No-Shows; why do they occur and how do you avoid them?

Digital meetings are a phenomenon that has been around for quite some years now.

With this new format of meetings, as with anything else, comes with its pros and cons.

The main advantage is quite obvious, convenience. You have the possibility of attending a meeting from pretty much anywhere in the world. Another benefit is the amount of time it saves. As opposed to spending 45 minutes in transit to get to your meeting, you’re able to roll out of bed and get suited up just moments before. You’re essentially getting a lot of time back in the day to focus on other areas of the business. But not everyone agrees that this fairly new format is actually for the better, advocates stress that you’re not able to build dialogue in the same way through a computer screen. Fair point.

All this aside, there’s nothing more frustrating than a no-show. The world of digital meetings does allow this, unfortunately. As a fellow sales rep, I’ve had my fair share of no-shows. 

We’ve all been here. Meeting scheduled for 10.00 AM.
09.58 – Enter the meeting, well prepared, with your best smile and a freshly ironed shirt.
10.03 – Radio-silence, still no one there. But the hope is still alive!
10.05 – Hope is diminishing for every minute that passes. Sending the “Hi (firstname), I’m in the meeting, are you on your way in? :)” email as a hail mary.
10.10 – Curtain drops. Leave the meeting, frustrated and upset.

Why do they occur?

Well, the phenomenon of no-shows could be a scientific research in itself. Why no-shows occur, is nothing I’m going to be able to answer in full right here and now. In the eyes of a sales rep, it can sometimes feel like the only reason for why they happen is because of a lack of respect from the prospect. Here’s my thoughts on why they happen;

1. You scheduled the meeting too far ahead in time.
The more time that passes from the point in time where the meeting was booked until when it’s supposed to take place – the greater is the risk of a no-show.
2. The prospect gave you a reactive “yes” in order for you to back off.
The prospect knew from your forward-leaning approach that if he or she gave you a “no”, they would have to motivate their answer and reply to several follow-up questions.
3. The booked slot was to preliminary
The prospect was behind the wheel, on the subway or in a similar situation to where they weren’t able to access their calendar. You just wanted to schedule the meeting in question, and hence said “You know what, I’ll send you a preliminary invite for 2PM next Tuesday and then we’ll reconnect when it closes in”.

How do you avoid them?

Let me be really clear here; there is no way to avoid no-shows completely. However, there are some useful tactics to reduce them;
1.  Send a personal video to the participant(s) the day before a meeting.
Through sending a personal video (we use Vaam) to the participants before a meeting, addressing them directly, they will feel responsibility in getting back to you – in the world of sales, what comes around goes around. You’ve clearly invested time and effort into this meeting, you’re excited about it, and not showing up at all would leave them with a sense of guilt (not saying that you should guilt trip someone into a meeting..).
2. Call them ahead of time to confirm
Make sure to give the participant a phone call a couple of hours before the meeting (or the day before), in order to confirm that the meeting will, in fact, take place. This call can also be disguised as a research-call – “Is there anything in particular that you would want to focus extra on during our meeting this afternoon?”.
A text message or LinkedIn-message works fine as well.
3. Make sure the time actually works for the participant and book it as soon as possible.
When you’re in dialogue with the prospect, make sure that he or she is actually checking their calendar for a suitable time – not just saying “Tuesday at 2PM should work” or “Tuesdays usually work”.
When you propose a meeting, don’t propose “next friday”. Do not be afraid to propose a meeting the following day already. If you succeed with such a proposal and get a yes – your risk of getting a no-show is immensely lower.

Through following these three simple steps, we’ve seen an increase in show-up rate from 55% to 90% (!) in the span of a month. 

And lastly, if there is someone reading this on the receiving end of outbound sales – please be respectful and let the sales rep know ahead of time if you’re not able to make the call 😉 

All the best,

Picture of Axel Bengtsson

Axel Bengtsson

Head of Sales

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