24 August 2016
Automated Scheduling: How To Shorten Your Sales Cycle
Imagine what would happen to your revenue if your sales cycle was shorter.
How many more sales could you close in a quarter? What would happen to your sales funnel if leads were converting faster?
What if you could eliminate one time-consuming aspect of the ‘back and forth’ that happens with scheduling new leads and get them on the phone faster? Not only that but what if they worked out the schedule for you?
What is it? Automated scheduling.
How do you do it? With a single link.
Intrigued? Read on.
Here’s the thing: there are a lot of tools to do this for you, and I have a shortlist at the end to help get you started. Some are free, some are paid.
Obviously, you’ll get what you pay for: free options will require some setup and debugging on your end to get them up and running, whereas many of the paid versions are nearly a one-click setup.
Regardless, it’s important to understand what automated scheduling is so you can be best informed on which tool would work the best.
Step 1: You Get The Lead
Let’s start with a lead from your website.
They fill out a contact form and their information is emailed to you. It probably includes their name, contact information, and maybe a few sentences of what they’re looking for.
So you pick up the phone or email them to schedule a call.
And then you wait.
They reply with a day and time that they’re free.
You check your calendar and respond back with a day/time that will work for both of you.
Then you wait (again).
Then they reply with a “Yes” and you’re done, or a “No” and it starts all over again. This repeats for every lead.
Ah, but what if you respond the first time with a day/time for an appointment? Clever, right?
You’re still waiting for them to respond so you can schedule the event. What if there was a better way?
Step 2: Automated Appointment Scheduling
Now rewind and we’ll look at a different scenario.
The website lead comes in with the name, contact details, a few short sentences – the same thing as above. Only this time, when the lead fills out the form and clicks “submit”, they get this email immediately in their inbox:
Thanks for filling out the email form! I’d be happy to discuss any questions you have. If you’d like to schedule an appointment to chat about what you need, or to talk about how great the Godfather movies were, click this link and pick a day and time!
Instead of a robotic “thanks for your email” sent to them, they get a warm, personal email automatically delivered with your (or your salesperson’s) name and a link to schedule an appointment.
They got this email when they’re at the highest level of interest in your services, and you’ve made it easier to move them down your sales process by reaching them at this point.
This is the important part: you didn’t reach out to them hours or days later – you had an automated message sent to them immediately after they filled out the contact form.
Step 3: Relax As Your Calendar Fills Up
That link in the email is the key that makes all of this magic happen.
When someone clicks that link, they’re sent to a website that’s integrated with your calendar. The lead picks out a day and time that works for them from the list that’s available, fills out a short form, and bam – meeting scheduled.
No back-and-forth. It all happens automatically and in the background. 24 hours a day.
Going further, you can set up an automated decision tree: lead fills out the form but doesn’t schedule an appointment? Follow up with another email with more content designed to educate them and move them down the buyer’s journey.
Bonus: Tools you can use
This is a shortlist of tools available that you can use to manage this for you.
I’m telling you: set this up and you’re eliminating a pain point in your sales cycle for both you and your customers. How powerful is that?
Meeting your leads when they’re at their highest point of conversion is critical to moving them down your sales funnel. If they’re reaching out to you, odds are they’re ready to talk.
Why make them wait days to schedule a time with you? Why have a back-and-forth?
With a simple setup, you can have your leads scheduling themselves and free up your time and energy.
This can just be the start of automating your different tasks in your business. Think about the other areas where your company can be streamlined. I’m sure there are many more.