April 22nd, 2016 | by

We’ve all been there: you’ve got a prospect on the line. They are nibbling at the bait but you can tell from the bobber that there’s not a total commitment yet. So, how do you know when it is time to lure them in and set the demo? How do you ensure that once you do snag that meeting they won’t flake at the last minute and lose momentum, or even worse, end up as a bunch of worthless muck wrapped around your hook?

As a Sales Development Representative (SDR), the scenario above is a core facet of my job and it’s imperative that I find strategies to decrease the absenteeism rate for the meetings I set. For me, these meeting usually consist of demos, ran by our account executives (AE), or discovery calls to determine the fit level of leads coming in from our inbound channels and marketing team. But I’ve also found that many of the strategies, which work specifically for a sales role, also translate over to customer success activities, external contractor management, and internal meetings (we all have those *special* team members who just can’t show up to meetings, much to the chagrin of their colleagues). Below are 11 tips that have helped our team of SDRs make and KEEP appointments. We hope that they may also help you wrangle in whatever meeting-ditchers you come across in your specific roles.

General Tips To Get Them to the Meeting:

  1. Help them.  You’re calling to help the client (and this applies to both internal and external clients).  As a general attitude, call the client with their success in mind.  The point is to help them, not to set the demo or take up time in their day.  Explain how you can help and ask for a chance to show them. The demos will naturally follow.
  2. Keep the focus on the client.  It’s “what’s in it for them,” not “what’s in it for you [or for your company]”.  Keep the focus on the client and why they should take a look at your solution.   The message will have a much greater chance to resonate with the prospect.
  3. Keep it simple and easy.  You’re not trying to enter them into a 18- month sales cycle with multiple offers and complicated procurement/legal negotiations.  It’s one meeting.  Don’t sell them on buying or adopting your product, sell them on the value of this individual meeting.
  4. Hook and book.  As soon as you have the client hooked, set the demo. The prospect will give clues when what you’ve said hits the mark.  Once you know they’ll take the demo, book it.  Otherwise, you’ll get into details outside your role, and end up losing it.
  5. Do not over qualify.  We’re typically interrupting our prospects’ day, and there’s never a good time.  If the appointment set is too laborious and extensive, they’ll duck out of the demo. If the appointment set seems arduous, they’ll assume the demo will be the same way.  You also can’t put everything that was discussed in the notes, so the prospect will have to repeat themselves.

Best Practices for Reducing No-Show Rates:

  1. Always ask for same day or next day appointments.  What’s your availability like today and tomorrow? OR  Is now a good time or is later today or tomorrow better?  The sooner the demo, the higher the show rate.
  2. Make the expectations clear.  Explain that you’re going to send an email and loop in one of your Senior Account Executives who will then forward an invite with a screen share bridge.  I will send an email and copy my Director of Sales, Darius Rucker.  He will forward a calendar invite with a screen share bridge. Does that work on your end?  Get them to say, “yes.”
  3. Always confirm the email address.  Be thorough.  Is it first initial, last name @discoverorg.com?
  4. Get a direct dial.  If they’re running late or aren’t on the screen share right away, the AE can still catch them.  What’s your direct line?
  5. Don’t book meetings at bad times.  No Monday mornings. No Friday afternoons. If they ask for a meeting during those times, tell them it doesn’t work for us. Friday afternoon doesn’t work for us, but are you available that morning for 15-20 minutes?

Final Tip for No-Show Follow-Up:

  1. Forward the original email to reschedule.  When re-booking no shows, forward the original email chain.  It puts them in the same mindset they were in when they originally agreed to take the demo.  Sample email: It looks like you and Russell missed each other last Friday. How does Tuesday or Wednesday at 11:00 or 2:00 EST look to reconnect for 15-20?

Each tip will incrementally improve show rate.  When used in conjunction and practiced over the years, these tips can have a huge impact on top line revenue and other performance metrics. In the words of Chris Murray, “Executing the solution means gaining customer commitment and delivering on your promises.”

Looking for more tips to make your SDR function and sales efforts return results? Check out some of our popular posts on sales effectiveness:

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About the author

Steve Waters

Steve joined DiscoverOrg in 2015 and currently serves as an Account Executive. He has 10+ years in sales and an MBA from Northwest Nazarene University. When he’s not rocking at DiscoverOrg, Steve drums in several bands in the Portland area.