Imagine this: You’ve been chatting with a person consistently, and they agree to meet you for the first time. You’ve been excited about this all day, and you can’t stop thinking about it. This could be the face-to-face introduction that changes everything.
You drive to the location to meet them in person for the first time. You grab a seat and sit patiently, waiting for them to arrive. About 10 minutes roll by, but that’s OK; maybe they needed to stop and put gas in their car. Twenty more minutes pass—now you’re getting concerned. Next thing you know, it’s been an hour, and still, no one shows. As much as you don’t want to believe it, you conclude that you were stood up.
Was it something you said earlier? Were they not ready for a commitment? Why the change of heart with no warning? We get it—meeting with qualified leads for a potential B2B partnership is stressful. Honestly, getting ghosted can hurt worse than being rejected in the first place.
B2B sales reps typically don’t think about appointment no-shows until it happens to them. No-shows can occur for various reasons, and they’re often out of your control. However, the risk of no-show sales appointments can be minimized with the right approach.
Throughout this blog, we’ll discuss:
No-show sales appointments happen all the time. Two of the main reasons why a prospective business doesn’t show up for a sales appointment are emergencies and priorities.
Emergencies are the primary reason why business no-show appointment rates are never zero. Things come up that simply cannot be avoided, like car troubles, health concerns, late-notice department meetings, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to eliminate prospect emergencies. However, you can follow up after the anticipated appointment and propose a new date and time to meet.
More often than not, no-show sales appointments occur due to organizing priorities. When other tasks come up that take precedence, a B2B meeting (especially with a company the prospect has never partnered with before) is pushed to the side and often forgotten about. Prioritizing other responsibilities is sometimes intentional by the prospect, but it can be accidental. If you’re concerned that prioritizing other meetings and tasks is intentional, give the client a reason to prioritize the sales meeting. For example, if the prospect is busy and expresses that they have to work late in the evening, emphasize how your company’s product or service enables them to prioritize their work-life balance.
Are you attending appointments but not closing business? Check out our blog to learn how to create the perfect B2B sales presentation!
While sales appointment no-shows are inevitable, there are ways to prevent no-shows from happening. Here are some successful ways to prevent no-shows for sales appointments:
We’ve all sat through tedious meetings that could’ve been an email. Don’t anticipate this B2B sales meeting as one that could’ve been summed up in an email. When pitching your company’s product or service, add value that’s relevant for the prospect and set an agenda for what you’d like to cover.
Setting a sales meeting agenda gives the prospect a reason to show up and provides a call to action for information they should have prepared before the meeting. This gives them more responsibility for the meeting because they need to bring something to the table rather than showing up for the sake of showing up. Preparing a call to action for the prospect also engages them to learn more about your company before the meeting takes place.
In addition to being meaningful, the meeting needs to be reliable. If your sales development representatives (SDRs) ask themselves if the conversation they just had with a prospect was a pitch or an appointment, it more than likely is not a set-in-stone appointment. While sending sales emails to get appointments is a good start, it may not result in a reliable appointment. If you want a strong appointment with no gray area, cold calling is your best approach to set meetings with key decision-makers (KDMs). Cold calling allows SDRs to add value to your company’s product or service, and you can get a better feel for the prospects by their engagement with the conversation.
One of the biggest mistakes an SDR can make is setting up an appointment with the wrong individual. Scheduling appointments with someone who is not a KDM is a waste of time and resources. Speaking with KDMs is crucial for B2B appointment setting because they are the people who have the power to make financial decisions and close business deals.
Going through the lead cleansing and qualification process enables SDRs to avoid setting up appointments with individuals who don’t have purchasing power. For example, if you’re speaking with someone who says they’re in charge of the building’s HVAC systems but don’t have buying power, feel free to ask them questions about their purchasing process to understand their current situation better. This could help SDRs get in touch with the best point of contact and close a deal.
From when you pitch the prospect to scheduling the appointment, timing is everything. Even though your sales team set an appointment with a hot lead, it doesn’t mean that the lead will stay hot for long. With B2B sales, a lead can turn cold if you don’t act quickly enough.
When scheduling an appointment, it’s crucial to schedule sooner rather than later. When a prospect expresses interest in learning more about your business, scheduling sooner keeps the conversation fresh in their mind. The longer the prospect sits and waits for the meeting, the more time they have for momentum to dissolve. However, scheduling the appointment shortly after the pitch keeps the prospect eager to speak with your business.
In addition to considering the day you set the appointment, it’s also essential that you keep in mind the serial position effect. In psychology, the serial position effect highlights that individuals remember the first and last sequences of their day. By considering the serial position effect with your B2B appointment setting efforts, it’s essential for SDRs to set appointments either earlier in the workday or before prospects go home for the evening. This is an important theory to consider because the prospect will more than likely remember the meeting if it occurs during either of these timeframes.
Lastly, scheduling the appointment sooner rather than later is dependent on your business’s capabilities. For example, here are a couple ways companies avoid the risk of sales appointment no-shows:
- Live Transfer: During a pitch, an SDR immediately transfers the prospect to the individual they’ll have a meeting with. This doesn’t give prospects a chance for no-show appointments because they’re sent directly to whom they need to talk to.
- Zoom Connect: When an SDR schedules an appointment, they attach a Zoom link with the meeting time and send it to the prospect. This guarantees that the email doesn’t get lost and a pitch is held at that exact time.
Whether it’s a phone call or an automated appointment reminder by email, these are significant assets to implement into your appointment setting practices to increase your show rate. Potential customers are busy just like you, and without a simple reminder, an important meeting like this one may slip their minds.
No-show sales appointments are a pain, but they’re bound to affect your response rates every so often. Tracking the frequency of no-show sales appointments is a great way to identify gaps in communication and discover ways to reduce no-show response rates.
Most businesses should have a no-show rate of less than 20%. Even if your company’s no-show rates are less than 20%, there are always ways to decrease this percentage. A CRM platform is great for tracking no-show response rates because it can produce a percentage for you to ensure you’re on the right track.
Maybe it’s the first time a hot lead has ghosted you and maybe it’s the fifth time you’ve tried meeting up—and they go silent. However, don’t send that hate mail just yet. Let’s take a step back and look at the glass half full.
Just because they no-show an appointment doesn’t mean that they don’t need your business. After a sales appointment is missed, try the following measures:
After a prospect no-shows a sales appointment, follow up with them by email or phone call to reconnect and make sure they are OK. As mentioned earlier, emergencies and priorities come up that are out of your control. Since they didn’t make it to the appointment, following up shows that you care about their well-being. This also adds an additional touch to the relationship and builds on the connection for when you and the prospect meet for the first time.
Once you follow up with the prospect, schedule a new date and time that works better for them. If the initial date and time you proposed are typically busy, suggest a new day of the week when they are more available.
If too much time has passed between the missed appointment and the last time you talked to them, it may be best to set this opportunity up as a new pitch. Remind them of the previous conversation you had and discuss what they said they were interested in. From here, tell them you’d like to set up a new date and time to meet and discuss how your company could serve them and their business.
Creating action items for the prospect puts more of a responsibility on them for the meeting. By developing action items, the discussion becomes more engaging than simply sitting in and listening to the conversation.
Unfortunately, you can’t always get a prospect to agree to set up a new meeting time. Once a significant amount of time has passed after the missed appointment, it may be best practice to put them back into the sales pipeline. When this happens, putting them back into the sales pipeline and nurturing the relationship continues the prospecting process so you can reach them when the timing is more relevant.
While you can’t guarantee a 0% no-show rate, there are measures that your company can take to boost sales appointment show rates. These measures include setting high-quality appointments, speaking with the right decision maker, scheduling closer to the appointment set date, and sending reminders.
Even if a client no-shows and doesn’t want to reschedule an appointment, it’s vital to remember that there are plenty of other fish in the sea. Even though that partnership wasn’t an immediate fit, there are plenty of other prospects out there that are looking for a solution that you can provide for them.
Not every company has the tools, technologies, or capabilities to set sales appointments that have value. That’s why businesses reach out to us to maximize their B2B sales efforts. If you’re looking to increase your appointment show rates, reach out to Abstrakt Marketing Group today to schedule a demo of our B2B appointment setting services!