A meeting with a prospective lead is key to the sales process. But that meeting is useless if it doesn’t actually happen. How do you increase your meeting hold rate?

Sam Nelson, SDR Leader at Outreach, joined the This Just Works digital event to talk about 5 ways to increase your hold rate.

“I am not going to be talking about a good cold call. I’m going to assume that you’ve done a good cold call and that the lead sees value in the meeting and that they’re planning on showing up,” says Sam.

Here are the 5 ways to make your meetings stick and increase your hold rate.

This session was presented at This Just Works, the digital anti-conference. You can see the full session (and 14 other talks) by registering here with code TJWAG2020.

5 tactics to increase hold rate

  1. Set the meeting within 2 days
  2. Suggest a time – don’t leave it up to them
  3. Ask them to accept the meeting at that moment
  4. Schedule a reminder email for…
  5. Confirm the meeting – within reason

1. Set the meeting within 2 days

“The sooner a meeting is set for, the more likely it is to hold,” states Sam.

“We at Outreach found that the hold rate decreases about 30% when a meeting was set 5+ days out. And those on the team with the best hold rates would consistently set their meetings within a couple of days.”

And when you set that meeting within the 2-day mark, be the one who suggests the time

2. Suggest a time – don’t leave it up to them

“I highly recommend that you suggest times and don’t ask them what time they want. It turns into a really difficult decision. Like for example, if someone asks to meet up over lunch and you ask where to meet, you’ll find that that conversation ends up taking a very long time because they don’t know what to suggest.”

“The easiest way to make that decision quickly is suggesting somewhere to go. And they’ll tell you if they don’t like it. Suggest the time yourself, and suggest that time within a couple of days.”

Sam has a method of selecting the ideal meeting time based on a specific hierarchy.

“So what is better a day earlier or better? Time. And the answer is a day earlier. Optimize for an earlier day, as opposed to the perfect time. That should be the hierarchy of importance there,” notes Sam.

Anything you can decide ahead of time frees up headspace during the call. Remember that headspace is precious – decide things ahead of time.

3. Ask them to accept the meeting at that moment

It’s a lot harder to say no to a person’s voice or face than it is to their invite.

When you’re ready to set a meeting, get on the phone and tell them, send the invite and then ask them to accept while they’re on the phone with you.

4. Schedule a reminder email for…

Schedule an email reminder for 3 minutes before the meeting starts so that you’re “just putting the bridge info at your fingertips.”

“Once you’ve set that meeting you can set up an email to be sent for 3 minutes before the meeting starts. And it’s very simple. You’re going to put the necessary meeting info in that email to best prepare your lead,” says Sam.

“This simple thing makes a big difference. It reduces friction and reminds your lead on the off chance that they forgot about your meeting.”

To better remember the things you need to set up for your meeting – like the reminder email – make yourself a to-do list. Have I sent an invite to the prospect? Have I put them in the confirmation sequence? Have I created an opportunity in Salesforce that I scheduled that reminder email for three minutes before?

“Without a to-do list to keep track, I can get excited and end up skipping steps – which can cost you hundreds of dollars, as every SDR knows,” says Sam.

5. Confirm your meeting – within reason

“It may sound off, but when the invite is accepted I recommend NOT calling ahead and confirming. And most people disagree with me on that, but I recommend don’t sell when you have already sold,” says Sam.

When the invite is NOT accepted, it’s wise to call and confirm. And when you call, don’t have the assumption that they don’t want to show. Assume the best possible scenario! Often this is the case.

This is what not to say: “Hi, I saw you didn’t accept the invite? Are you still planning on showing up?”

Sam can’t stress this enough.

“You are not calling to give them an out. You are calling to assume that they’re going to show up at the meeting. You just want to make sure that they got the invite. Don’t confirm, ‘do you actually want to show up?’ Assume that that’s the case. It’s a common mistake a lot of SDRs make calling ahead of time to give them an out can do more harm than good.”

Here’s what you can say instead: “Hey Jeff really excited to connect with you tomorrow! Just wanted to make sure you got the invite?”

There are many parts of this process that you can automate, the reminder email three minutes before, or even setting automated reminders for your team to complete various tasks.

And there you have it – 5 ways to increase your meeting hold rate.

To download the full recorded This Just Works digital event, go here to register with code TJWAG2020!