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Scheduling Effectiveness

Is your calendar full with appointments every week? Are you cherry picking your client base because of time? Are you still doing the scheduling?

Scheduling is the most important component to grow your business. However, in most offices scheduling does not get the proper attention it deserves. If the advisor is making the calls, one week is full and the next week is empty. If a team member is making the calls, they usually procrastinate getting on the phone. Either way, scheduling is not a priority or consistent.

Regardless of who is making the calls, it needs to be done daily. As an advisor, you have three options: make the calls yourself, have someone in your office make the calls, or outsource the scheduling.

Many years ago, I worked with a financial producer in Chicago. He had only been in the business a little over a year; so being in front of people was crucial. When I first started making calls for him, I only called the existing clients. He felt the referrals were the doorway to the future and he didn’t want to lose them. However, within 3 months, his calendar was full so he didn’t have time to call the referrals. Viola! From that point forward, I did all the scheduling.

I’m a firm believer in the delegation of all scheduling so you can stay in front of people. Yes, I know what you’re thinking; nobody is as good as me on the phone. I disagree. If you have the right scheduler, they can make calls daily and be available to intercept the returned calls. It’s a waste of your time trying to reach people to schedule an appointment. What if you used those hours to be in front of opportunities? How do you make that happen? LET GO of scheduling! You’ll be amazed with the results.

There are two common obstacles most advisors struggle with, cherry picking the client base and getting returned calls. Cherry picking happens because there is not a system to routinely work the client base or time to make the calls. Most of you are truly sitting on a goldmine. When you have a routine process to work the client base, you will turn prospects into clients and clients into referrers. You can also overcome the lack of returned calls by leaving brief messages, in other words, don’t tell them you want to schedule an appointment, and by calling every three days to create a sense of urgency.

To eliminate cherry picking, you can create a process to work the client base so every person, client, or prospect pops up every six months. Why every six months? One call is to schedule an appointment and the other is to touch base. By doing so you will uncover opportunities, nurture relationships, and get new referrals.

Going back to my early years of calling, our system was to pull names based on a birthday – so, names popped up every six months. In other words, we followed the Granum One Card System. If we didn’t have a date of birth, we put the month and year we met with the referral to be sure they didn’t fall through the cracks. This is how prospects became clients and our clients gave us more referrals.

Let me give you an example. A prospect meets with my advisor for the first time and during that meeting, the prospect decides he’ll stay with his present advisor. Six months later, I call to touch base and usually nothing has changed. However, one year later I make another call to touch base and try to schedule an appointment. Again, most times they push you out again. Then, six months later, I finally get them to make another appointment. How did I do that? Consistency! In fact they would normally say, “Gina you call me more than the advisor I’m presently working with.” I responded with, “just think of how well we would care for you if you were a client.” Boom, the appointment was made!

On the flip side, our clients would come in at least one time a year for a review or get a check-in call. During the check-in calls, I would simply touch base to see if there were any changes. Most times all was good, however, there were times they needed a review due to a certain life event. Either way, they felt cared for because of those semi-annual calls. It also became an opportunity for them to provide us with referrals.

Now that you understand how to work the client base, here are some additional ideas to keep the calendar filled every week:

Be clear about the number and type of appointments you want per week. It’s easy to say I want 10 appointments. However, filling the calendar with existing clients is not going to grow your business. Ideally, you want a variety of appointments; follow up meetings, referrals, prospects, clients, COIs, etc.

On the 22nd of each month, print a list of names to be called the following month, clients and prospects.

Review the list to determine the outcome of each person. Do you want an appointment or to make a check-in call.

Confirm appointments before making outbound calls to schedule new appointments. If by chance someone cancels for the following day, you may be able to replace the open slot.

Be ready to make outbound calls by 9am daily! By doing so, the calls get made and people have all day to get back to you. Check-in calls can be made in the afternoon.

Prioritize the order of the calls to have a variety of appointments. I suggest; follow up meetings/2nd meetings, referrals, prospects, and then clients.

Leave a message and make them brief. When you leave a long-winded message, people usually zone out or delete the message before they get to the reason for the call. Or, if you tell them you want to schedule an appointment they may think, I’m busy or feel they don’t need an appointment so they won’t call back.

Leave a message, every three days. Most people wait at least a week, which is too far out. Calling every three days; Monday, Thursday and then the following Tuesday, creates a sense of urgency. If you don’t get a response after three messages, don’t give up. Try an email or text.

I know some of you feel sending an email is the best way to schedule an appointment. Ideally, an email should only be used if you can’t reach them by phone.

Let me strengthen my point about emails. I was talking with a friend of mine, who is a successful mortgage broker, on successful tips for scheduling. As I was sharing my ideas, he said, “I find your suggestions very interesting, especially calling vs. sending an email. My advisor only sends an email to schedule an appointment, which seems impersonal to me so I don’t respond. I haven’t seen him in years.” That’s what I call cherry picking or not taking the time to truly work the client base. Don’t think of scheduling as a quick fix, let the scheduler build on the relationship to help the clients, prospects and referrals feel connected and cared for.

I think I’ve outlined some key tips to tweak your present scheduling process. Keep in mind, the goal is to turn prospect into clients and clients into referrers by working the client base.

Want more? Below are a few options that could impact your business immediately!

  • The Appointment Scheduler book has systems, tips, and scripts to manage the scheduling process.

  • The Revenue Resource is our training series to uncover opportunities within the client base and train an internal scheduler.

  • The Virtual Scheduler is our scheduling service. You give us the names and we fill the calendar.

Or, you can visit our website to complete our Scheduling Effectiveness Scorecard. We’d love to review and share your score!

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