Is it Time to Hire a Scheduling Assistant?
Most of the time, when an external wholesaler or financial advisor called me to hire a scheduling assistant, they needed an assistant yesterday. Their busy day-to-day lives have proven that they need some help and one of the first things my target market does is outsource the scheduling.
So how do you know if it’s time to hire someone to take over your scheduling? If you answer, YES to any of the questions below, you are ready to hire a scheduler.
Are you overwhelmed with sales meetings, travel, and paperwork so you struggle to find time to schedule appointments?
Are you stuck in a vicious cycle of scheduling appointments to meet prospects, then after you’ve had your meetings you have to take time to schedule again to avoid a bare calendar?
Do you absolutely dread scheduling appointments?
Would you rather spend your time in front of clients/prospects rather than on the phone scheduling?
Are you eager to build consistency with your meetings?
Once you’ve determined you need to hire a scheduling assistant, what are the best practices when working with an assistant? Assuming you hire an experienced scheduler, who is also a great personality fit for your business, below are the best practices to follow:
Provide a list of contacts. Lists are great either in the form of an Excel document or access to a CRM database where they can pull contact information. A list of specific people who are ranked in some fashion is even better. *Please make sure lists have good contact information including name, phone number, and addresses, and if you’d like your scheduler to email, they'll need email addresses.
Access to a calendar. For face-to-face appointment setting, it helps if there are regular rotations or loops in the territory and the calendar is planned out at least two to three months in advance. If the scheduler knows when you’ll be in a certain area on future dates, this gives them the opportunity to schedule more appointments. Also, be sure to block out time for your vacations, national sales meetings, and other appointments as soon as you can so your scheduler knows when you are not available. For phone appointment setting the loops and zones aren’t as important – just be sure your calendar is up to date with dates and times you are available for the phone appointments. Today a lot of professionals use calendar links such as Calendly or something similar, access to that is perfect as well.
Provide your expectations. What does your ideal day look like? Will you see/visit with potential clients Monday – Friday, or are Friday afternoon's office days? What are your preferred times for appointments? Will you see/visit with potential clients from 8:00-5:00 or do you prefer to start your appointments at 9:00 and end by 4:00? Do you do lunch meetings, breakfast meetings, or happy hours or do you prefer not to buy meals and drinks? How many meetings would you like set each day? How long do you like to block out on your calendar for each appointment? How often would you like reports and what do you want on them?
(Example: I want to have five meetings per day on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Don’t schedule appointments before 10 a.m. on Mondays or after 12:00 p.m. on Fridays. Leave at least 1 hour between appointments and 1 hour for each appointment. The earliest I’ll see someone T-F is 7:30 a.m. breakfast and the latest on M-TH is 5:00 p.m. happy hour. Please send a report each Monday for the previous week that includes the number of dials, the number of contacts, and number of appointments set for that week, etc.)
Communication, Communication, Communication. Communication with your scheduling assistant is vital. It is essential that everyone knows what their responsibilities are and what is expected of them. Think of your scheduler as a member of your team. The more the scheduler knows about your territory, your expectations, and your calendar, the better.
Provide a hook. Your scheduler will call as an assistant to you and will at least need a few general bullet points and anything else that will be beneficial to her in setting appointments. Do you have a hot new product or service? Is your product doing really well or does your service provide a much-needed solution to a growing problem? Your scheduler will know what information she needs to be successful.
At the end of the day if you need a good scheduling assistant please feel free to email me at email@example.com or give me a call at 515.309.2838. I’m happy to help!