“The only constant in life is change.”
-Heraclitus (500 BC Greek philosopher)
Change is not something I thrive on. In fact, those who know me best might say that I often strive to avoid it. But I think it’s more accurate to say that I’m both cautious and curious about change. I approach it with a combination of skepticism and wonder long before I commit to a full-on embrace.
So about two years ago, when I started to trip over myself trying to manage my own calendar (you know what I mean – the occasional double booking or perhaps an appointment that never got entered), someone suggested I investigate an appointment app. This proved valuable immediately and, unexpectedly, my appointment app is now indispensable when it comes to increasing my phone conversations. It will have the same impact for you as well.
How does my appointment app increase my phone conversations? Why is it essential to investigate this option immediately?
Why Use an Appointment App?
Change also brings with it unintended consequences and one of the most recent of these is … we all want things on our own schedule. This is partly influenced by how busy we are and how tightly many of us plan our days, but it is also constantly reinforced by how we interact with movies, programs, music, etc.
There was a time when, if you wanted to watch an episode of Seinfeld or West Wing, you had to be in front of the television when the theme music started or … you missed it! You might be able to find it as a summer rerun, but that wasn’t dependable. Unless you were savvy with your VCR, you structured your evenings around the television schedule.
Not anymore. You and I can watch any program or movie, listen to any piece of music, whenever we wish – morning, noon or night – for 15 minutes or by leaning into a “binge watch”. And this has impacted our behaviour toward, and reaction to, the unexpected phone conversation. If someone wants our full attention, for any length of time, we prefer to have this happen on our schedule. We want our conversations booked like meetings. An appointment app makes this possible.
How to Use an Appointment App
There are several ways to incorporate an appointment app into your communication with prospects and clients. Basically, by clicking on a link, a prospect or client can view your calendar. They can’t see what you are doing, but they can see when you are available. They can compare this with their own calendar and then book the conversation based on what works best … for them!
You can incorporate a link to your appointment app on your website, or include it in the signature of your emails, or you can customize your invitations as you communicate with each prospect and client.
The latter is my preference. I like to send a personal invitation to a prospect or client to book our discovery call, a follow up on a proposal, a coaching session or even a workshop. When they click on the link I send them, their name is there as well as all the information on how we will be connecting (by phone, video conference or in person).
I also limit how much of my calendar someone can see. For example, if I want to make sure we discuss a proposal in the next two weeks, when they click on the link, they will only see my schedule for that time period. This also allows me to easily follow up with people; I can send another message saying, “Here’s a link to view current options for booking our next meeting.”
One cautionary tale … during my early days of using the appointment app, I neglected to be diligent about not only constantly updating my calendar but also blocking off the necessary space for time between meetings and for travel. It’s important, for example, to block off at least 15 minutes between consecutive webinars!
The bottom line is … the bottom line. The appointment app I use – Calendly – fits my needs perfectly and makes me money (but there are many others to choose from). Here’s an example. One day in September I received email inquiries from a CEO with a Vancouver-based company and a senior executive from another company based in Toronto. Both these emails cc’d executive assistants, a sure sign that reaching these individuals was going to be a challenge. I replied to both messages and included customized Calendly links saying, “Use this link to book our discovery call at a time that works best with your schedule.” Within 30 minutes, both discovery calls were booked in my calendar. Those two calls resulted in over $10,000 worth of business.
If you haven’t adapted your communication with prospects and clients to include giving them the ability to book their conversation with you based on their schedule … you are losing out on opportunities. For some organizations, firewalls and other security measures may necessitate a conversation with the tech department, or may result in using Outlook invitations or other options specific to your email. But if increased revenue is one of your 2020 goals, do not ignore the importance of allowing your clients and prospects to book their phone conversations with you at their convenience.