If you’re part of a sales team, you understand that rejection comes with the territory of your role.
You know what’s worse than getting rejected, though?
Think about it. Your schedule is tight. The idea of pouring your valuable time into prepping for a no-show is enough to make any sales rep cringe.
Consider also that the average salesperson spends approximately 20% of their time researching their leads and prospects. Every no-show represents a drag on your productivity and a potential opportunity lost.
Oh, and don’t forget about the impact no-shows can have on morale.
Food for thought: nearly two-thirds of salespeople are on the verge of burnout. For anyone struggling to meet quotas or manage their schedules more efficiently, a no-show is like a punch in the gut.
The takeaway here? No matter what you’re selling, you should have a strategy to improve your show rates.
And despite popular belief, reducing no-shows isn’t totally out of your control.
Below are eight effective ways to improve your show rates and keep your calendar full of meaningful meetings.
1. Encourage Attendees to Choose a Meeting Time That Works for Them
It’s no secret that convenience is king.
Just like you and your team are probably crazy busy, so are your leads.
That’s why anything you can do to make life easier for people during the booking process is a plus. This means suggesting meeting times that mesh with your leads’ schedules from the moment they book with you.
For example, Chili Piper allows you to highlight open meeting times to prospects based on your availability.
Showing multiple meeting times gives your prospects a sense of flexibility and choice, making your initial invite infinitely more welcoming. Meanwhile, our platform also allows people to click through to a full calendar just in case none of the suggested times are a good fit.
We actually tested suggest meeting times versus booking links in the past and the results were phenomenal in terms of engagement (hint: 13x the number of bookings).
This booking strategy helps improve your show rates by putting the ball in your customers’ court in terms of setting their schedule. In other words, you don’t have to second-guess any sort of scheduling conflicts. You likewise avoid endless email chains trying to pin down a time that makes sense.
Here’s what our platform looks like for inbound leads looking to book on-site. The welcoming language (“What day is best for you?” and “What time works?”) is a subtle yet significant touch to signal that you’re all about convenience.
Oh, and the fact that our calendar automatically confirms and syncs your meetings in your leads’ inboxes (Gmail, Outlook) and CRM (Salesforce) is a nice added bonus. The end result is headache-free scheduling that cements the date and time of your meeting from the word “go.”
2. Try to Keep Meeting Requests Within a 14-Day Timeframe
Pop quiz: do you know when your next dentist appointment is? When are you due for your next checkup?
You don’t have to answer that, by the way. The answer is probably a resounding “I don’t know,” isn’t it?
The point is this: the longer you schedule a meeting in advance, the more likely your lead is to either blow it off or flat-out forget about it.
Why? Well, remember what we said earlier about people being crazy busy? There’s a lot that can happen between now and next month, including other appointments and opportunities for your leads to get in touch with competitors.
Don’t let your leads linger. Instead, try to meet with them ASAP.
Of course, “today” or “tomorrow” aren’t always the most convenient times for most people in a time crunch.
What’s the compromise, then? We recommend restricting your scheduling timeline to a two-week period. This provides a balance between convenience and immediacy. If your lead really can’t meet until next week, it’s not the end of the world.
In Chili Piper, you can establish and customize how far out in advance someone books with you based on your meeting type. On the flip side, you can provide a minimum amount of time required between bookings and meetings so you don’t run into surprise meetings or are stuck with no time to prep.
3. Give Your Attendees a Nudge with Automated Meeting Reminders
Automated reminders are a must-have if you want to improve your show rates.
Again, your leads are probably juggling meetings and calls of their own.
Just because you occupy a slot on their calendar doesn’t mean they’re 100% going to show up.
Automated reminders are perfect for giving your attendees a small “nudge” that won’t seem spammy at all. Chili Piper gives you the freedom to schedule automated reminders to do exactly that.
We recommend sending three distinct reminders at the following times: 24 hours prior to meeting, one hour prior to the meeting and one minute prior to the meeting. This cadence actually helped Chili Piper achieve an outbound no-show rate of ~10%.
Not bad, right? Heck, that’s better than the “standard” 20% no-show rate you see touted in the sales space.
And note that our reminders aren’t some sort of masterclass in copywriting, either. Here’s an example of our 24-hour reminder sent to prospects who haven’t accepted the calendar invite, for reference.
Interested in stealing our cadence and message templates? By all means, go for it! Either way, automated reminders are proven to reduce no-shows across all industries and B2B sales is no different.
Beyond email reminders, Chili Piper also allows you to send SMS reminders to attendees as well. These are especially useful for in-person events where your attendees might be on-the-go versus online meetings.
Given that SMS read rates can be as high as 98%, coupling text reminders with email makes sense to improve your show rates.
4. Don’t Neglect Calls and In-Person Reminders
A quick tip but definitely something worth noting.
When it comes to outreach and follow-ups, calls and direct mail follow-ups are more likely to make an impact on prospects than digital ones.
Are email follow-ups easier? Is SMS faster? Absolutely.
But do digital reminders really separate your reps from the noise in your prospects’ inboxes?
You probably already know the answer.
Granted there’s time in your schedule, making a quick call or even dropping a letter to a big account is totally worth it in terms of the potential ROI.
5. Qualify Your Leads Prior to Booking a Meeting
The best way to eliminate no-shows is by scheduling your meetings as soon as a prospect submits a request form.
Because no lag time or back-and-forth means that they literally can’t leave you hanging.
Of course, not every form submission is going to be worth a phone call or meeting.
That’s where Chili Piper can do some seriously heavy lifting. When you embed a calendar with our platform and someone books with you, Chili Piper will automatically schedule a meeting if your prospects meet your criteria for a worthwhile lead.
If so, they’ll instantly be met with an invitation to hop on a call (granted your reps are available).
Even if you can’t get in touch immediately, they can still schedule a meeting and you’ll be up one more qualified lead in your calendar.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean your meeting is 100% locked down. We recommend pre-qualifying your prospect yourself with a quick call or email when a meeting is scheduled. Here’s an example of an effective follow-up once a meeting is booked.
See how that works?
Now, let’s say you have a few days between now and your next big demo meeting.
Although you might see this as a negative, this downtime provides you an opportunity to provide extra value to your leads and stay fresh in their minds prior to a get-together.
Recent research by Gartner notes that B2B buyers are hungry for information that helps them make purchasing decisions. That said, the hunt for relevant information is often exhausting and overwhelming.
Prior to your call, you can point your contact to a recent video, case study or other pieces of content that speaks to your product and their pain points.
You might think that doing so is superfluous, but the benefits are three-fold:
- You get another opportunity to nudge your lead and remind them of your future meeting
- You build anticipation for your product and demonstrate its value
- You give your lead a sort of “homework assignment” that they’re expected to reference, giving them some extra stake in the meeting
Remember, when it comes to booking calls and meetings, think “quality” over “quantity.”
The ability to discern legitimate leads from tire-kickers can help improve your show-rates. After all, you obviously want to spend time face-to-face or on the phone with people in the decision-making stage versus people who are “just browsing.”
6. Write Up an Enticing and Actionable Meeting Agenda
Truth be told, there is no “silver bullet” for improving your show rates.
How you schedule and book your attendees is perhaps the most important part of the equation, but it’s not the be-all, end-all.
For example, ask yourself: what are you doing to make your meeting can’t-miss?
Either as part of your reminder series or in a separate email, consider putting together a bulleted agenda to set expectations for your next meeting.
You don’t need to write a novel here. Simply outline the following points in a few sentences or less:
- Where you stand as of your last meeting
- Highlight the specific products and features your lead was interested in
- The scope of your next meeting in terms of time
- A request for any last-minute questions your lead might have
7. Go the Extra Mile with Direct Mail They Can’t Ignore
McKinsey notes that companies that engage in “human experiences” experience a higher quality of sales.
The same logic rings true when you’re trying to get folks to show up to your meetings.
Look, anyone can book a meeting and go back-and-forth via email. However, you can make a real lasting impression with personalized, in-person gifts.
Companies like Sendoso specialize in gift packages you can send to your leads and sales targets to really show them that you’re all-in on your relationship. According to Sendoso themselves, a staggering 80% of people enjoy receiving packages.
Here’s an example of one of their branded gift boxes in the wild:
A far cry from a digital message, handwritten notes and gifts are a simple but effective way to stand out from the crowd. Just think, chances are your competitors aren’t going through the trouble of sending out something like this, are they?
And no, you’re not expected to send personalized gifts to each and every lead on your calendar. Instead, consider this tactic for bottom-of-the-funnel leads who need an extra push.
8. Allow for Seamless Rescheduling
Finally, consider that it’s better late than never when it comes to having a meeting.
Thus the ability to swiftly reschedule is a smart move.
In case your lead needs to switch times for whatever reason, Chili Piper allows you to reschedule your meetings via quick links.
If you’re unavailable for the rescheduled time, someone else can fill in for you based on their availability. For example, Chili Piper makes sure that your prospect is taken care of by allowing you to reassign to available reps in a snap.
This is particularly useful in case a rep suddenly gets sick or is otherwise unable to attend a meeting with little to no notice. By catering to your prospect’s schedule, they’re more likely to stick to the original meeting time rather than requiring them to reschedule.
As a parting note, you can’t keep all of your leads from no-showing.
People experience emergencies. Life gets in the way of work. It happens.
Always put your no-shows into context before writing them off entirely. If you’ve captured their information, there’s always the possibility of winning them back later on.
We recommend putting together a process for following up with no-shows. Specifically, Chili Piper allows you to mark no-shows in your calendar and automate cadences to reach out and reschedule. This puts less pressure on your sales team to follow-up manually and improves your show rates by putting your “second chances” on autopilot.
That said, there comes a point where it might make sense to let go of leads who repeatedly reschedule on you. Circling back to point #2, managing a tighter calendar that encourages more immediate meetings is arguably the best way to reduce no-shows and keep yourself booked.
And with that, we wrap up our guide!
What Are You Doing to Improve Your Show Rates?
No matter how you slice it, getting more meetings on your calendar is a plus.
And ideally, you want people to actually show up to them.
If you stick to the tips above, you can improve your show rates and ensure that you make the most of the meetings you do have.
By integrating your outreach and scheduling with tools such as Chili Piper, you can do so sooner rather than later.