I HEART No-Shows—And You Should Too

Chris Beall, CEO, ConnectAndSell

An hour glass with red sand sitting on a book.

Ask most sales professionals about no-shows, and they’ll tell you the same thing: no-shows suck! I deeply disagree. Why do I HEART them? Here are my top five reasons:

  1. No-shows are inevitable. Things come up. It’s entirely possible that I am not the center of my prospect’s universe. When something is inevitable, I am better off embracing it than complaining about it. In fact, nothing shifts my mindset away from positive possibilities more quickly than complaining about inevitabilities. We complain in order to demonstrate that we are part of the village and that we share the same pain. But success in sales, like in everything, comes at the cost of abandoning mediocrity. And complaining about things we can’t do anything about is a true declaration of our commitment to mediocrity. Embracing the inevitable is a step on the path toward excellence.
  2. No-shows give me the gift of time. There is always something useful to do with an extra 30 minutes. Sure, I was hoping to hold that meeting, and in my fantasy world it was the one that would lead to a wonderful deal, maybe even a quota-busting deal. But as someone with a very full calendar, each no-show gives me time to do something that has backed up on my “get it done” list, like write a blog article! Or push a button and talk to someone new. Or push a button and talk to someone who…no-showed yesterday!
  3. No-shows, especially repeated no-shows, are sometimes a clear and unambiguous way of communicating lack of interest. And lack of interest in what I am offering is surely a disqualifier. We are taught in sales that qualifying rigorously is our best way of focusing our efforts. How convenient, then, when a prospect votes with their feet, so to speak, and doesn’t show up when, in fact, they really only accepted the meeting as a way of ending the call where I asked for the meeting!
  4. No-shows are an opportunity to have a conversation about rescheduling. This is one of the easiest and most productive sales conversations we can have. “I see that we were scheduled to meet yesterday at 2:30. Something must have come up for you. When would be a good time to get together?”
  5. No-shows are easy and cheap to manufacture. This is the very best feature of no-shows. In any conversation, I can make a simple offer: “I’ll send you a calendar invitation, which we can reschedule if needed, and you can go about your business.” I know the idea of simply setting the meeting and then letting it no-show, is counterintuitive. But taken as a complete process, sending the invitation and rescheduling is both more efficient and effective than extending a cold call, or even a standard follow-up call, to choose a mutually agreeable date and time. Why?
    • You will almost always get an initial “go ahead, so your meetings-per-conversation metric will skyrocket. This is especially true if the prospect is on a call, about to join a meeting, or even in their car. You have taken one thing off their plate, and in exchange they will verbally agree to meet at some point in the future.
    • You know this person actually answers their phone—and at the number you used to call them. So, you have made following up, especially to reschedule when they don’t show, practical and efficient.
    • You have something simple, concrete, and non-threatening to talk about when you call them: rescheduling the meeting. And you are talking with them in the context of your relationship, which might not be strong yet, but is certainly better than the moment you ambushed them!

The data says that this approach can consistently generate a 25% increase in meeting-yield per conversation, which is more than five times the average we see across all our customers at ConnectAndSell in a data set of more than 50 million dials. And the data also shows that the net show rate—that is, the number of meetings-held divided by the number of prospects who verbally agreed to the invitation—is north of 85% as long as you systematically persist in calling to reschedule. Keep your reschedule list handy and start dialing immediately when that next no-show gives you 30 minutes of free time, and your rate of meetings-held will keep growing as you convert those precious no-shows into golden meetings.

Therefore, on balance, I HEART no-shows. And, if you like meeting with prospects, you should too!

Follow Chris Beall on his Market Dominance Guys podcast on your favorite podcast broadcaster.

Headshot of Chris Beall

Chris Beall is CEO at ConnectAndSell, a Silicon Valley–based corporation. For 30 years, Chris has led software startups as a founder or early-stage developer. He believes the most powerful part of a software system is the human being, and that the value key is to let the computer do what it does well (go fast without getting bored) in order to free up human potential. To learn more about what ConnectAndSell’s sales-acceleration platform can do to help you achieve your sales goals, visit https://connectandsell.com/.