Freddie Marryat, Marketing Manager, EngageIQ

You’ve worked like a dog to set up a meeting only for the prospect not to show up.

Now you’re getting grief from your sales associate and, even worse, you won’t get paid commission, either. Getting ghosted in sales is even worse than getting ghosted on Tinder. 

Sure, cancellations and no-shows happen. You’re never going to have a perfect record or even a 90% attendance rate.

But if more than one in four of your meetings aren’t going ahead, something needs to change. Below we share the tactics that have helped our reps achieve a very healthy 80% attendance rate. 

It Starts With Proper Qualification

We get it. On the face of it, you get paid to book meetings and not close sales. As long as the meeting goes in the diary, it’s up to someone else to convince the prospect to make a purchase, right?

Wrong.

You get paid to book meetings on the premise that there’s a good chance the prospect will convert. Your compensation may not be tied to the end deal, but the growth of your company (and your own job and salary prospects indirectly) depends on a certain close rate.

You’re not helping anyone — even yourself — by booking appointments with prospects who clearly aren’t qualified enough.

That means you’ve got to qualify prospects properly. Do they have a real need your product can solve? Are they a decision-maker? Are they a good fit? If they’re not, you’re just wasting your time and that of everyone else in the company.

Just Ask One More Question

Here’s an EngageIQ secret. There’s an extra step that we recommend reps take just after the prospect has agreed to the meeting and before you set a time. 

“What would you like to get out of our meeting?”

If the prospect can’t give a sufficient answer to the question, it’s a red flag they might ghost you. Dig deeper if something doesn’t feel right. Don’t be afraid of being even more direct and asking the prospect if they really want the meeting.

This question also allows you to discover hidden insights and topics that can help you create a killer meeting agenda. The more the prospect thinks they’ll get out of the meeting, the more likely they are to attend. 

Set the Right Date

Certain times of the day should be considered no-gos when booking meetings. No one wants to have a meeting first thing Monday morning, for instance. Or Friday afternoon, for that matter. According to Yesware’s analysis of 25,000 sales calls, weekday afternoons are best, particularly between 3 pm and 5 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

It’s your responsibility to recognise when meeting times may be inappropriate. If a prospect wants a meeting, they won’t necessarily think about how they’ll feel on that specific day. While they’ll be happy to schedule a demo for Monday morning in two weeks, they won’t necessarily feel the same way when that Monday rolls around. 

The sooner you can book in a meeting, the better. Of course, you’ll need to factor in your prospect’s calendar. But if you let weeks go by before they have the meeting, you’re increasing the chance they’ll go cold on you. 

Get in Their Calendar

An appointment isn’t truly booked until it’s in your prospect’s calendar. Otherwise, you’ll end up with prospects who forget or double-book their time. 

Some reps like to send out an invite while they’re still on the phone to the prospect. Doing so, lets them know the prospect has definitely received the invite, agrees with the time and date, and hits “Yes”.

If you send the invite after the call, make sure to get a response to the invitation. If you don’t get notified within 24 hours, check in with the prospect to make sure they got the invitation and are still happy with the time. If you’re worried about harassing your prospect, include a piece of relevant content that will add value ahead of the meeting.

Give Them a Reason to Show

Just because you think the meeting will deliver huge amounts of value to your prospect doesn’t mean they feel the same way. In fact, according to a survey by HubSpot, 58% of sales meetings aren’t valuable to buyers.

Your initial email invite can go a long way to convincing prospects your meeting is worth their time. Rather than sending across a template email with a boring title and the time and date, turn your invite into a sales pitch.

Start by making the title enticing. So instead of “EngageIQ Demo Meeting with David,” write: “How EngageIQ Can Grow Your Pipeline”.

Next, include all the contact information you could need. If someone else is attending the meeting, write a quick bio that bigs up their experience and demonstrates how they have helped similar companies in the past. 

Finally, write an agenda that lays out exactly what the meeting will cover and, crucially, what they will get out of it. 

Send Several Reminders

Send Several Reminders

If you stay in contact with prospects in the run-up to the meeting and don’t just hand them straight over to a sales executive, then it’s a good idea to send regular reminders and to continue to add value until the meeting happens. 

Your prospect is busy and even though the meeting is in their diary, there’s still a chance they’ll forget why they’re meeting with you. That makes follow-ups essential if you want to improve meeting attendance.

If your email or calendar platform sends out automated emails, great. But you’ll still want to follow up manually to make sure your reminders are getting through. 

A few days before the meeting, make contact using whichever channel has been most effective with that prospect to date. It doesn’t matter if it’s by phone, email or text. The important thing is that you get through to them and have them confirm their attendance. 

Send another reminder on the morning of the meeting. This time an email or text reminder is absolutely fine. A little nudge is all that’s needed here with a short message that says you look forward to speaking with them later. 

Every time you do send a reminder, make an effort to add value to the relationship by attaching a relevant article you’ve found or including the meeting’s agenda. In doing so, you’re less likely to come across as hassling the prospect and more likely to grow the relationship even further.

Go Forth and Book Meetings With Confidence

It doesn’t matter whether you’re booking appointments for yourself, for a sales executive or for a client, there’s no better feeling for an SDR than getting a meeting in the diary. 

Don’t let a no-show ruin it. As we said at the start, a perfect meeting attendance record isn’t realistic. But there’s no reason you can’t use the tactics above to make sure the vast majority of your meetings go ahead as planned. 

Images by: Loui Kiær, Jim Reardan, JESHOOTS.COM, Austin Distel