How to deal with no-show appointments

by Gregory Lambelin on Jul 2, 2015 7:35:52 PM

Appointment Setting: How to deal with “no-show’s”

Few things are more frustrating than encountering a “no-show” during a prospective sales meeting. When your day to day work is challenging enough, putting out fires with client emergencies, managing your team, making your deadlines, and generating new sales leads, it can be very aggrevating to make every effort to schedule the appointment, and be on time, only to find out the prospect has cancelled or didn’t show up.

But, don’t despair. One missed meeting can be turned into a reason to reach out to your prospect. Rather than a cold call, you already know this person is interested. After all, they did set up a meeting with you. Just because they didn’t show up, isn’t a reason to feel your lead generation process is broken, or that you’ve lost this prospective client.
Let’s go back to the beginning: Lead generation

Leads are critical for any business model. Generating leads is one of the most important things you’ll ever do, and at the heart of your business. Without leads, you have no clients, and without clients, you have no one to offer your product to. You can see how quickly things can crumble without leads.

So, let’s look at leads for a moment. It’s important to understand that generating leads is not a singular project, but an ongoing process. It’s not something you can check off your list and move on from, but something that takes continual maintenance in order to keep your business functioning properly. So make sure you’re spending the proper time generating leads, and equipping your team with the proper tools to prep those leads. If you’re not generating enough leads, maybe take a moment to go back, look at your process and make some changes.

For now, let’s look at what how to deal with having a lead drop off.

Tips to handle “no-show” leads

So, you’re sitting alone in the meeting room. About twenty minutes has passed without a text or phone call from your prospect, letting you know they’re on their way. It’s probably safe to say they’re not coming. So, what can you do?

  1. Don’t panic. As we discussed before, view this as an opportunity to reach out to your client.
  2. Don’t be accusatory. Being confrontational with someone who may or may not have wronged you by missing your meeting isn’t going to help generate a sale. Stay calm. You have no idea what that person is dealing with, so don’t assume they missed your meeting just to spite you.
  3. Reach out. Show concern for them, and their circumstance. Send an email, or make a phone call asking them how they’re doing and when is a good time to chat about your services.
  4. Ultimately, your goal in handling a “no-show” client is to reschedule. Offer some flexibility, ask the prospect what works for them, offer to go to them, whatever it takes to reschedule the meeting. You already got your foot in their door once, you can do it again.

Preventing future “no-shows”

So, now that you’ve handled your “no-show” effectively and professionally, how can you prevent future “no-show’s” from happening?

  1. Confirm the appointment. Make sure your lead generating process has some kind of confirmation involved. That way, you not only remind your prospect of the appointment, but ideally you get them to commit to coming.
  2. Discuss the meeting ahead of time. If you open the dialog for your potential meeting during the scheduling process, your lead will know what to expect, and get a better idea what you can offer them, making it less likely that they will cancel. Say something like, “from your perspective, what needs to happen at the end of our meeting?” Or, “from your perspective, what do you need to get out of our time together?” Then you can not only assure them that their time won’t be wasted, but you have a clear idea of what that prospect needs from you.
  3. Generate quality leads. This goes back to your lead generating process. When you’re looking for sales leads, it can be tempting to go for quantity over quality. After all, a conversion is a conversion, and the more chances you have to convert, the more likely you will, right? Not necessarily. Make sure the leads you and your team are generating are actually interested in your product. It does you no good to waste time cold calling people who just say they’re interested to get you off the phone. Be diligent about providing a product your client’s can’t live without, and they won’t want to cancel on you in the first place.
    1. Provide your team with quality tools. In order to generate quality leads, your team will need the right tools to create those leads for you. Everything from the proper research about demographics, and your clients needs to different kinds of software, like scheduling and presentation software all contribute to not only creating the lead, but closing the sale. Make sure you and your team are properly equipped.
    2. Be personable. This may seem stupid, and like something you can overlook, but if you aren’t at least a little friendly, you can kill a potential client before he gets a chance to hear your pitch. Be friendly and likeable, and your prospect will want to spend time with you, there for preventing a “no-show” before it can happen.
  4. Give them something to look forward to. Whether it’s a state-of-the-art presentation, or dinner at a fancy restaurant, think outside the box when wooing your prospects and get them excited about their meeting with you. Then, they won’t want to cancel.

Getting stood up during a sales meeting can be extremely frustrating. After all, you did a lot to prepare for the meeting, putting the presentation together, tailoring it to this specific client, only to have them not show up. But, take heart. Just because they didn’t show up this time, doesn’t mean they won’t next time. Be diligent, persistent, and above all, make sure you demonstrate why they won’t want to miss another opportunity to meet with you again.