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Meetings booked vs meetings attended: How to stop the drop

November 23, 2021

🎶 If you’re all alone...

Pick up the phone and call…

Ghostbusters Your prospects! 🎶

^ Yes, that cringy intro just happened, and no, you can’t unread it.

To be fair…

It was between that and a play on words from Apollo 440’s “Stop the Rock” - so here we are!

Anyway, let’s leave the singing to the professionals and get back to the B2B sales stuff!

So, you’ve called your prospect, made your sales pitch, and booked your meeting.

Great!

But, what happens when they don’t show up?

 🎶When a prospect ghosts you, who you gonna call?

Your sales manager? 🎶

Sure, perhaps if this happens once or twice.

But, if it keeps happening, you need to change your strategy before it affects your performance as a rep.

We spoke to our SDR Manager, Hugh Campbell, and our US SDR Team Lead, Tim Miller, to get the tips you need to stop the drop off in meetings attended.

Scroll 👇 to get the pointers you need the most.

Why prospects are no-shows | Time is of the essence | Confirm, confirm, confirm | Don’t ghost them | A checklist on how to hook ‘em | More sales content from Cognism

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Why prospects are no-shows 📅🙅‍♀️

If you’re following your meeting booking process, often you can gauge whether the prospect will show up to your meeting or not.

You get a sense of whether they’re that interested or not.

This will lay the foundation for how you follow up with the prospect, but we’ll dive into that later.

First, we must take a look into why prospects don’t show up for your meetings.

Hugh runs us through these:

“When prospects don’t attend meetings, it’s often to do with things that are out of our control. Their child could be ill, or they have a last-minute meeting that they have to jump into.”

“It’s rare that a prospect will flat-out cancel your meeting unless they’re found another vendor. You’ve got to remember that it’s often last-minute things popping up that contribute to the reason they’re not turning up.”

What we want to focus on though is ensuring they show up!

So, where do you start?

With your timing, of course! 👇

Time is of the essence ⌛

If you want your prospects to attend your meetings, you’ve got to act quickly.

One of the biggest mistakes SDRs make when booking meetings is openly scheduling meetings too far out.

Tim explains why you shouldn’t do this:

“If it’s Tuesday, you can’t book the meeting for next week. The prospect will forget, lose urgency, and be more likely to not show up to the meeting.”

When asking for the meeting it’s crucial to give the option of the same day (later in the afternoon), or tomorrow.

By offering to meet later than that, you're relinquishing control of the most important part of booking the meeting: timing.

“Do your best not to make concessions here. I’ve heard other SDRs say their AE can’t meet weeks down the road because they’ll be out of the office, even when it isn’t true, just to book them in.”

“Ethical? Your choice. But it does go to show how important it is to book meetings as soon as possible, so the prospect doesn’t forget the urgency and interest you worked so hard to create.”

Hugh agrees that timing and urgency are everything too.

“Your starting point will always be to get the meeting booked as quickly as possible so that you’re top-of-mind, and so that they don’t forget about you. You should also avoid booking meetings first thing on a Monday or last thing on a Friday.”

You need to remember that on Monday mornings, people are busy and playing catch-up.

On Friday afternoons, people are wanting to go home early and the last thing they want to do is attend a meeting.

Once you’ve drilled down the urgency of the meeting, you’ve got to 👇

Confirm, confirm, confirm ✅

As an SDR, you need to remember that decision-makers are incredibly busy.

They’re in all sorts of meetings all day. They’ve got emails to follow up on, decisions to make, things to buy, etc.

That said, things get moved around.

And you’re not a priority.

But, Tim reminds us of how to become that priority:

“There are too many moving parts to remember to attend a meeting with an SDR who hasn’t reached out in six days.”

“Make sure you confirm the meeting the day before or the day of. Have your AE reach out. Let your manager or someone similar send a message or give a call to express excitement and gratitude.”

“Make your prospect feel like the most important person in the world. Being different is rare, and doing so makes it really hard for a prospect to turn you down.”

Hugh echoed Tim’s sentiments:

“You should get the prospect to accept the calendar invite while you’ve got them on the phone. This way, you’ll know that they’ve received it and that they’re essentially locked into the meeting.”

You can also reach out to the prospect to confirm your meeting.

Whether this is via email, telephone, WhatsApp, or other messaging platforms, don’t shy away from ensuring they’ll turn up!

And, as much as you don’t want your prospects to ghost you, you’ve got to ensure that you...

Don’t ghost them 👻

All too often, reps get upset about prospects ghosting them, when they’re guilty of ghosting them first!

Tim explains how to avoid this:

“Ensure you send an email recapping the call you just had with them when booking. If the meeting is multiple days out, send them another email or two with a blog or something that provides value to them.”

“By booking the meeting and not providing any value until that meeting begins, we’re serving ourselves. Don’t serve yourself, give to your prospect and they’re more likely to give back.”

“You’d be surprised how often a prospect simply accepts a meeting invite after sending a quick, two-line email with an article attached.”

Hugh also thinks sending valuable content to your prospect is incredibly helpful in ensuring they attend your meeting.

“You want to keep them engaged until your meeting takes place. If you do have to book a meeting that’s far out,  you need to double down on this. Connect with them on LinkedIn, engage with one of their posts, and send over case studies or other company materials you have that you feel will benefit them, like a Cold Calling Handbook, for example.”

“What you're trying to do is pique their interest, keep them engaged, and most importantly, keep your company top-of-mind, right up until you meet.”

It’s incredibly important to choose the content you’re sending your prospect on a case-by-case basis.

So, when you’re deciding what to send over, you’ve got to ensure that what you’re sending is relevant to your prospect.

What this comes down to is evaluating their pain points on your initial call and addressing these in the content you’re sending over.

So, if they’re trying to improve their cold calling, send them over a cold calling piece.

If it’s their marketing that needs work, send over a marketing playbook, a case study that’s relevant to their industry, and so on.

When you’ve got these bases covered, you’ll want to go over 👇

A checklist on how to hook ‘em 📋

Of course, there are many different ways to ensure your prospects attend your meetings.

Here’s a checklist of all the really important points.

1 - Make the meeting sound as important as possible

The more important the meeting is, the more likely it is for someone to attend it.

The way to up the ante?

Explain the process.

This means telling the prospect:

  • How you’re going to go away and chat with a senior colleague who will be showing them how your product or solution works.
  • How you’re going to have a meeting to discuss their project and put together a strategy to best help them.

Hugh explains that you want to add weight to the meeting you want them to attend.

“You can also send a handover email to your prospect to introduce the AE who’s going to run them through the meeting. This will make the process seem more formal, bring in the senior colleague, and again, add weight to the meeting.”

2 - Avoid calling the meeting a demo

A demo sounds like something you can get out of.

Instead, you’ll want to refer to your appointment as a screen-share meeting.

Hugh explains the reasoning behind this.

“You have to avoid using the word demonstration. We found that prospects didn’t find this very binding and it sounded like something that didn’t seem too important. When we changed to calling it a screen-share meeting, just from adding the word meeting, it sounded more important and attendance went up.”

3 - Contact your prospect the night and morning before

Hugh stresses the importance of contacting your prospect the night before and the morning of your meeting.

Check whether they have everything they need for the meeting, and ensure that they’ll be attending.

If you can’t get hold of your prospect, Hugh outlines the various ways in which you should persevere:

  • Send them a Reachdesk.
  • If they’re not answering your calls, keep ringing them until they do.
  • Message them on LinkedIn.
  • Send a Vidyard.
  • Email them.

Tim adds one final point to our checklist:

4 - Using discovery to level up

Discovery isn’t just for fact-finding and uncovering pain.

You should use discovery as another tool in your belt throughout the journey of getting your prospect to the meeting.

“When closing, it’s important to use a different approach for each prospect. Your solution solves multiple problems. Pitch the prospect on the problem they’ve admitted they’re having.”

“This allows the meeting to be stickier in the prospect’s brain. They won’t be as interested in what your solution does. They will, however, care about the problem you aim to solve for them.

And when they’re focused on what you can do for them, they’re far more likely to attend your meeting!

Right, now that we’ve got more prospects attending your meetings, you’ll want to look to other areas to Improve upon 👇

More sales content from Cognism 🚀

And that’s where we come in!

Cognism has a whole range of tips, resources and guides that you can use to up your sales game!

Get all the tips you need by checking out our blog 👇

Take me to the tips!

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And, as a bonus, you should:

Follow Tim Miller  on LinkedIn

for even more relatable and actionable content!