7 Ways to transform your schedule into a sales tool 0 1034

If you think of your schedule as a one-dimensional organizational tool, you’re missing out. That schedule that you’re keeping is a secret sales tool waiting to work for you. We’re talking big-time revenue potential, if you use it correctly.

It doesn’t matter how large your company is, how much revenue you’re bringing in, or how long you’ve been around, if you have a business – your schedule can (and should) be boosting your bottom line.

How can you transform your schedule into a sales tool?

  • Digitize and publicize your calendar. If you want your schedule to start making you money, you have to make your calendar accessible to potential clients. Leverage an online booking platform where customers can view openings for appointments, demos, classes, events, etc.

  • Link your calendar to marketing materials with a “Call to Action” button. Make it easy for customers and prospects to find your calendar via CTA buttons on your website, in email campaigns, or other digital marketing materials. These buttons should be the center of attention of your content, and labeled clearly with phrases like “Book Now” or “Schedule an Appointment.”

  • Put the power in your customers’ hands. Allowing your customers to reserve their own time slot on your calendar can make a powerful impression and win you major customer service brownie points. Online booking is a slick feature that is affordable and easy to manage, and shows a high level of professionalism. In addition, opening your calendar to your audience conveys the message that you are prioritizing their time by putting the power of scheduling in their hands, and skipping the painful phone tag or email inquiry process.

  • Capture contact information. When your client reserves a slot on your calendar, it is essential you capture contact information. At a minimum, this should be an email address. If it’s appropriate, snag a phone number and a mailing address here too. Obtaining this contact information opens up a world of opportunities to continually market to a warm customer base – people who have already come in contact with your brand.

  • Reduce cancellations and no-shows. Businesses can bleed money if their customers continually neglect appointments. There are a few ways to address the problem. First, you can take payment or a deposit online at the time of booking, if applicable to your business. Second, you can send friendly email or text reminders in the days and even hours leading up to your appointment. In these reminders, offer the opportunity to reschedule if necessary. People are forgetful. A simple email can be the difference between a lost sale and a closed deal.

  • Offer bonuses and promotions. If someone reserves time on your calendar, you’ve already made an impression. Now the goal is to keep them coming back. Track customer patterns and send targeted offers that remind them to return or try something new. For instance, if you own a spa and a customer routinely books massages, send them a special offer for booking a manicure/pedicure combo. If you use your calendar to schedule demos of a product, send a follow-up email to customers who completed the demo but did not follow through with a purchase. A little extra prompting may be all a person needs to make a purchase or increase their spending.

  • Alert and educate. Use the contact information you’ve gathered to alert your customers when new opportunities are available. Educate them about upcoming changes, or send newsletters with valuable information that does not push a sale. Consistent communication paired with valuable and relevant information will help you build a loyal client base of people who will continually look for more opportunities to connect with your business.
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Get off the Phone: 3 Tips to Get Customers to Book Online 0 1095

For small businesses, your main marketing goal is finding new customers and getting them to book your services. Most business owners try to accomplish this by getting to know their customers, being there for them, and answering all of their questions and concerns. This tactic of being personal and reliable is well intentioned, but it can sometimes result in businesses getting trapped in a cycle of communication and reassurance with their customers, spending hours a day on the phone; booking appointments, reminding customers of appointments, giving directions, and confirming meeting times.

Being on the phone is a huge waste of time for businesses. Not only does being on the phone limit customers to only schedule during business hours, but it also makes interactions way longer than they would be than if it were accomplished through an email, text or other online communication. This is why so many companies have turned to online booking as a way to get customers off the phone and onto their website.

Getting your customers used to the idea of booking online can be difficult if they are in the habit of calling your business and talking to humans, but it usually only takes a few months for a successful switch over if you make sure to do it right. Here are some tips on how to get your customers off the phone and booking online without losing any business in the process.

  1. Make booking online easier than a phone call

    The main reason why people prefer talking on the phone to booking online is because they find online booking options confusing or unreliable.

    As a business owner, you know that this is not the case. Booking over the phone is time consuming both for you and your customer, and adds extra steps and hassles that are much more easily avoided through booking online. However, if your website does not make booking online as easy, intuitive, and clear as possible, your customers will not trust the system and will continue to call.

    The key to encouraging your customers to book online is to make the experience something they are comfortable doing– even more comfortable than being on the phone. The best way to do this is to get a booking software that has an intuitive interface and very simple directions.

    Booking apps like BookLikeABoss offer an interface that is very intuitive for users as it closely resembles the interfaces of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and other social media accounts that customers are already familiar with. It also makes booking very clear and easy with a visual aid of a calendar already on the page.

    By creating a separate booking page that people feel comfortable with, and making the process easy and intuitive, you will ease your customers into trusting the experience of booking with you.

  2. Answer questions online

    Another common reasons why customers call a business is because they have questions that they can’t find the answer to online. The best way to avoid this is to have an FAQ page that is actually helpful.

    Many FAQ pages are out of date, lazily put together, and of no real help to the customer. Make sure you have an FAQ page that looks up to date and trustworthy, answers common questions, and offers a reliable email address where customers can ask further questions.

    Don’t make the FAQ page so long that customers have to dig through it in order to find answers, but make sure it gets to the meat of common booking issues. If you take the time to create a truly useful FAQ page, you will reduce the amount of phone calls you get and save yourself time and money.

  3. Leave no room for doubt

    Lastly, if you’re going to offer online booking services, you need to make sure that your customers receive confirmations and reminders that reassure them they booked successfully.

    All booking services should come with an instant confirmation email that is sent to your customer’s email address, confirming their appointment and reminding them of their time so that they don’t have any doubt about their appointment. It’s also helpful to send out reminder emails a few days before the appointment in order to remind and reassure your customer.

    These little details will make a big difference to first time customers that want to be sure the online service worked the way it was supposed to. They will also reduce the amount of phone calls you get of people wanting to be reassured by talking to a person.

At the end of the day, succeeding in moving your booking services online is all about creating a system that is intuitive, reliable, and comprehensive. If you make sure your online booking is a positive experience, you will see that your customers prefer it to speaking on the phone as well.

Does being an entrepreneur mean ‘goodbye’ to your social life? 0 1096

When you tell people you’re an entrepreneur, most people imagine the dream lifestyle: a six-figure bank account, vacations on your yacht, working where and when you want. The reality, of course, is rather different.

While most entrepreneurs love what they do (one study shows they’re the happiest people in the planet), that doesn’t take away from the fact that being an entrepreneur is hard work.

You need to reply to emails at any hour, manage payroll and tax, chase up leads and search for new staff. And all that extra work can be a drag on your work-life balance.

One survey of small business owners found that almost half of them cancel social plans at least once per week. And 50% of entrepreneurs say they work more than 50 hours on an average week.

Of course, if you love what you do, doing some extra hours might not feel like work. But, managing your work-life balance is important as a small business owner.

Let’s look at why it’s so important, then cover some practical steps you can take to manage your work-life balance better.

The risks of being a workaholic

Entrepreneurs tend to be very driven people. You’ve got an idea you’re super passionate about. (That’s something we know from first-hand experience at Book Like a Boss – we’re a small team of solopreneurs who launched a tool we love – read about us here.)

But, just because you can work long hours, doesn’t mean you should. The risks of not managing your work-life balance include:

  • Missing opportunities: sometimes you’re so focused on small tasks, that you fail to see more important opportunities which could bring you a lot more value
  • Losing the passion: if you work yourself to the bone, your business could eventually become the thing you hate
  • Damaging relationships: whether it’s with your partner, friends or family, working too hard means you spend less time with the people who count
  • Burning out: if you don’t get enough sleep and spend too long under stress, your mental and physical health could take a hit

Ways small business owners can get back their work-life balance

So, what can you do to avoid these risks and get back your work-life balance as a small business owner?

  1. Delegate

The ability to delegate tasks is essential as an entrepreneur. If your company already has some employees, you need to learn to hand over some of your work to them, allowing you to focus more time and energy on strategy. If you work alone, there are a ton of online platforms where you can search for accountants, data-entry staff or web developers. Delegating these tasks allows you to give yourself a little time to breathe and think.

  1. Set aside time to exercise!

Setting aside some time to exercise during the working week is essential. If you’re getting up at 5am every day and living off a diet of coffee and snacks, you will end up sick! It’s super important to dedicate a little time to your health at least twice a week. Whether that’s going for a run, visiting your gym or taking your bike out for a ride, a good exercise session stops you from doing work at the same time, meaning your mind is totally focused on something other than work.

  1. Take mini-breaks

Entrepreneurs tend to take a lot less vacation than employees. That’s no surprise – if you’re uncontactable for two weeks, a lot of your clients will potentially go elsewhere for business. Mini-breaks are a great solution here. Even if it’s just once per month, take a Friday off work and go away for the weekend. Get a change of scenery and switch off your work phone.

  1. Re-evaluate your customer list

You know that client who calls you late at night with extra demands? The one who manages to get you to effectively give them free advice or work for less than its real value? The one who takes up all your attention? It’s time to evaluate if that customer is really worth the money they’re spending.

Many entrepreneurs have at least one customer like this, and they can be really exhausting. If the relationship just isn’t worth it for you, it might be time to ask if you’d be less stressed letting them go and working with a less demanding client.

  1. Set clear boundaries

Last but not least, you need to set clear boundaries around your work time and your private time. Sure, there’s got to be some flexibility here. Nonetheless, you should set yourself rules that you stick to. Turn off your work phone after a certain time in the evening. Focus on your family (and food!) during your evening meal. Give yourself at least one day per week where you do no serious work.

Balance your work and life like a boss

Working yourself so hard you get exhausted and disillusioned isn’t smart. As an entrepreneur, you need to manage your time in a way that allows you to get some of those rewards of being a small business owner – using some of the money you’re earning, treating yourself, and spending more time with your loved ones.

At Book Like a Boss, we aim to help small business owners manage their work life balance better. Our tools take out a huge amount of the admin time entrepreneurs spend managing their client calendars, taking payments and booking appointments. Learn more about our tools here.

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