How Cancelled Meetings Kill Productivity (and Your Pipeline)

20% of your scheduled meetings will cancel or no-show. I know because this is a statistic I have tracked over more than 100,000 scheduled meetings.

This statistic applies across all sales meetings and regardless of how ‘strong your relationship is.

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Cancelled meetings and no-shows create extra work for you in the form of calls and emails. An average of four touches are required to reschedule each meeting. No-shows and cancellations also create delay and uncertainty in your pipeline as deals forecast to close push out days or even weeks.

This week, I asked a sales team to send me an email as if I had just missed a scheduled meeting with them.

Here is a screen capture of their responses taken from my iPhone 6 Plus.

Which one (if any) of these emails are you likely to open?

I’ll come back to this image in a moment but first I’d like to ask you to consider the following:

  • The average office worker receives more than 120 emails per day.
  • Up to 70% of emails are opened on a mobile device.
  • An email open rate of 20% is considered high performing.

With these statistics in mind, let’s examine how we process incoming email.

Most of us are conditioned to open our email application as soon as a notification appears. We ‘process’ the incoming messages through a series of rapid decisions that result in one of three possible actions.

Action One: Delete Now = Swipe Left

Action Two: Deal With Now = Click

Action Three: Deal With Later = Scroll Down

The impact of Delete Now is obvious and primarily determined by our relationship to the receiver. Most would agree that Deal With Now is the ideal outcome.

Deal With Later is the insidious enemy because it means your message passes further ‘below the fold’ with each new batch of incoming messages.

Deal With Later means “I’ll get to that tonight after work” or “I’ll respond this weekend when I have a chance to catch up on emails” or “I will definitely get back to them next week when work slows down a little.

We create stories in our mind about why our emails are not being answered. Yet as it turns out, the problem is simply that intention to respond has little correlation with whether we ever receive an actual response.

Stated simply, your thoughtful and well-crafted email message must first compete for its survival and the attention of the receiver before it can ever be read.

Given what I have shared, lets look at another screen capture. In this version, notice one email is different.

For your consideration and convenience, here is a screen capture from the ONLY email you should ever use to reschedule a meeting.

While some may bristle at the brief and direct nature of this message, my experience (and data) have proven you are five times more likely to open this email.

My studies also show that 50% of the time, this email receives a positive reply in less than 60 minutes.

Just Released: My Ultimate Guide to Ending No Shows – CLICK HERE

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