Our 5 step process for reducing dropouts from online B2B sales meetings
Online sales meetings have skyrocketed over the past year, with more and more people choosing the convenience (and safety) of a video call, when meeting in person just hasn’t been an option. For many of us, this has proven to be a valuable learning curve, as we’ve all adjusted to ‘zoom etiquette’, adjusting our backgrounds and making sure we’re not on mute (while keeping children and pets from interrupting the call). There is absolutely no reason why online meetings should fall short of meeting in-person, because the same chance for connection and useful discussion is there along with the same valuable sales opportunities, with the added bonus of being able to exchange a smile.
However, the biggest downside many businesses have experienced is the higher rate of no-shows for online sales calls compared with face-to-face meetings – which is frustrating. What can be done to improve attendance? I’m a great believer in having a robust process for the planning and set-up of successful meetings, and I’ve found that by applying this process consistently when setting up online calls, the number of no-shows can be significantly reduced.
Why is there a difference between face-to-face and online meetings?
In a traditional face-to-face sales meeting, when you meet a prospect at their office, there is always someone on hand to find them when you arrive. And if they aren’t immediately available or at their desk when you arrive, the receptionist or a colleague will find them and let them know you’ve arrived, making sure your meeting goes ahead as planned.
Online sales meetings are different, however: when your prospect doesn’t immediately connect for your online meeting, there’s no receptionist or colleague around to help you find them. You might assume the worst: that you’ve been ghosted; but they might just be on another call or caught up with a colleague or simply grabbing a coffee before meeting with you, just as they would if you were meeting in person. But because you don’t know, it’s easy to believe that the meeting is a bust.
How do you avoid this happening? By following a robust meeting confirmation process
By following a meeting confirmation process, you will maximise attendance at your online sales meetings and boost your sales results. Here’s the process we use and recommend:
1. As soon as the meeting is set, send a meeting invite to the prospect. Aim to do this while the conversation is still fresh in the prospect’s mind and strongly resonating with them, ideally within 15 minutes of completing the lead generation call. If someone is generating leads on your behalf, make sure they complete this step and send out the email invite promptly for you.
2. If the meeting hasn’t been accepted within 24 hours, call the prospect to check that the meeting invitation was sent to the correct email address. Again, if someone has generated the lead for you, have them make this call. At this point, reconfirm the meeting and get the prospect to accept the meeting and put it in their diary.
3. Once the meeting has been accepted, you don’t need to contact the prospect again until the day before the meeting, at which point you should send them an email to let them know that you are looking forward to meeting them, and confirming the date and time (and location if it is an in-person meeting).
4. On the day of the meeting, even if they have replied to your email from the previous day, call to reconfirm the meeting time with them. Things come up at the last minute and this is an opportunity to remind the prospect about the meeting and to confirm it is going ahead. Again, this is a call that someone can make on your behalf if you’d prefer.
5. By this point (if you’ve followed steps 1-4) it should be clear that the meeting is going ahead. So, if the prospect doesn’t join the online meeting at the given time, you can assume they are simply delayed, rather than being a cancellation/no-show. If they don’t join on time, call the company switchboard and ask to be put through to the prospect on the phone. If they are unavailable, let the receptionist know that you have a meeting in the diary for this time and ask if they could locate your prospect for you. They shouldn’t be far away, and the meeting should go ahead as planned, but perhaps a few minutes later than scheduled.
Rescheduling to a better time can be a gift
Life gets in the way and people’s plans genuinely do change. Don’t be discouraged if a prospect asks to reschedule at any time during this process. It’s more favourable to you as a salesperson to present to a prospect when they can focus fully on your presentation, so if something comes up, let them reschedule their meeting with you. They’ll appreciate your flexibility and understanding and are likely to be more engaged when you do meet at a later date.
And if you’re struggling to get a response from a prospect, always give the lead back to the person who generated it and ask them to reset the meeting for you. People get overwhelmed with their workloads so “not now”, isn’t the same as “never”, which any seasoned telemarketing professional would agree is often the case.
If you consistently follow this process for all of your online sales meetings, I can guarantee that your online meeting attendance rate will remain high, and when someone genuinely does need to reschedule, it won’t be a surprise. You’ll know ahead of the meeting and be able to use the newly-free time productively.
If you would like more insight on appointment setting, lead generation or any of the topics covered in this blog get in touch today by calling 1300 396 888 or sending us an email at email@example.com. Forrest Marketing Group offers a full range of contact centre services across Australia including telemarketing, lead generation, appointment setting, inbound and outbound customer service, customer engagement and outsourced sales solutions.