How to Avoid No-Show Clients
The scenario: You receive a notification in your inbox that someone has booked a discovery session with you. The information she's provided makes you excited to speak with her. You show up to your discovery session ready and eager, but when you call, you get her answering machine. No problem, she's probably just running a bit behind. You leave a friendly message saying you'll call her back in 5 minutes.
Ok, she's sure to pick up this time.
You call again - straight to voicemail. You leave another friendly message saying you'll be here waiting for the next 10 minutes. You also send her a friendly email stating same. The minutes fly by and you realize you've just been stood up. 30 minutes of your time spent wondering where this woman is, why she's not showing up, whether it was something you did, and worried it may happen again. And, if we're being completely transparent here, a bit peeved by the whole thing.
Here's the deal - although many people desire certain things in their lives, enough so to even book a discovery session with a coach, you're not at the top of their priority list. Some people may forget. Some people may be just plain rude and have no consideration for your time. Other people may even undervalue the discovery session because it's free. Whatever the reason, your time is precious - everyone's time is precious - and you shouldn't waste it waiting, worrying and wondering.
I've had about 3 no-shows for discovery calls in the past 2 years. My most recent one happened about a week ago and I'm happy to share that experience with you here. Several weeks ago there was this whole big shebang about a certain 'business coach' who scammed over 20 women out of thousands of dollars. Because I wanted to do something honest + good to help bring a positive vibration to a negative situation, I opened up 3 spots in my calendar for a complimentary 100% non-pitch 60 minute session for those women affected. Only 2 people showed interest and only one actually followed through with booking her session.
We kept in touch and when the day and time came for our session together, I got stood up. What's ironic about this is that these women were scammed by their coach because the coach would take their money and not show up for the scheduled coaching calls. So this woman who was stood up and didn't like the feeling of it, took it upon herself, for whatever reason, to show me the same courtesy. Yes, I was annoyed and experienced a minor moment of 'how dare she!', but there's always a valuable lesson or two to be learned when things don't pan out the way you expected.
While there's no guarantee that you'll never be stood up by following the suggestions I'm about to recommend, you can help prevent a whole whack of them from recurring often by implementing these simple guidelines:
- Application process. In my business practice, interested individuals need to apply to book a discovery session with me by filling out a Discovery Session Application Form. This form allows me to pre-screen potential clients before hopping on the phone with them to ensure that not only are they someone who I can help, but they have the mindset and funds to follow through with the sale should they enjoy our call together + wish to continue forward.
If someone fills out the application form and I determine they don't sound anything like my ideal client, a simple email is delivered to them thanking them for their interest in working with me, but that I do not feel I am the right coach for them. If I happen to know of someone amazing they may pair up nicely with, I'll throw out that recommendation and wish them well.
- Send a reminder. Most online scheduling systems will do this for you, but if yours doesn't, be sure to send a reminder email 24-48 hours prior to your call. Some scheduling systems will send an email 24 hours beforehand, 1 hour beforehand and 15 minutes beforehand. Use your own discretion when sending reminder emails, but I highly recommend at least a 24 hours notice one.
- Refundable deposit. A new trend I've noticed is that more and more entrepreneurs are requesting a 100% refundable deposit in the amount of $25-$50. This is to encourage others to place your session together at the top of their priority list. If they show up (or cancel at least 24 hours beforehand), they get their money back, or it could be used towards their investment in your program if they're a 'yes'. If they don't show up, no refund, and you're compensated for your time spent waiting + preparing. This is something I will be implementing in my own business practice soon. I think it's a great idea and will really help to weed out the people who are just not serious enough about taking their business to the next level.
Well, there you have it! I hope I've helped show you that every business experiences bumps here and there from time to time. You can't completely avoid them, but you can help prevent them. Don't worry about people being turned off by the boundaries you set. I would rather have 3-5 discovery calls a month with people who are truly committed to their success, than 20 calls with people who are just 'meh'.