputable web conference software and avoid Google Hang Outs or Skype. It could give the wrong impression to serious buyers. Lastly, provide a tailored agenda based on the qualification questions when you set the appointment. This way the prospect understands exactly what will be covered during the meeting.
Be a Priority – Our prospects are inundated with requests for their time both internally and externally so it is our responsibility to be a priority for them. Showing them you are a real person with genuine business value by connecting with them on LinkedIn. You may want to follow them on other social channels like Twitter as well. You also want to remind them of the appointment via email the day before and the day of. I also recommend starting the appointment 5 minutes early and sending out a calendar reminder. If the prospect isn’t showing up on time, use the No-Show Check list:
- Email after 5 minutes
- Text after 10 minutes
- Call after 15 minutes – leave a voicemail
- InMail after 20 minutes
You want to wait at least 20 minutes because our prospects are busy and they often run late. If they do show up, they will be contrite and open to your pitch. Don’t rush the meeting however, if you can’t fit your demo within the time allotment then ask for more time or reschedule.
If your prospect bags the appointment altogether then you want to save the time and energy you put into setting it in the first place. First research why they might have missed the appointment. There could be time zone confusion, bad weather, a holiday, or a local event. When you send the email to reschedule mentioning this will show empathy and give them an easy out. Let them reschedule using scheduling software but remember to share your call prep and remind them why they set the appointment in the first place.
Post Mortem – We have no shows at RampedUp but almost all of them are rescheduled and executed. That wasn’t always the case however, we had to take a close look at our no-show rate and discover what they had in common. The easiest answer was that the no-shows hadn’t confirmed our calendar appointment so we now cancel the meeting if they haven’t done so 24 hours before the call. We also don’t set appointments outside of our Ideal Customer Profile – they just aren’t worth our time. I recommend you find the commonality in your No-Shows as well to close the gap.