Avoiding “No Show” Outside Sales Appointments

What to do when people schedule time to meet/speak with you, yet are no-shows?

It happens to all of us. We schedule a phone appointment or time to meet someone at their office and they cancel or worse yet… are no-shows.

What do you do? Particularly if this happens with a decision-maker at a very desired account?

Well that was the situation described to me at a training session yesterday.

A coaching client related that she had scheduled two phone appointments with a top dog… only to have them no-show on her.

The objective is to close a deal. People who blow you off obviously don’t “get” your value. Particularly if they don’t practice common courtesy and contact you to cancel the meeting… or call you to apologize profusely for the circumstances under which they could not keep their commitment.

If people blow you off like that it is because they think you are a schlepper and probably aren’t worth much.

If they think that way the likelihood of them paying you full value for your services is very low.

Avoid that situation.

Let’s start with what you DON’T DO.

Do not call them immediately.

Do not let them off the hook easily with a “that’s all right” and a cheery smile.

People buy from peers.

People treat peers they respect decently.

When you get into this space, the odds of you making a sale is a very low probability. They don’t think you are worth much. The odds of them changing their minds is very low.


You avoid the situation altogether.

In this case I knew a lot about the results that this salesperson had achieved for organizations. She had a stellar record of achievement helping companies solve common and costly problems. Prior to her consulting career she had been in the field and had consistently ranked within the top three of a 15,000+ sales organization.

Did the person she scheduled the phone appointments with know anything about the RESULTS she had achieved for other organizations?


Did the person she scheduled the phone appointments with know anything about her extraordinary record of personal achievement in the industry before she started consulting?


Should we really be surprised that this top decision-maker was a no-show for those phone appointments?


I asked Lee, my coaching client, to replay the conversation with that CEO scheduling the phone appointments.

A very general introduction. A non-specific description of what she does. That she wants to speak to him… that she has a program… generalities, non-specifics and no references to specific results.

What you want to do is to leave them panting for that phone appointment. Have them intrigued… curious about how you might help them. Leave them in a state of expectation, looking forward to your time together and what they might get.

Lee said, “You mean I need to romance them a bit.”

Exactly. Get them into a state of anticipation.

Don’t you think the odds of that decision-maker keeping that appointment and ultimately buying from Lee would shoot up if she had structured her initial intro conversation something like this….

Hi this is Lee from Mega Industries. We help companies to _____________ and those that have worked with us have achieved major benefit A, monster result B and significant achievement C. Before I started consulting I was a top performer in this industry achieving stellar result A, Super result B and unbelievable result C. If you have needs in these areas I would like to schedule a time to share information about your goals and my capabilities. Would you like to do that?

Something like that… specific and result laden is likely to have a top decision-maker looking forward to that phone appointment. They perceive you as a peer and an expert and treat you accordingly… and pay you accordingly.

If you find yourself in low-probability land being treated like some schlepper… it is probably due to your own actions. You can change very quickly, get more appointments and convert more of them to closed sales.

Lee also asked about how to handle that phone conversation…but that will be the topic for another day.

Best wishes for sales success,
Scott Channell