Prior to the pandemic, many business professionals relied on networking events like the one depicted in the photo above to connect with prospects. In the article Best Appointment-Scheduling Platforms for Your Small Business, by Alex Penfield for The UPS Store, we learn that Cloud-based appointment scheduling platforms have become an important tool to connect at a distance.
Appointment scheduling platforms are online tools that allow your clients to book time slots for your services. The article contains a list put together by The UPS Store to help you pick the one that suits your small business.
I not only use Calendly myself, I've recommended it to my coaching clients. I confess, I didn't get serious about appointment scheduling until I was on assignment with a client who wanted to build their online scheduling platform. Here is what learned.
What sort of meeting or events do you conduct? Start by defining the different appointment types that support your firm's operations. I decided I needed a 15-minute, Quick Question appointment type. I also created a 30-minute Coffee Chat, a 60-minute Conversation and a 90-minute Coaching Session.
Sit down with a blank calendar and map out your ideal week. I blocked out my availability for each appointment type to schedule Coffee Chats on Thursday and Friday mornings. I scheduled a block of 4 Quick Question sessions each day in the morning and afternoon and slots for Coaching Sessions each weekday in the morning and afternoon.
The Art of Writing Inviting Invitations
I've been told that the default messaging that comes with these platforms makes invitees feel like they should be lucky to get an appointment on your calendar. Once I got serious about appointment scheduling I realized it was my privilege to get an appointment with those I served best. I crafted a very simple message to make my invitees feel special, "If you are open to a conversation, please use the link to schedule a day and time that works for you."
Where and When
One of the most powerful features of appointment scheduling platforms is their integration with virtual meeting platforms. I can set the location of my events to be phone, Zoom or in-person for maximum flexibility. It extends beyond where you can meet to when. You get to control both how soon to schedule to how far in advance.
What I Liked Best
Since the pandemic began my appointment scheduler platform has forced me to pay closer attention to my calendar. Now I'm in charge of my availability, but it's my clients and prospects who are in charge of when we meet. I like that.
Experience it Yourself
If you are curious about how it works and you are open to a conversation, please use the link below to schedule a chat for a day and time that works for you.