Does This Sound Familiar?
You get an inquiry. You email them your spiel, and ask them to book an appointment with you. It’s several emails before scheduling a date, a time, a location or a call, or a number to call. And then you have to remember to remind them. Going back and forth is bad, because it’s time consuming. And we are all about saving time over here.
The Better Way: Scheduling Apps
I use prefer Calendly myself and recommend it to my clients, because they have a great free and easy to set-up version. There’s also Acuity which some of my friends use, and a slew of other alternatives that you can see here.
They all work like this: You enter your personal and work schedule into the app website, decide how long your appointments will be, and the site generates a link for you. You send that link to anyone that you need to meet or talk to, and they can pick a day and time according to their schedule. No going back and forth – one touch. The appointment goes straight into the calendar of your choice (google, outlook, ical). The scheduling app automatically sends a reminder to you and person you’re meeting with.
Closing the time gap between inquiry and booking is one of the top issues vendors tell me about. Locking in a time to get a hold of any client in the middle of a double set of busy schedule is another big issue. If you can send them a link to your calendar, that’s going to make it much easier. No lost emails, no missed texts, one link to sync two schedules.
If you’re getting overrun with emails, this can help that problem, too. Schedule an auto response email (most email platforms have them) that says that you’re not available, but you’ll be able to get back to them (insert business hours here), OR they can schedule a call or meeting with you by clicking ( with your calendar link). You can also add an option for a video chat, if either you or your client prefer that. “You can’t reach me now, but you can schedule an exact time to talk to me later, and I’ll call YOU.”
If you use a CRM to auto reply to prospects and clients, you can put the link in those messages, too.
I was talking to someone earlier today who told me about a friend of hers who uses it to schedule dinner with friends, too. If it’s not on his calendar, she said, he’s not going to go to it! I haven’t gone that far, but I’m thinking about it.
It’s Not Complicated
Calendly lets you integrate your calendar in a myriad of ways, depending on what you use now. You can sync with Google Calendar, ical, outlook, or if you’re still more analog, go in manually and choose the dates and times you’re available If you don’t normally use an online calendar, it works best if you choose a block of time you’re pretty sure you’ll be available – Mondays between 10am – 1pm, and then again from 4-7pm? The same on Tuesday, but not on Wednesday? Like that.
Calendly and Acuity also have paid versions that let you accept payments, too. Last year, one of my photographer clients used it to schedule and take deposits for Holiday family photo sessions. It’s a great idea if you’re selling any paid one-on-one consultations, because it closes the gap between inquiries and getting to work! You can also add a questionnaire to get into exactly what your clients need from you, and how.
My Scheduling Method:
I use calendly to book 30 minute appointments, which automatically go to my google calendar, which automatically populates my ical calendar. Ical is the one I look at the most, because it’s on my phone. I also put it in my paperbound calendar, but that’s a back up to the back-up’s back-up. And, probably another blog post about hard copy vs. digital, so stay tuned
So, I guess, if it’s not in my calendar, I’m not going to it, either!
The Bottom Line
Streamlining the method you use to get ahold of your prospects and clients is just another way to create more time to focus on the work you do with them, so you can worry less about the details of getting to work with them. If you love the idea, but don’t have the time to hook everything up, yourself, contact me and let’s talk about what you need!
Talk to you soon,
p.s. This article contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on them, I may get a small compensation, at no cost to you.