October 22, 2012
NO SHOWS, CANCELLATIONS AND INCONSIDERATE PEOPLE:
Have you had a tough time scheduling Gift Account Walk-Throughs or a business
presentation? Does it seem like everyone is so busy that they won’t commit to a set time? Do you have cancellations and no shows? Do you find that people are just not that dependable. Are you strapped for time and the little time you do have gets sucked up by inconsiderate people?
No shows, cancellations, flakey people, inconsiderate people, leaving voice mails, and what to say.
There is a direct correlation between how rock solid your relationship is with someone and their reaction to your request to take a look at something. Think about it. If someone approaches you that you trust implicitly, are you going to honor their request to take a look at a business idea? Of course you will! Now on the other hand, if someone comes to you that has a new deal every other month or seems to care more about their own interest than the interest of others, how will you respond when they approach you with an opportunity? When I get no shows, cancellations or “flakey” people, I see it one of two ways;
1). Certain people must just be flakey.
2). What could I have done to earn their trust better or build up my social capital with them, such that they would have been more likely to take me seriously?
SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST FLAKEY!
There is a percentage of the population that is just plain flakey. They have bad habits for being true to their commitments. Either they keep their calendar in their head (lol) or their lives are so disorganized and chaotic that most everything falls through the cracks. For some people it’s normal for them to miss appointments and not let others know. A good friend of mine in Chicago put a post on Facebook last week that she had two no shows at her salon (she’s a Aesthetician). She’s a single mom and she was so frustrated because she wouldn’t have come to work if she had known they were both not going to show up! It was time that could have been spent with her two girls. You or I will never change these type of people. It’s in their DNA to be flakey.
When someone cancels or postpones an appointment I am grateful because at least they respected me enough to let me know. I always have 10 other things to do on my list. If I get a break in my schedule due to a cancellation, I always have calls that I can make and others that I can slot in. If you are not in a position like this, I recommend adding new people to your list each week.
I want to talk with you once again about my friend Ray. Ray lives back east and I signed him up in the business a few years back. I was leaving on a 2 week trip outside the country, so I gave Ray a simple assignment. I said, “Ray, while I’m gone what I want you to do is make a list of 100 people that know you. That’s all I want you to do is send each of them a card expressing gratitude or appreciation or simply a message to say, ‘Let’s get caught up sometime soon. I was just thinking about you’. Also, I would like you to place a quick call to each one just to say ‘hi’ and to get caught up”.
Ray said to me, “That seems a little odd”. I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I always have a list of 10-40 people that pop into my mind. This is my prompting to call them just to say “hi” and see how they are doing. I also look for ways that I can serve them as friends or associates. I find out what they are up to and get caught up on their families and activities. I am truly interested in them as friends. Most of the time when someone calls you it’s because they need something. After 2 or 3 calls like this, you’ll tend to want to avoid their calls! By checking in regularly without an agenda, you will earn their trust over time.
BE CURIOUS AND INTERESTED!
When I meet someone new, I spend a few minutes really getting to know them. I ask them questions and listen. I am genuinely curious and interested. I then IMMEDIATELY go back to my computer and send them a card saying, “Nice to meet you!” I also reference something in our conversation and many times I’ll send them a box of brownies or a Starbucks card. I have found that when I am genuinely interested, kind of generous, it’s rare that someone no-shows or cancels on me. In fact Dr. Ivan Misner, the CEO of BNI explains the law of reciprocity. When we do nice things for others, there is an unspoken obligation for them to want to do nice things for us.
SAY NO FIRST!
Kim Klaver also taught me to “say no first”. If you suspect someone is wavering in any way in the process, simply “say no first”. I will say, “I’m not even sure this is something you would like or be interested in so maybe we can re-address it at another time”, and then leave it at that. See if they move towards you at all with a comment like, “No, no, no, I do want to hear about it!” Most of my calls I will say something like, “This may or may not be for you, but I really think you’ll like it.”
So, cancellations happen because of unforeseen circumstances and events. Sometimes people are just overwhelmed with their lives and need to cancel, for now. We have the benefit of being able to immediately send them a card thanking them for letting us know and offering an opportunity to reschedule when the timing is better.
No-shows are typically because of bad habits or we haven’t done a great job of building trust. When someone feels socially connected to you in a positive way, they rarely, if ever, will no-show. If you get a lot of no shows, please don’t let it discourage you. Simply use it as feedback to improve your relationship building skills. Once you get good at this, you can look forward to a no-show free schedule! Let me ask you a question, who are some people that most people would never no show?
Why wouldn’t you ever consider no-showing them? What can we learn from this? They have each earned social capital with us. In some way, we trust and respect them for who they are and we would never ever want to waste their time or let them down! By the way, this has little to do with how much money they have. It has everything to do with how we VIEW them. How can we posture ourselves in such a way that people are more likely to respect us when we call them? These are EXTREME examples but not any less important to observe. Oprah, The Donald, Kody, Mark and Judy have all contributed something to us in advance and didn’t ask for anything in return. Or at least at some level they have earned our respect. So, if one of them were to call, most likely we would choose to listen. We would be willing to give them each at least a sliver of our time to see what they wanted.
Back when I was just getting my SendOutCards business going, I was going through $20,000 a month in savings and had almost no cash flow at all. But, I had earned the trust of many hundreds of people over the years. Because of this, I could pick up the phone and say, “Judy I want to show you something when you have 30 minutes. You may or may not be interested but I think you’ll like what I want to talk to you about. When can I catch you uninterrupted in front of your computer for a little while?”
Here’s something you can say that can help to minimize no-shows and cancellations:
“____________, like you I’m very busy and I’m juggling multiple things. I want to respect your time. I’ll just assume that if something comes up you’ll let me know. And of course I’ll do the same out of respect for you. I’ll talk to you ________ at _______”
CONFIRM THE DAY OF OR THE NIGHT BEFORE:
I always confirm my appointments or ask them to confirm with me with a text or quick call the night before of the morning of the appointment. I want to have an opportunity to slot someone else in if for some reason they can’t make it.
LEAVE SALES PITCHES OUT!
I personally like to leave the sales pitches out of my scheduling calls. Instead I’ll tease people with curiosity. I’ll say things like,”I think you’ll be blown away” Or “You’ve never seen anything like this” OR “I really think you’ll like what you see” OR “Don’t be surprised if you think this is one of the coolest things you’ve ever seen”.
But again, no matter what you SAY, if you are weak in your relatedness with someone, you could get skunked.
PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE!
Disappointment is typically caused by an unfulfilled expectation. If you expect 100% of the people you call to follow through on their commitments, you are destined to be disappointed. You’ll need to be OK with reschedules, postponements, and no-shows.
It’s just part of the game. As long as people are involved we’ll have to deal with this and just go with the flow. Some days it will seem like EVERYONE is against you. I have had weeks where it seemed that I couldn’t get anyone to meet with me. There were even times that I questioned whether I had what it takes. Other times, 100% of the people I called were rock solid on their commitments.
TO LEAVE A VOICE MAIL MESSAGE FOR NOT:
Sometimes I leave voice mails and sometimes I don’t. If I leave a voicemail it’s very general. I typically do not give any details. I want to have a quick call to schedule appointment. If I know they will recognize my number, many times I don’t leave a VM and I see if they call back just because they saw me pop up on the phone. If I do leave a message it’s going to sound something like this, “Hey ______! Hope you are doing well! I want to run an idea by you when you get a second. Give me a call when you can. You have my number!!” OR “I’ve wanted to call you for a while about a project I’m working on and I’d like your input. When you have a free moment would you mind giving me a quick call? Thanks, _____. Hope to hear from you!”
DON’T TALK ON THE RUN!
My suggestion is to always set appointments to discuss business. Don’t try and do it on the run. I usually tell the person I’m scheduling a call or meeting with that I only have a minute because I’m in the middle of a lot of things but I’d like to get something on the calendar as soon as possible”. Even when I’m meeting with them, I tell them I only have 30 minutes or 45minutes. I let them know that I want to respect their time.