Is there anything worse than a client not showing up for an appointment, especially after countless hours and dollars spent generating the lead in the first place?
How many times have you had a completely booked day of appointments only to be disheartened when only half of the appointments show up?
How about traveling half a day to meet a prospect in their home, only to be left on the front porch when no one answers the door?
Here are three simple tips to help you dramatically reduce – or even eliminate! – the dreaded no-shows.
1. Change Your Mindset.
Take the same time, energy, and effort to keep appointments as you do to generate the lead in the first place.
Your office should have systems and procedures for every marketing channel, from radio and seminars to client referrals and newspaper ads. Track every lead and phone call.
Don’t leave appointments to fate, hoping the prospects will show. Begin by making a reminder phone call; for instance, call the prospect the day before to make sure the appointment time still works for them.
2. Create a System.
The key to your pre-appointment system is managing the “touches” before the scheduled appointment.
“Touches” refer to any type of contact between yourself or your office and the prospective client. We recommend three basic methods to reach out and make contact with the lead: emails, phone calls, and letters.
You always want to make sure you are making contact at least twice a week between appointments. This becomes especially important during the holidays when people are more likely to say, “Let’s meet after the first of the New Year,” or “We’ll meet after Thanksgiving.” Often, it is hard to decipher if this is a simple “blow-off” or if there is some true interest in meeting again in the future.
The content of the phone call, email, or letter should always be consistent and reiterate a couple of key points:
- Make your touches personal. Let your clients know you’re excited to meet with them.
- Plan out the appointment beforehand. You want your clients to know you can truly help them accomplish their goals. Reference their personal goals, or if this is the second, third, or fourth appointment, discuss their needs from previous appointments.
- Tell them that you have blocked out time on your calendar specifically for them.
- Train your staff to make sure that they do not provide a way out of the appointment by saying something like, “Does that time still work for you?” or including the statement “Please contact us if that doesn’t work” in an email. The prospect made the appointment, so assume that they want to meet.
3. Implement the System.
If the success of your office’s systems depends solely on you, it will fail.
Success also depends on accountability with your employees to make sure each box is being checked when communicating with clients. This is true for prospective clients as well.
There are many advisors who do not have a staff to delegate responsibilities to. For those of you who do not have a staff, take full advantage of the technology at your fingertips. Set reminders and use your calendar to alert you of letters or emails you need to send. It’s easy to forget the smaller details when you’re a lone ranger.
Over time, you should work toward getting at least one additional employee and a physical office. We have yet to talk to an advisor earning more than $5 million in annuity premium a year who doesn’t have an assistant of some sort.
Once you start putting as much effort into holding appointments as you do getting them, you’ll notice an incredible reduction in “no-shows.”
Other advisors often ask us, “How much is too much when contacting your prospects?” And, we ask them, “Has anyone ever called your office and said, ‘We are not coming in because you and your office seem too interested in helping us?’”
To that end, we say, “The more, the better.”