By Rachel Williams
In this installment of our Sales Playbook Series, we offer best practices for reducing sales no-show rates so your prospects show up prepared for the most successful meeting. You can find even more resources that help sales reps go from good to great through our latest posts on cold emails that convert and discovery calls for consultative selling.
Whether you reach your prospect through email prospecting or an inbound approach, it’s important to use a deliberate strategy to make sure they actually show up for the meeting. No-shows can put your sales opportunities at risk, causing a delay or even the end to a sales cycle. They also require extra chasing from your reps and lead to fewer conversations—you want your reps talking to people and closing, not chasing.
Using these proven methods, you can get ahead and make sure your prospects show up on time, prepared and excited for the most productive meeting.
1. Limit how far in advance your prospect has to schedule the meeting
You may be focused on providing the optimal experience for the prospect (and we get that), but giving your warm lead a broad window of time to schedule a meeting increases the chances of them going cold. Don’t let weeks go by before you can get in front of them to have a conversation about your product or service. By then, they may not remember the urgent feeling that drove their initial interest, and the likelihood of ever connecting with them or winning the business drops.
Outbound leads: You’ve spent time and effort to get these prospects interested with successful cold emails or other tactics in the first place—don’t let that go to waste. When you offer availability to meet, make sure you display only the next 5 days for your prospect to choose from to avoid their interest level changing before the meeting. With an automated scheduling tool like Calendly, you can control the availability date range you offer.
Inbound leads: The interest level of inbound leads is typically higher than outbound. Use this as an opportunity to get them scheduled immediately so you can act on their interest and keep the sales cycle moving at a quick pace. Give them a time frame of 2-3 days to schedule with you.
Why this works. By offering a small window of time for your prospect, you’re creating a sense of urgency to show your customer you want to help them solve their challenges sooner. This approach not only reduces no-shows, but also gets your initial meeting set quicker.
2. Set automated reminders
Many sales teams accept that they are going to have no-shows, but those that use automated scheduling software know that it doesn’t have to be this way. Your scheduling software enables you to set automated reminders for meetings, which avoids manual follow-ups, reduces no-shows and offers the information your prospect needs to be prepared for the meeting. In fact, 88% of Calendly’s sales users surveyed said meeting no-shows have decreased by using automated reminders.
The key to successful reminders is customizing them so you can send more than one at exactly the right times with the right information to help your prospect prepare for the meeting. I used to have a notification on my calendar to send a reminder to each prospect before their meeting. This took a lot of time, sometimes I would forget and the customer wouldn’t show up. Automating with this cadence has made a huge impact on deals closed.
Pro tip: here’s the automated reminder cadence that works great for sales.
24 hours ahead of meeting: With a reminder the day before, you’re reaching out to the prospect at the perfect time and reminding them not only about the meeting, but to prepare and read over any material you share beforehand. This will lead to a productive meeting and get the prospect excited to talk to you the next day, making them more likely to keep it on the calendar and show up on time.
4 hours ahead of meeting: A day-of reminder is another chance to get prospects excited and prepared for the meeting. If they didn’t read over the information you shared in the reminder the day before, here’s another opportunity for them to do so. A prospect showing up on time and ready for a successful sales meeting leads to more deals won. Worst case, this reminder serves as an opportunity for your prospect to reschedule if something came up and derailed their day. Without it, they may have forgotten about the meeting, missed it and never thought about it again—and you’ve lost the prospect completely.
On average, Calendly’s sales users have decreased no-show rates by 28% using automated reminders. What does that mean? Say you’re getting 7 no-shows a week. Calendly can get you back at least 2 of those meetings each week. If rescheduling a typical meeting takes at least 15 minutes, that’s 30 minutes back into your week to interact with prospects.
3. Redirect your prospect to relevant content after scheduling
There’s always going to be some lapse of time between getting the meeting on the calendar and the actual meeting, and it’s your job to keep your prospect engaged. Provide them with content that’s meaningful and impactful to avoid drop-off. Here are a few scenarios and suggestions for what to send before the meeting:
Discovery. You want your prospect to understand how your product or service hits on a specific pain point or challenge of theirs → send them a case study relevant to their use case so they get excited about the meeting and the value your solution will bring.
Demo of your product. For the most effective meeting, you want your prospect to have some experience with your product → if your product has a trial option, send them to a signup page after scheduling so they can show up prepared. If you don’t have a trial, send collateral specific to the features/services that will be presented in the upcoming demo.
Handoff meeting from sales to account management. You’ve sold your customer, and now you want to show them that your team will continue to be a resource for them → send them to a page that describes what their first 15, 30 or 60 days as a customer will look like and how your onboarding or implementation team will support them.
4. Send a high-level agenda
Before the meeting, send an email with the agenda or include it in the meeting invite. Make sure to outline:
Your prospect’s challenges
What you plan to talk about
How the meeting will progress
Project next steps
Also, note that you will save time for their questions so they know their goals are a top priority for the meeting. This added touch goes a long way to show the prospect that you care, you’re listening to them and have a plan. It also gives them a chance to react to the agenda if they have feedback beforehand, helping to have a more productive meeting.
Enjoyed this post? Our Sales Playbook Series offers proven strategies and free takeaways to help sales teams implement true consultative selling practices to meet their quota and then some while building better relationships with prospects:
Cold emails that convert (email template to copy and paste and implement in your process right away)
Sales discovery call questions to guide your consultative selling strategy (list of call questions to start using today)
Rachel is our Director of Sales at Calendly. She loves her kids, her cat, and software sales in January.
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