Over the past few months, I have offered up time on my calendar for people that want to meet with me to discuss a sales challenge they are struggling with.
Naturally, I enjoy when prospective clients show up but mostly I like to make myself available for my audience to ask questions, get my advice, etc.
Overall it has been a rewarding experience and I have met and had the opportunity to help many interesting people.
Most of my articles and emails contain a link inviting folks to schedule some time on my calendar to discuss a sales challenge they are facing.
What has surprised me is the fact that roughly 15% of those who schedule a meeting with me never show up.
They don’t show up and don’t call or email to let me know they can’t make it.
These are phone appointments and I typically offer time slots earlier in the day so I don’t really feel inconvenienced if someone doesn’t show. Even so, my calendar often books out two or more weeks in advance so I view this behavior as taking away from others who could have benefited from time with me.
My practice is to call at the scheduled time and leave a voice message if the other party doesn’t answer. I also send a text message or email letting them know I missed them and inviting them to call me back.
Here is where it gets interesting… The majority of no-shows never reply or offer an apology for missing our meeting.
But wait there’s more… Those that do respond offer an ‘apology’ that looks something like this: “Sorry I missed our call, something came up at work… I was called into a meeting.”
Consider this sentence for a minute and you will realize it is not an apology at all. I say this because it does not demonstrate any regret or offer an acknowledgment of harm.
Of course I am using the word harm loosely here and don’t expect people who miss a call with me to sink into deep depression over their actions.
Still, the statement above accepts no responsibility whatsoever and implies what happened was simply ‘beyond my control.’
Ready for things to get really weird? Lately, I have replied to these non-apologies with a terse but polite note: “Thank you for responding. Please know that I allocate time to serve those in my audience and your missed meeting means someone else was not able to take advantage of that window.”
Responses I have received range from ‘Take me off your list’ to ‘Do not contact me again’ and even ‘Go to hell.’
When I first considered writing this, I wanted to ‘out’ these offenders. I wanted to shame them for their bad behavior. I wanted to teach them a lesson and make an example of them.
As time went on however, what showed up for me was a deep sadness for these individuals moving through life with such a profound feeling of powerlessness.
I don’t pity these people for they own their actions and the consequences.
Still, I can’t help but believe their behavior is the result of experiences throughout their lives that taught them nothing is in their control.
Society typically condemns an individual’s failure to accept responsibility. However, failure to accept responsibility is simply one side of a coin. The other is powerlessness.
So I will continue serving my audience and trust these efforts will help people discover (or re-discover) that accepting responsibility for everything that happens in our life rather than avoiding it is the path to reclaiming our power.
p.s. If you’d like to schedule some time to meet with me to discuss a sales challenge you are facing click HERE (I know you will show up)