It’s a weekday morning. You’ve been sitting beside your laptop for a while, waiting for your prospect to join the Zoom call. You’re so excited about this meeting. You’re confident—you’ve researched his LinkedIn bio, you’ve prepared a sales pitch, and you have no doubt he’ll fall for your proposal.
After half an hour of waiting, it hits you: “Ugh! My prospect is another no-show!’’ It’s frustrating because everything seemed to be going so well. Why wouldn’t he show up? What could possibly have changed his mind? Is it something you said during your last call? Or maybe he’s just the type of prospect who promises things and never delivers.
No-shows are painful. But there’s hope. Once the prospect becomes your client, they are more likely to come back and purchase more, take less of your salespeople’s time, and refer you to other customers.
After analyzing hundreds of no-shows emails and calls we get at CIENCE, we’ve defined eight typical ways to fix mistakes made by salespeople before, during, and after appointment setup, which affect the no-show rate the most. Keep reading to learn how to successfully reduce your no-show appointment rates.
1. Make Sure You’re Talking to the Right Person
One of the most common mistakes that causes a rapid increase in no-show appointment rates is setting up meetings with inaccurate leads.
On average, 6.8 people in B2B companies belong to the decision-making group. However, the chances of you reaching their assistants or the seventh person in this company are still very high. Suppose this happens, in the best-case scenario, they’ll pass the appointment information to their bosses (just like tens of other appointments the same as yours), which doesn’t guarantee that the meeting will actually happen.
But usually, these appointments are simply ignored. And even if they happen, they won’t be efficient at all. Both you and your lead will waste thirty minutes talking about opportunities, which will need to be discussed later again with someone at a higher rank.
The easy solution to avoid such a situation is by using prequalifying leads. If it turns out that the person you reached out to isn’t a decision-maker, feel free to ask if you should contact someone else on their team just to get a better understanding of their current situation and discuss a future strategy.
Also, don’t hesitate to check other contacts in this company and offer to speak with them first. There’s no harm in asking, and it might save a lot of time for everyone.
2. Schedule the Appointment Thoughtfully
It’s common knowledge that certain days and certain hours of the day just aren’t good for scheduling a meeting with a prospect. Think of your own daily agenda. How would you feel if you had to take one more call on Monday morning when your calendar is already booked out with internal meetings? Or on Friday evening, when all you can think about is jumping into the weekend as soon as possible?
Even if this idea seems like a good one to both of you and your prospect at the moment, don’t fall for this trick. Appointments set up on these days are more likely to end up with a no-show or cancelation in favor of something or someone more important.
Another common mistake when it comes to scheduling is setting up the meeting a month in advance. Sure, your prospect is a busy person, and there might not be a free slot for a discovery call for the next few weeks. But if you schedule a meeting thirty days out, your prospect will forget who you are and why the meeting might be important. And this, of course, doesn’t help in reducing the no-show appointment rate. Instead, agree to have another call in a month, and then set up a meeting.
3. Send a Warm-up Email to the Prospect
After you finally agree on the date and time for a conversation, it is always a good idea to send a follow-up email to clear things up and engage the prospect in the conversation before the actual meeting to reduce the no-show appointment rate. Be sure to:
- Ask more about their business goals (What’s the business problem you’re seeking to fix with this offering? What does your current sales process look like?).
- Share your future call agenda.
- Avoid talking about pricing, quotas, specific tools, terms, and conditions just yet (it’s better done in the next stages).
- Analyze the prospect’s responses and revise your future call pitch.
Here’s how we do a warm-up email at CIENCE:
4. Turn Your Call Invitation into Another Pitch Opportunity
Same as follow-ups, an appointment invitation is as much of an opportunity to bring value as any other sales email. Sending a proper meeting invitation can also help you reduce no-show rates when you:
- Use a catchy subject line, something intriguing and inspiring, like “30 minutes to decide on your next lead generation strategy” or “Exploring our outbound marketing capabilities.”
- Use the notes section to include your contact information, your prospect’s name, company name, and company’s description (do not copy-paste the information from LinkedIn; it’s better to rephrase it). Explain the call agenda and what value this call will bring to the prospect.
- Always check if your invitation was accepted. If not, send a follow-up email.
5. Make Sure to Send a Reminder
To reduce no-show appointment rates, ALWAYS send a reminder. All people are different; some have notifications about every move they should make during the day while others are chaotically trying to catch up with their workflow by occasionally glancing at their calendars.
Therefore, there’s no harm in simply sending a reminder about the appointment two to three hours before it actually happens. Don’t think too much about the text; send something casual:
If you have the prospect’s direct dial or cell phone number, send the reminder there as well. Maybe some people will ask to reschedule the meeting. Don’t take it as a bad sign because potentially it could be another no-show that you managed to troubleshoot.
Recommended: You can also send a text message to the prospect as an easy reminder.
6. Be in the Moment
Sometimes both you and the prospect are extremely engaged in the conversation from the first minute. In this case, it’s unprofessional to NOT use the opportunity to set up the next meeting right during the call.
Instead of saying, “I’ll send you an appointment for the next meeting once we’re off the phone,” try, “Let’s agree on the next appointment right now! What do you think about next Wednesday?”
Hot leads are like hot buns; you have to grab them while they are still hot. Even a twenty-minute delay with the invitation can move your message down in the inbox. So, don’t miss the opportunity. Act here and now.
7. Reschedule in Case of Emergencies
Emergency no-shows are the easiest to resolve. If something unexpected happens and the prospect doesn’t reach out to you on time to reschedule the meeting, you can always lay a tiny guilt trip on them.
Of course, you shouldn’t accuse your lead of not showing up but rather demonstrate to them how much work you and your teammates have done to prepare for the meeting, and how much value it can bring to your prospect’s company if the meeting actually happens.
The feeling of guilt will make the prospect more likely to reschedule the meeting rather than ignoring your emails. Here’s another example:
8. Keep Track of No-Show Appointment Rates
No-shows are a sales pain point. But they are inevitable. The main thing is not to allow them to get any bigger, and track them daily (or at least weekly). To do so, simply divide the number of no-show appointments from a certain period of time to the total number of appointments scheduled during that period of time.
Make sure to calculate it correctly without including rescheduled appointments as no-shows. If your rates are less than 20%, you’re doing great. But keep trying to reduce them even more. With no-shows, less is better.
Wrap It Up
All the tips above can definitely help you reduce no-show appointment rates to a certain degree. However, no matter what you do, some percentage of no-show meetings is inevitable. There’s usually no one to blame here. There will always be emergencies outside of your control or prospects who never join the call “just because.” As a salesperson, the only thing you can do to reduce your no-show appointment rate is to avoid the typical mistakes described above.