5 Tactics to Fight Demo No-Shows (+ Ready-to-Use Sequence)

5 Tactics to Fight Demo No-Shows (+ Ready-to-Use Sequence)

Picture this: You’ve spent countless hours researching those prospects, perfecting your templates, and setting up the sequence to finally reach the right person and get them to book a call with you. But then the day comes and they never show up 😣 

We’ve all been there! The dreaded no-show can be frustrating, demotivating, and not to mention, a waste of your precious time.

In this blog post, I’ll share my hands-on experience in fighting demo no-shows along with a ready-to-use sequence to win back up to 20% of those opportunities. Let’s dive in!

To preface – the demo no-show rates analysis

Before we dive into the tactics, I’d like to share some interesting insights on demo no-show rates based on the delay between the demo booked date and the meeting date. To collect these stats, we analyzed 2,900 meetings booked here at Reply.io over the past few months.

The chart below shows the demo no-show rate (% of skipped meetings) based on how far into the future the meeting was scheduled.

  • On average, our demo no-show rate is 13.3%.
  • If the meeting happened on the same day it was scheduled, the demo no-show rate is only 6.9%.
  • If the meeting happened the next day, the demo no-show rate jumps to 9.6%.
  • The average no-show rate for 0-7 days delay is 12.4%.
  • The average no-show rate for 8+ days delay is 23%.

Quite naturally, we can assume that the best way to make sure the prospect shows up to the sales demo is to schedule the call as early as possible – ideally for the same day, but no more than 7 days into the future.

One way to do that is by limiting your calendar availability. For example, the built-in appointment booking feature in Reply allows you to specify your latest availability. This means you can choose how many days into the future will be visible on the calendar when your prospect tries to book a call with you. 

This is one of the advanced settings, along with the buffer time duration between the calls and the ability to manage your earliest availability to avoid making short-notice appointments.

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Why do prospects miss sales demos?

One more thing I was always really curious to analyze is why prospects don’t show up to the sales demos they book. Here are some of the common reasons I’ve seen over the years.

  1. They change their mind (yes, it’s that simple!). A person can realize they do not have the time, budget, or authority to make this purchasing decision. If the first two are pretty common sales objections that can be addressed with a tailored value proposition, the prospect’s lack of decision-making power is mostly on you. This typically means that you should review your ICP or better adjust your outreach tactics for this specific buyer persona (ask for a referral instead of the call).  
  2. They decide to go with a competitor. It’s pretty common for businesses shopping around for software to do their own research and test/talk to a few providers at the evaluation stage. In this case, there’s little you can do other than move fast (as pointed out earlier) or try to counter the competitor’s offer.
  3. Their circumstances change (including personal matters). A lot can happen in just a couple of days: People get fired without prior notice, budgets get cut, and priorities shift. This all can impact the prospect’s intention to buy your product. What’s more, personal matters can also have a huge impact on the prospect’s work plans or schedule. Making a serious software investment that would require further implementation effort while getting through a divorce or health issues isn’t the best idea. And that’s OK. The key here is to keep in touch with the prospect so you can reconnect later when their time and priorities are right.
  4. They find negative reviews or press about your company. Platforms like G2 are a blessing and a curse at the same time. User feedback – whether positive or negative – can make a huge impact on the prospect’s buying decision. So the best you can do as a business is to make sure there are more positive reviews and all the negative ones are properly addressed (responded to, resolved, etc.).
  5. They encounter technical difficulties. This might be a less common reason for a missed sales demo, but people can face connectivity issues when trying to get on the call. Whether it’s the PC that decided to download a huge update and restart or simply freeze, the internet provider that’s having a bad day, or the person couldn’t figure out how to enter the conference platform – there’s little you can do about it. Luckily, in this situation, the chances that you will easily reschedule the call are pretty high!

5 tactics to prevent sales demo no-shows

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So rather than thinking about how to mitigate the no-show problem, try to avoid it. Here are a few useful tips to help you make more sales demos actually happen.

  • Automate and optimize the scheduling process 

First and foremost, it’s essential to streamline the whole appointment booking process so the leads don’t fall through the cracks along the way.

Calendly, the industry standard for meeting booking, offers a smooth and intuitive booking process. But there are other options, from a native scheduler within Google Calendar to hosting the whole process within your sales engagement platform. As mentioned above, Reply offers an intuitive meeting booking experience that is easy to set up and customize.

Once you’ve figured out the meeting booking experience, consider using additional automation to make the process more efficient. For example, you can inform your team about a newly booked meeting by sending a triggered message with details to the dedicated Slack channel or instantly update your CRM using tools like Zapier or native integrations. 

I’d also recommend automatically moving the prospect to the dedicated sequence to make sure you don’t forget to send the reminders (more on that later).

Pro tip: Include as much information about the call in the calendar event as possible. Everything from the event name and time/date to the call link and agenda should be clear and easily accessible for all involved parties. This way a prospect can quickly remember what this is about and prepare for the call. 

  • Make sure they accept the invite 

This might sound too obvious, but I’ve seen this problem way too many times not to mention it here. Sending the invite is one thing – accepting it is a whole different story. Emails are overlooked or mistakenly deleted. A person can get distracted and close the booking window without choosing the timeslot. So double-check whether the prospect actually accepted your invitation and has the event on their calendar.

It’s a common pitfall when SDRs do the outreach and book the calls for account executives who then handle the demos. And this is why it’s so crucial to ensure smooth lead handoff from SDR to AE.

So if you see that the person hasn’t accepted your invite, don’t hesitate to follow up a few hours later or the next day. In case you’re booking the sales demo while talking to the prospect (be it cold outreach or a discovery call), it’s best to book the next appointment and have them accept the invite before they hang up.

  • Send frequent reminders

The number of reminders you should send depends on how much time you have between booking the appointment and the actual call. As a rule of thumb, you should send at least 3 follow-up emails

  1. One to thank for the booked meeting right after the prospect confirms
  2. A quick check-in one day prior to the call
  3. A reminder right before the call (30-15 minutes)  

You can use these follow-ups to share the call agenda, offer some useful resources, or even send a personalized video to put the face to an email and keep the prospect engaged. 

If you are booking the call a few days in advance, you can include more touchpoints across various channels (and automate the whole process with Reply) to stay top of mind. Demo reminders are also one of the few use cases for SMS or WhatsApp messages in sales engagement. This way you can rest assured your messages get through.

Pro tip: Sending a reminder two minutes into the call if the prospect didn’t show up can work wonders! So don’t rush off the call right away – send a gentle ping first.

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  • Mind the timing

The delay between the moment the prospect books a call and the call itself has a major impact on your no-show rate. As we’ve discussed earlier, the sooner the sales demo occurs, the better. 

For that reason, our website forms and chatbots only allow the prospects to schedule meetings 10-14 days max into the future. When we’re booking the calls with qualified prospects, it’s usually up to 7 days of availability.

Another recommendation here is to keep in mind the time of the call, especially if you’re talking to prospects from different time zones. Namely, it’s recommended to book the sales calls in the afternoon (3-5 pm) – except for Fridays or days before a holiday.

As for the time zones, most calendars will allow you to pick the required time zone or convert it automatically for you. However, it’s essential to have the time slots on your calendar overlapping all or most of the time zones you’re working with. For example, our European AEs often work later in the afternoon to be able to talk to prospects in the US time zones at a convenient time.

  • Have a few points of contact at the company

This practice is pretty common in high-ticket, B2B sales in midmarket or enterprise companies. In this case, you should aim to connect with a few people representing different buyer personas – influencers, champions, or a decision-maker – at a company. 

Whether a person you talk to via email mentions a few of their colleagues (maybe even decision-makers) or you do some research and contact those people on LinkedIn on your own, being in touch with a few people at the target company substantially increases your chances of having a successful sales demo, minimizing the risk of a no-show.

It’s worth mentioning that you should always aim to have at least one stakeholder participate in the sales demo. If you’ve booked a call with someone who does not have the decision-making power, simply ask them to invite their manager to the demo. In this case, you might as well offer an incentive (extended trial, discount, or personal consultation – anything that adds value) to have the decision-maker join the call.

Proven sequence to reengage no-show leads

You’ve tried it all and the prospect still didn’t show up to the call? I wouldn’t call that a pleasant experience, but all is not lost! You can still try and win back that opportunity with a dedicated sequence. 

The one we use to reengage demo no-show leads here at Reply has been performing pretty well (see the metrics below), allowing us to win back on average 10-20% of opportunities!

  • Day 1 – Automated email + LinkedIn touchpoint (connection request or message, depending on your previous interactions)
  • Day 2 – Call
  • Day 4 – Manual email (with personalized video) + SMS (if no response)
  • Day 7 – Call
  • Day 8 – Automated email (with visual)
  • Day 10 – LinkedIn touchpoint (voice message)

Here is the full breakdown of the sequence (including the email templates) you can use when someone misses a meeting.

Step 1, Day 1 – Automated email

{{FirstName}}, [Reply.io] @ {{Company}}

Hi {{FirstName}}.

{{Sender.FirstName}} from Reply.io here.

I noticed that you booked a Reply.io demo, but you haven’t had a chance to connect with one of our product experts yet.

You must have been busy, and I’m curious – how about having the call {{#if is_monday}}later this{{/if}}{{#if is_tuesday}}later this{{/if}}{{#if is_wednesday}}this Thursday, Friday or early next{{/if}}{{#if is_thursday}}this Friday or early next{{/if}}{{#if is_friday}}early next{{/if}}{{#if is_weekend}}early next{{/if}} week?

If not, let me know what works best for you.

Step 2, Day 1– LinkedIn connection request

Hi {{FirstName}} – sent you an email and hoping to expand my network. Excited to learn more about your sales team – best of luck in the {{now_quarter}} {{now_year}}

Step 3, Day 2 – Call 

Step 4, Day 4 – Manual email (with personalized video)

{{FirstName}}, [Reply.io] @ {{Company}}

Hi {{FirstName}},

I have reached out a few times but haven’t heard back. I know things can be busy but I’m hoping to help you with automating {{Company}}’s sales outreach efforts, so you can focus your energy on more revenue-generating tasks.

Here is also a quick video for you: {{Personalized Video}}

Is this something you may be interested in?

Step 5, Day 4 – SMS

Hi {{FirstName}}.

{{Sender.FirstName}} from Reply.io here. I just emailed you at {{Email}} regarding your demo request. Curious to know your thoughts

Step 6, Day 7 – Call 

Step 7, Day 8 – Email (with visual)

{{FirstName}}? 🙂

P.S. It’s me waiting for your response 😀

Step 8, Day 10 – LinkedIn Voice Message

Hi! This is {{Sender.FirstName}} from Reply.io hope you are having a good day so far I was really curious to understand how you and your sales team are acquiring new prospects and customers and how you make sure your outreach is visible across all channels like emails, calls, and LinkedIn.

Let me know if you are open for a call to learn more about multichannel sales engagement that can help your team generate more meetings and revenue. Have a wonderful day. Bye!

14 sequence types every SDR should be running (+ step-by-step flows)

Reaching out to outbound prospects seems like a no-brainer.

But what about all the leads who have downloaded your content? The ones who have booked a demo but never showed up? The ones who have never converted after the trial?

Engage those opportunities with the right sequence.

Wrapping up

Demo no-shows can be a real headache for any SDR. After all, it’s one of the key elements of the sales commission structure that can hit you right in the wallet. 

Hopefully, these five tactics will help you save the day and boost your demo attendance. If not, try reengaging those opportunities with the suggested no-show email sequence.

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