Virtual No Shows

Pandemic Prospection Series

Picture this: It’s Tuesday afternoon at 2:00 pm. You’ve got a virtual appointment with a big prospect who seems like the perfect fit for your product. You take a deep breath, start up your Zoom meeting, and wait. And wait. And wait some more. Any minute now they’ll join.

Does this sound familiar?

In today’s virtual world of selling, this is a common scenario for a lot of sales professionals. Whether it’s because the prospect had an unexpected emergency or their calendar was simply overbooked with competing priorities, no shows do happen.

As virtual meetings have greatly increased, here are four tips to both prevent virtual no shows and respond to them when they do happen.


  1. Confirm the appointment the day before or the day of the meeting.

    In field sales, we’ve long been told NOT to confirm the meeting in advance. But in virtual sales, confirming the meeting in advance is a MUST. Your buyers are busy. They are overbooked and overwhelmed. They are looking for ways to free up their time and remove meaningless meetings from their calendars. Your job as the salesperson is to make them want to attend the meeting. Make it easy for them to accept and join the meeting.
  2. Send the meeting link.

    Whether it’s Zoom, WebEx, Google Hangout, or Microsoft Teams, add the meeting link to your calendar invite either the day before or the day of the meeting. This gives you a legitimate reason to reach out and confirm the meeting in advance.
  3. Ensure an agenda is in your invite.

    When you do this, you’re providing purpose and clarity. You’re setting the tone and letting your prospect know what to expect. This increases the likelihood of them showing up to the meeting because they know exactly what the meeting is for and can come prepared. After all, you have done your part to prepare a meaningful meeting for them.
  4. Set an alert when you send your calendar invite.

    On most calendar invitations, like Gmail or Outlook, you can set a reminder or alert to go off 5-to-10-mintues before the meeting. Use this feature as an added reminder to notify your prospect that your meeting is coming up. This is a great way to help keep the meeting top-of-mind and prevent no shows.

These four steps will help you be proactive in your efforts to prevent virtual no shows, but you still need to be prepared if and when it happens.

In the event of a no show, here is the timeline I follow:

5-minutes later:

Pick up the phone and call your prospect. Despite your best efforts, things happen and people forget or need to cancel. If they don’t pick up, here’s a sample voicemail you can leave:

“Hi John. This is Marisa Pensa. I’m on the Zoom link for our 10am this morning and wanted to make sure you had  the link. If a phone call is easier for today, you can call me back at 678-574-6072. Otherwise, I’ll wait another  5-minutes in case you’re in another meeting that’s running over. See you shortly online or call me at 678-574-6072. Thank you.”

10-minutes later:

Send an email as a follow up to your voicemail message. Suggest alternative times to reschedule. Your email would say something like:

“Hi John. I’m assuming something unexpected came up at our meeting time and certainly understand things come  up completely out of your control. As an alternative to today, below are two options for us to meet later this week.

Option 1: Date/time
Option 2: Date/time

Please let me know what works best and I’ll send an updated calendar invite. Thank you.”

2 days later:

Send a video message via email using a tool like Vidyard or Soapbox. This is a great way to re-engage yourprospect and add a personal touch. Your video should be a minute and a half or less. Use it to share the value you can bring, for example:

“Hi John. I tried to reach you by phone and email but thought I would get a little creative and try video. I’ve been thinking about your [struggle with X, plan to achieve Y] and I’ve got a few ideas that may make a difference. Let’s definitely reschedule and I’d like to talk through this with you and also share with you what I had prepared for our meeting. Below this video, you will see in my email two times. If these don’t work, let me know better options for connecting. Talk with you soon!”

You can’t wait forever for a prospect. After you’ve taken these steps, schedule a task in your CRM for 2 weeks later and lay low.

As a Sales Professional, you really only have your time and your accounts. Make the right decisions on how much time you spend on which accounts. Remember, your time is valuable too!!

Good selling to you!