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8 Steps to Prevent No Shows at Conference Sales Meetings

So you’ve done it. You did your research, found the right leads for the conference, built a good rapport with them, and you’re all set to meet them at the event. Your calendar is fully booked for the duration of the conference. You are excited about meeting your potential clients in person and hope that you will close some deals.

However, all this enthusiasm disappears as you sit there disappointed, waiting for the prospect that never showed up. You think about all the time you spent building up to this moment, which could’ve been used better on networking and meeting new people. Maybe you said no to another possible meeting to block out time for the lead that didn’t show? Rough.

Apart from the disappointment they cause, no-shows are a huge waste of your (and your company’s) time and resources. In this article, we will try to figure out the reasons for no-shows at sales meetings and lay out some actionable tips that you can use to make sure your prospects show up.

Usually, no-shows occur due to one of three reasons:

  1.    People are too busy in their own schedule or something unavoidable came up.
  2.    They are no longer interested in your product.
  3.    Or they just forgot about your meeting.

There will sometimes be a situation that even interested prospects might have some emergency and might have to reschedule. Something that is out of your control. For cases other than this, there are certain measures which will help you prevent most no-shows for your sales meetings at conferences.

1. Target The Right People

Majority of no-shows happen because the prospects are not the right people you want to talk to. Maybe they are not a part of the decision-making process in the company, or maybe they just expressed interest in your product out of curiosity. It is better to tackle this problem at its root – do your lead research and data collection well. Research attendees at conferences, collect the required information and schedule meetings with them using the right messages.  The better your lead data and lead targeting are, the lesser the chance of no-shows.


2. Sell The Meeting, Do Not Sell The Product

Decision makers are busy people. Another reason for them losing interest in meetings is because they don’t see enough value for their time. Sure, your product could help their company reduce churn rates by a few percents – but what do they get out of meeting with you? When you talk about your product too much, prospects get the impression that they are paying first and getting the benefits later.

Instead of telling them how they could benefit from your services, focus on the value they get out of your meeting first.  For example, say something like “I’d love to help you outline a strategy to reduce immediate churn at your company”. You’ll be surprised how many people are interested when you provide free value.


3. Take Responsibility for Scheduling The Meeting

You are the one who wants to set up the meeting (and make the sale, eventually), so act like it. Take responsibility for setting up all logistics. Once they agree to meet you, do not wait for them to share their calendar with you – suggest a few time slots and a couple of alternatives. Be flexible. Make scheduling process for them as easy as possible.


4. Use The Power of Acting Now

Following up with the previous tip, do not wait for them to set up, reply or schedule meetings. Once you’ve set up a date and time, send an invitation ASAP.  Often, people will say something like: “I’ll send you an email later today to schedule our next call… or they are suggesting different times:  “Please take a look and let me know what time works for you, or if none of this works, can you suggest a time that’s the most convenient for you.”

That’s the wrong approach. You have their interest and attention now, have them open up their calendar and get a spot while you are on a call with them.


5. Do Not Spoil Their Conference Experience

Prospects will have more things to do while they are at the conference. Such as attending talks, lectures, product launches etc. If you schedule your meeting time that overlaps with conference agenda, where do you think they would prefer to be? An industry event they paid to see or a meeting that is probably going to end up with a sales pitch? If you do your lead research well, it’ll help here. Since you know which events they are interested in – you have the opportunity to start a conversation and ask for a meeting after the talk.


6. Don’t Book Meetings Too Early

Suppose you schedule your meeting a month ahead of the conference with their approval. Their calendar might look empty then, but as the date of the event approaches, there will be more engagements asking for their time. So your meeting might get moved to the ‘not attending’ list. So, it is essential to get your slot in your prospects’ calendar at the right time. Not too late, but not too early either. So, we recommend booking meetings 2 weeks before the actual event.


7. Following Up To Prevent No-Shows

Extending the point about taking responsibility, it is also your job to remind the prospect about the meeting and follow-up with them.

Are we meeting as planned? Are there any changes? Regular follow-ups will instill a sense of sincerity and importance in the prospects’ mind and can save you from no-shows. Another good idea for eg. is to show them you are care coming prepared to the meeting. This will show them that you are really putting the effort and make them interested to come and listen to what you have to say. And by doing this you prevent a no-show.



8. Stay on Top The Day of The Meeting

While following up a week before the meeting keeps them interested. You should also send out a reminder text or email on the day of the meeting.  Just to make sure that they are still going to meet you there. Send them a reminder in the morning, an hour before the meeting, and about 10-15 minutes before your meeting. These reminders can be something as simple as:

follow-up-email-no-showsIn the last follow-up before the meeting, you can add something like “I’m already on my way.” Even if they are planning to do a no-show, this will encourage them to show up.


No Shows are a Tricky Game

After taking all the necessary precautions, a sales veteran knows how important is to prepare for a no-show.  They are a part of the sales game. Always have a backup plan ready in case of a no-show. Send a simple rescheduling email to set up another meeting.  This will give you the opportunity to set up another meeting time with the prospects that are interested in what you have to offer but had something unavoidable come up the first time you scheduled a meeting. Remember, that no matter what you do, there will be prospects which will jump through all hoops and still not show up – let them go.


How do you prevent no-shows at your sales meetings? Feel free to share your approaches in comments?

Marketing Manager @ TaskDrive Actively participating in the digital marketing world more than 5 years. Currently making sure that our website content is up-to-date and our blog is filled with easy and useful sales and marketing guides. Very passionate about dogs, topics on spirituality and Unicorns.

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