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No-Shows. Why prospects break their commitment

I’m having issues with prospects not answering for our scheduled phone call. We have discussed initial information and because of the complexity of our services a follow up call is usually necessary. The number of people that do not answer the phone for that scheduled call is ridiculously high to me, any tips in fixing this?

I have a couple of questions that may help you find the answer that will help solve this issue for you.


You mention you had an initial conversation. Was the lead type a warm lead (hand raiser – meaning they reached out to you first) or a straight-up cold call?

If it was a true warm lead (they contacted you) what role was the person that made the initial contact? Were they a decision-maker or an information gatherer?

If it was a cold call, did you contact the person with the title that typically makes the decisions on what you offer? Or did you just ask the gatekeeper “Who’s in charge of XYZ?”?

You should at least know the typical TITLE of the person that NORMALLY has the final say. Allowing the gatekeeper to determine the person you are going to speak to isn’t the best strategy.


How did you confirm what I call “Problem Recognition”? Meaning, did they see/agree to an existing problem and did they agree to wanting a solution?

Did you find/hit a hot button(s) that would make them stop what they are doing and push your next conversation to the top of their priority list?

Did you find a hot button that if/when you call them again, and you get their voicemail, you could mention it in your voicemail to them, and it would generate a callback?

The “WHY”

These questions are important because if you aren’t speaking to someone that is responsible for making whatever pain you solve go away, there will be little interest in meeting again.

And if you are meeting with the right person, but fail to get them to see and agree on a problem that they would like solved, there is little to no reason for them to get on a second call.

Most salespeople, who have the same problem you are running into, have this type of sales process:

  1. Call
  2. Ask if they are (or who is) the decision-maker
  3. Ask a few probing questions (these questions tend to be self-serving for the salesperson and are very INEFFECTIVE at getting problem recognition)
  4. Data-Dump about what you can offer
  5. Schedule the second call
  6. RADIO SILENCE. Prospect disappears.

I’m oversimplifying it, but that tends to be the typical “sales process” that leads to the frustration you are experiencing.

Of course, if you make enough calls, you can use that process and still get a few deals here and there. It’s the broken clock theory (even a broken clock is right twice a day).

But if you want to reduce the number of “no-shows” on your follow up calls and start winning more sales, you may want to look at asking better sales questions that are designed to establish problem recognition and a benefit picture.

One last thing…

Did you call your prospect two days before your scheduled meeting to make sure you were still on? Better to find out early if they plan on bailing so that you A) have a chance to rescue the meeting and B) If it’s a definite “no-go”, you have 48 hours to fill that spot with a hotter lead/prospect.

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone teaches inside sales teams how to pick up the phone and close business. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – An online sales training company.