Photo of John Green
Reducing no shows for sales meetings

Hate No-Shows? These 7 Tips Drive Up Attendance of Demos & Appointments

Reducing no shows for sales meetings

You’ve got a warm prospect.

Maybe they signed up for a demo on your site. Or you connected with them on LinkedIn. Or perhaps you called them, and piqued their interest for a follow-up meeting.

So, you agree on a date, and put a meeting on the books. When the day of the meeting arrives, you’re excited. You feel like a sale might be just around the corner.

Except… they never show up.

How often does this happen to you?

No-shows are a painful reality that take a real toll on your sales numbers. Frankly, there’s no way to avoid them completely. But… there are actions you can take to dramatically reduce the number of no-shows and cancellations you encounter.

Here are 7 surefire tips to reduce no-shows and compel prospects to show up!

1. Establish a clear plan, and real value for the appointment

People show up for sales meetings when they know what’s in store, and it’s something they want to do or discuss. This may sound obvious, but people often sign on or agree to a meeting without a clear picture of what that next step is.

When that happens, by the time the meeting or demo arrives the importance of your meeting has diminished in comparison to something else in their life or work.

To avoid that, be crystal clear what the plan is (ie. here’s what we’ll cover), and make sure that there’s value there for them. The more value, and the more compelling the subject of the meeting – the more of a priority it will be for them to show up.

2. Give them a say in the meeting time

Ideally, you could schedule meetings so they fit perfectly into your schedule. But as a salesperson you’ll have much better attendance if you work with your prospects’ schedules.

So rather than, “how’s Thursday at 3pm,” start with “are mornings or afternoons generally better for you” or “what day of the week is best for you?” You’re more likely to get an open time slot than sandwiched between other appointments that way.

3. Make the meeting convenient (as possible)

You can set up in-person meetings, phone meetings, screen-shares, or video conferences. Of course, the more convenient the place, the more likely your prospect is to show up.

So, consider when a face-to-face sales meeting is truly necessary.

And if it is, whether a virtual meeting will work (we love using Zoom so we can demo our software). If you do virtual meetings make sure the software you use is user-friendly and reliable. Clunky software installs and bad connections are a surefire way to drive up cancellations.

4. Get in their calendar!

People are busy. We have all kinds of responsibilities both professional and personal that compete for our time. That’s why so many of us use a calendar (i.e. Google Calendar) to manage our schedules.

Make sure your appointment gets into your contact’s calendar. Otherwise, you’ll end up with people who forget, or double-book the time you’ve agreed to. Both will drive up your no-shows.

After you agree on a time, send out a calendar invite that they can accept with a click. Or use software that facilitates the scheduling and syncing of an event into their calendar of choice.

5. Remind (and remind again)

Getting on the calendar is a start. But reminders are key to keeping your scheduled appointment visible and top of mind.

https://media1.giphy.com/media/xUOxeUgUJfxHi1wHWU/200w.webp?cid=790b76115cb8ed103272496a5171763c

It’s wise to send multiple reminders, and if possible, use more than one medium – including email, text, or phone.

6. Reinforce the value

What’s more effective than simply reminding someone you have an upcoming meeting? Reminding them why they wanted that meeting in the first place!

Keeping “selling” them after the appointment is set. Reiterate and reinforce the value through your reminders or other assets.

There are all kinds of ways to do this. Invitations and email reminders can feature a short bullet list of topics, value propositions, or incentives. You can create a web page that lets people know what to expect and why to get excited about their meeting. (PhoneBurner shares this page, for example, after someone books a demo with us.)

Have you ever registered for a webinar and got taken to a confirmation page with a video from the host? These videos are used to drive up attendance. Why not do the same or similar for your meetings?

7. Work referrals and shared contacts

The colder the outreach, the more likely someone is to cancel or no-show. The inverse is true for warmer leads and referrals. So seek out referrals and leverage shared contacts whenever possible. Your prospect will be more emotionally involved when you have some connection.

Summing up tips to reduce no-shows

Whether you’re appointment setting for clients or for your own sales pipeline, getting an appointment on the calendar is hard-earned. And it feels good. That’s why no-shows are so deflating. While some level of cancels and missed appointments is to be expected, you actually have a lot of control over how many prospects show up.

So take some responsibility and focus your attention on reducing your no-show rate. To summarize, here are 7 tips that will move the needle in the right direction, and give you more opportunities to close deals:

  • Have a clear and value-filled plan for the meeting
  • Set a time that’s good for them
  • Make it convenient to attend
  • Make sure your prospect puts the meeting in their calendar
  • Send multiple reminders
  • Reiterate value in those reminders
  • Work referrals and connections

Have a good tip to compel prospects to show up? Share in the comments!