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How To Reduce No-Show Rates For Sales Meetings

You have some great leads in your inbox. You set the sales meetings, and prepare a great pitch. You take time out of your busy schedule, put on your lucky shirt, and sit patiently in front of your computer. You’re ready to close this sales call. How hard could it be? They’re already interested.

But there’s just one problem. They don’t show up. You wait a minute, and then five more minutes. Maybe they’re just running late, right?

Ten minutes pass and you start losing hope. After fifteen minutes of no response, you throw in the towel and move on to the next item on your to-do list. 

Lucky for you, it doesn’t have to be that way. No-shows are a pain, but they are very much curable. Most businesses should have a no-show rate of less than 20%, but even that number can be decreased. We’re here to show you how. 

You’ll want to read all the way through, because we’ll conclude this article with an important concept: if you have a high no-show rate, there’s a good chance that this problem has nothing to do with you, but instead with your leads.

3 Steps To Improve The Show Rate of Your Sales Meetings

As promised, there are plenty of ways to decrease your no-show rate for sales meetings. We’ll go over three main steps:

  1. Setting Up The Meeting The Right Way
  2. Impress Prospects Leading Up To The Meeting
  3. No-show? Own it and win it

Step 1. Setting Up The Meeting The Right Way

Convey Value Through Scarcity

Many people claim that giving your leads lots of options to choose from is a good idea. For example, send them a calendar with your availability and have them choose a date that works for them.

This is a bad idea. Do not do this. Too much availability on your part can very easily be perceived negatively. Sure, every now and then, a lead is going to look at a blank calendar and think: “Nice, I can schedule whenever I want!” but that is not what usually happens. Leads are more likely to think: “these people have too much time on their hands.” 

Yes, convenience is a good thing if you want to increase your appointment booking rate, but having lots of scheduled meetings is useless if leads do not show up anyway. 

Instead, take the initiative and suggest a specific date, time, and duration for a sales meeting, and give them the opportunity to select a different date if that doesn’t work for them. You want to encourage them to schedule a meeting, but you also want to create scarcity. If you make them feel like they’d be missing out if they didn’t book and didn’t show up, they’d much more likely do both.

For the same reason, you should not be too lenient with re-scheduling. It goes without saying that if a lead explicitly asks to reschedule a meeting, even one which they’ve missed, you should grant their request. But why would you reschedule a meeting with a lead who’s already skipped multiple meetings or who hasn’t even bothered replying to your reminders? 

You should most definitely care for your customers and accommodate their schedules, but if you always do the same with your leads, you’d probably be wasting resources on people who aren’t interested. Plus, if someone is already a pain in the ass as a prospect, probably they’ll cause you even more trouble as a customer.

And yes, customer acquisition is largely a numbers game, but quality often matters more than quantity when it comes down to the bottom line.

Don’t Set Meetings Too Far Into the Future

The longer you make a lead wait, the “cooler” they get (in other words - the less likely they are to convert – and hence to show up to the meeting). There are plenty of suggestions online about the optimal time for scheduling a meeting. Some suggest setting meetings within seven days of the customer showing interest, others suggest a 14-day timeframe. We suggest to always try to book the meeting within 7 days. The rule of thumb you need to keep in mind: the sooner the better.

Impress Prospects Leading Up To The Meeting

Provide Value: Make the Meeting Their Priority

In terms of revenue, a prospect who shows up to a sales meeting completely uninterested is not much better than the one who did not show up at all. You need to give leads reasons to not only show up to the sales meeting, but to make it their priority. The best way to get people excited about having a meeting with you or your business is through providing value.

In the weeks and days leading up to the meeting, send them valuable resources. Here are a few solid ideas:

  • Send them an actionable agenda. Briefly go over what you’ll be discussing in the meeting, and try to be detailed, so they know you mean business. This will not only convince them that a meeting with you will most definitely not be one of those dreaded “this could’ve been an email meetings,” but it will also encourage them to prepare for it and even suggest adding to the agenda what they’d like to talk about.
  • Focus on their needs. Send them information specifically about products and services they may be interested in. It shows that you are invested in solving their problems. This will be a lot more helpful than sending them generic sales brochures about all your company’s products and services.
  • Send them case studies about how you’ve helped companies similar to theirs.

Send Reminders and Confirmation Requests

Sending reminders is essential. It is also simple, and it can – and should – be automated. There are two things to keep in mind when sending reminders: First, send them at specific intervals. A good reminder schedule would involve sending a reminder 3 days, 1 day, and 1 hour ahead of a meeting. Don’t be afraid of coming off as “pushy” because people are very much used to automated reminders these days. 

The second thing to keep in mind is what most people miss: include confirmation requests within your reminder emails (but don’t overdo it, just request it in the 1-day-ahead email). Make it clear that you value your own time as well as theirs, which is why meetings that do not get confirmed may get cancelled. This serves 2 purposes: it filters out uninterested leads who will likely not show anyway, and it further reinforces your value by showing how serious you are about your time. 

No-show? Own it and win it

A Note About Mindset

It makes perfect sense if your morale is lower after a no-show, especially because you’ve invested time and effort into seemingly nothing.

But that’s not the right way of thinking about things. You need to keep in mind that there will always be some cases when you do everything right, but you’d still end up lonely in a “meeting” you were excited for.  This isn’t your fault. 

Remember that no individual lead is more important than the direction you and your company are heading towards. You can use it as a learning opportunity, and you can even try to regain the lead’s interest, but in either scenario, the last thing you want to do after a no-show is let it affect you or your team’s productivity.

Learn, Control, Adapt

Whenever a scheduled sales meeting turns into a no-show, try to find out why – and more importantly, how you can improve for future meetings. Ask:

  • Were the reminders on point?
  • Did we convey enough value from the start?
  • Did we provide enough value in the period leading up to the meeting?

All of these questions can be used to set KPIs and to test various parts of your sales funnel.

Send a Follow-up

Maybe the lead really is still interested but did not show up due to an emergency or due to a simple mistake on their part. Maybe they lost interest somewhere along the way.

Sending a follow-up email is a great idea, and it’s something you should always be doing (even with meetings when the lead actually shows up, you should send a follow-up after the meeting, summarizing what’s been discussed and how you plan on moving forward).

Here’s the trick to follow-ups that very few people get right: make them feel like they’re missing something. Don’t ask them gently for another meeting, and don’t be too wordy. Frame it in a no-oriented question, and you’ll sure get many more replies than you otherwise would have. Here’s an example:

“Hi *First Name*,

It’s unfortunate that our meeting earlier today did not occur as scheduled. We just want to make sure: have you decided to give up on *your special offer*?

Best regards,

[Your company]”

Final Thoughts

So there you have it – that’s how you improve this part of your sales funnel and drastically decrease your no-show rates. We hope this’ll help you guide leads from being interested in your business to desiring working with you. But there’s more to it than that. Before becoming interested in your business, leads need to actually be aware of it.

You see, early on in this article, we said that changing leads into customers is a numbers game. But we also said that quality trumps quantity. Pause and ask yourself: wouldn’t it be great if you could have both? 

You don’t need to compromise, and you don’t need to choose between a ton of bad leads and a scarce amount of good leads. How? We got you covered.

With our tried and tested services, we can drive lots of high-quality leads into your high-conversion sales funnel in no time. Simply book a call with us, and we’ll set a plan for how we can take your lead generation game to the next level.

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