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Whether you meet clients virtually or in person, you can’t always be one hundred percent sure that they’ll show up as planned. It may be harsh, but If they lead busy lives or have chaotic calendars, your organized meeting could be easily forgotten or replaced by something more pressing.
When seeking new clients, this problem tends to happen more regularly, as people don’t always feel a sense of guilt or a requirement to meet with you when they don’t know you personally or what you do overly well. Though, it can also happen with clients you do know well, who are perhaps naturally a little more flakey.
If you’ve experienced no-shows regularly, it can be taxing on your business or career development, and if you don’t possess a real thick skin, it can affect your self-esteem. But it probably isn’t personal, and it happens to the best of us. Sometimes we just need to reevaluate our strategy to avoid it, rather than wallow in the annoyance of it.
Luckily, there are some useful ways that you can prevent client no-shows from happening. Here are some tried and tested techniques that can help clients think twice before ignoring or forgetting a significant meeting with you.
Many people greatly benefit from a reminder on a frequent basis, as it rejigs their memory. So, send a follow-up email saying ‘I look forward to our meeting’ on whatever date and time, or send a friendly text and phone call. Don’t send these reminders too far in the future either, as they are likely to forget if the reminder isn’t close to the meeting date.
Make sure you send the meeting invite to them, so they can accept it in their calendars. When you do, set the reminder notification within a reasonable timeline. If it’s a day or an hour before, it gives them the right amount of time to prepare and hopefully attend.
If they’re the type of client you speak to on the phone or email often, it can be helpful to send subtle comments about the meeting in conversation, that way they feel attending the meeting is more of a friendly requirement than a laborious task.
There are so many incredible marketing tools out there that can help you manage no-shows in an efficient and modern way. SMS and automatic emails are two examples of great platforms that you can make use of, and either can significantly lessen your no-show rate.
When arranging a meeting with a client, try to book the meeting as close as possible to the day you planned it. It’s human nature to forget about meetings that are months away.
If your client is familiar with all that you have to offer and the incredible service or advice that you are sure to provide, they’ll feel compelled to go. It can be helpful to tell them a bit about yourself and what you do in the very early stages of contact or remind them of the benefits of meeting with you and what you’re hoping to achieve in the meeting if they’re an existing client.
Work with your client to ensure the date and time you’re choosing is convenient for them. If it’s a tight fit between other meetings or lands on a day that’s already busy for them, there’s a greater likelihood that they won’t make it.
No matter the cause or rate of no-show recurrence, separate your contact strategies and remind those who miss meetings often a little more than the ones who don’t. This is easier to manage with a small book of business, but it is important you get to know all of your key clients whether you have a small client list or a large one.
Each client works differently and it’s helpful to understand their quirks and work with their own unique way of doing business; however, implementing any of these techniques can help to mitigate no-shows too. Similar to how happy employees are more productive, satisfied and intrigued clients feel an eagerness or a sense of urgency to meet with you and they will make more of an effort to be there.
None of this is science exactly, just a collection of things that you can do differently to change initial or repeated client no-shows from taking place. Any arranged meetings should be something that they feel is necessary to attend and they should view it as an interesting or valuable experience, not one that can be missed or forgotten about.
So, before you go blaming all your new or existing clients for not turning up, try changing the way you interact with them and transform the way they interpret your offering. If you play your cards right, the next time they’ll be there with bells on.