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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

What do you MEAN he’s not here? We had an appointment!

missed appointmentWe’ve all had the experience of showing up for a meeting to learn the prospect (or client) is not there.  It’s easy to take this kind of a no-show as an insult… and assume the other party simply has no respect for your time.

I decided to call a few consultants and ask their advice on this issue, and they offered several ideas that could make your next meeting more difficult for the client to miss.  


Here's what they said:

Sophie Fry:  Send an agenda for the appointment in advance.  And then, confirm the day before.  You might even send a text message saying, “I’m on my way will be there in ___ minutes.”  

Kurt Sima:  Rock-solid valid business reasons can minimize cancelations and no-shows.  If you have a truly valid reason for meeting with this prospect, and that reason is focused on specific ways you can help them… you’re less likely to be frustrated by a cancellation or no-show.   

Matt Sunshine:  Make sure the prospect was involved in setting the agenda.  If the prospect feels like it’s their meeting as much as the seller’s meeting it’s more likely to happen and be more productive.  Sales are something we do "with" a prospect not "to" a prospect.  

Emily Estey:  People get stood up because they haven't proven their value… or, too many reps before them sat in front of the client and had nothing to say.  So, send a well thought-out agenda and priorities to your prospect BEFORE the meeting. It looks like you've put some time into the call already so they'll be more likely to not cancel, and it looks credible.  

Jim Hopes:  My suggestion is to do some empathetic contracting early on in the process, to make sure the client is fully on board with the appointment, and has a responsibility to be there when the salesperson arrives. You might say something like, “Mike, I can tell from our conversations how busy you are and how precious your time is, so I'm glad we have this time scheduled. One of the keys to making this time productive is in getting started on time and staying focused. I promise to be there right on-time. If for some reason you are running behind please let me know in advance, so I can adjust my schedule, because we know this meeting is important to both of us.”

I think most salespeople avoid doing this because they're afraid the person will weasel out of the meeting before it begins, but the reality is what you are describing above happens all too often.  


Want to learn more?


Mike Anderson is VP Consumer Insights and Communication at The Center for Sales Strategy

Topics: Sales