Ensuring Prospect Attendance in Meetings
The Challenge of No-Shows
Are you struggling to get your prospects to attend a meeting? There are several potential causes: Your prospects may have been pressured into taking the meeting and no longer want to attend; they may not be overly interested and keep prioritizing other things; they simply forgot; they didn't receive the invitation; or they made a genuine mistake and missed the meeting. Here is how Pointer ensures our prospects attend meetings. This procedure has reduced no-shows from 30% to less than 10%.
Industry Variations in No-Show Rates
Now, it's important to note that every industry is different. Nonprofit (NFP) prospects tend to have the highest rate of no-shows, while construction is also relatively high, often due to on-the-day priority shifts; however, they mostly reschedule. Typically, the more senior the individual, the higher the likelihood of their attendance.
Pointer's Standard Operating Procedure
Following this procedure has worked for every sector and is now part of our standard operating procedure for both our outbound services and SDR traning. Firstly, it's important that SDRs are not rewarded for meetings booked, but at a minimum, for meetings attended. This approach holds them accountable for ensuring the person's attendance. If the Account Executive is under time pressure, we set a maximum allowable level of no-shows before it impacts the SDR's KPI.
Steps to Ensure Meeting Attendance
- Understanding Prospect Interest: The SDR should note the level of interest and how hard they had to push for the meeting. This is just for the SDR to understand that if they pressured the prospect, there is a higher likelihood of a no-show. If they put in a 'tentative slot' and said, 'move it around if it's not convenient,' then the prospect is more likely to no-show. Since the SDR is measured on set meetings, this is something for them to be aware of.
- Immediate Calendar Invites: They send a calendar invite immediately after the call. Make it fresh in their mind; the sooner after the call, the better. Most SDRs prefer to do it after their call block to avoid breaking their rhythm. We allow the team members to decide what they prefer.
- Follow-up on Unaccepted Invites: If the calendar invite is not accepted, they call back on the day or first thing the next day to check the prospect got it (maybe they got the email wrong, etc.). We know that 99% of the time, they did receive it. However, receiving this call feels like 'good service.' It might also be the prospect's way of not committing to the meeting. Either way, let's get that sorted.
- Confirming Meeting Times: 1-2 days before the meeting, the SDR sends an email (and by SMS) to the prospect CONFIRMING that the time is still convenient. There is a difference. Reminders do not require a response, but our confirmations do. Reminders give you the higher status, placing the task of attending on the prospect. Confirmation, on the other hand, gives them the higher status, providing them the option of choice by asking for their permission to keep the meeting at the same time.
- Response to Confirmations: If they reply to the above (step 4), then we take it as a confirmed meeting. It's highly unlikely that someone who accepts the calendar invite and replies 24 hours before to confirm the time is still good won't show up.
- Verbal Confirmation on the Day: If they did not reply confirming the time is still convenient, we call on the day and get verbal confirmation. They have shown a small sign that they might not show up. However, the channel of the confirmation message (SMS or email) might have gotten lost. Therefore, we escalate it to a direct channel (call), which will allow us to get an outright yes or no.
- Confirmation in Communication Channels: If the person confirms in points 4 or 6, then the SDR posts in the Slack channel (for the Account Executive to see) that the meeting has been confirmed and is expected to show. This is also our way of ensuring the SDR is adhering to the process. The rest of the team can see that the meeting is scheduled and might decide to contribute with advice or insights.
- Handling Lack of Confirmation: If they still did not get confirmation, the SDR lets the Account Executive know that the meeting will likely be a no-show. Again, this allows us to confirm that the SDR has followed procedure. Management can monitor these and review calls to determine if perhaps the meetings are being set with low-intent prospects