The B2B sales cycle is complex and many touchpoints are often required before a prospect becomes a lead and a lead turns into a sale. One of the most important phases in the B2B sales cycle is the meeting that occurs between the two parties; the lead (and potential buyer) and the seller. Depending on the locations of the two parties, the conversation can occur in-person or over the phone or via a web meeting.
It’s the job of the Business Development Specialist to set up prospect appointments with sales representatives. However, agreeing to a meeting and showing up for a meeting are two different things. While it’s true that prospects are busy and unexpected things can prevent their attendance, it’s important to do all that you can to ensure that prospects show up to the meeting and to get them one step closer to making a purchase.
Have you found it difficult to get prospects to honor their appointments with you? Here are 5 ways to reduce appointment no-shows:
Invest in Lead Qualification
Business Development Specialists aren’t going to set up appointments with every person that fills out a lead form. Not all leads are a good match for the business. The first step is to qualify leads and determine which leads are indeed a good fit and have an active need for the product or service offered. Appointments should only be set up with these qualified leads
Schedule Appointments with Decision Makers
During initial lead qualification, the Business Development Specialist will determine who the decision maker is and schedule an appointment with that person. When a decision maker agrees to an appointment, there’s a greater likelihood that they will commit to keeping it. Scheduling an appointment with an assistant or other employee who is less invested can increase appointment no-shows.
Connect Before the Meeting
Once the meeting with the lead and sales representative has been made, the sales representative should connect with the lead. Remember, people buy from people and this personal connection creates an additional element of interest and commitment. Sending a brief introductory email is a great place to start. It’s also a good idea to connect on LinkedIn and any other relevant social networking sites. A lead will be less likely to cancel on someone they “know.”
Remind Meeting Attendees
There’s no need to be pushy, but reminders can be helpful. Once the meeting is set, send an email calendar invite, ensuring that the time and day is blocked out. As the meeting gets closer, the sales representative can send a friendly reminder in addition to offering to reschedule if needed.
Don’t Overwhelm the Prospects
While it’s important to connect prior to the meeting, you never want to send the lead too much information before it takes place in order to maintain the need for a live conversation. If you send the lead all of your whitepapers, case studies, brochures, etc., you not only risk overwhelming them but there’s also the possibility that they will browse through it all and self-select out before the meeting happens. A live conversation allows the sales representative to create a customized message that can resonate in a way that marketing collateral cannot.
B2B appointment no-shows aren’t always a problem but it can be frustrating when they do occur. Following these tips increases the likelihood that a lead will show up to an appointment, getting them one step closer to conversion.