When I began my career in business, reaching people was relatively easy. I just called them on the phone and the vast majority of the time, they (or their secretary) answered the call. My sales training included segments on ‘getting past the secretary.’ I always wondered if secretaries had a similar course on screening sales people. The process was simple and it worked just fine.
When I call someone today (anyone in fact – not just CEO’s or CFO’s), I get voicemail. When they call me back, they likely get the same. We resort to emails most of the time but on occasion it becomes necessary to talk with an actual human being. For that difficult task, we must schedule a conference call. As you know, that’s not easy. We use a series of emails to share our respective “open slots.” By the time the recipient responds, those coveted spots might be gone…starting the process all over again.
For me, all of that changed last week when I signed up for “TimeTrade.” TimeTrade offers a professional version ($29.95 per year) that makes scheduling time with me a breeze. Here’s how it works:
1. Click the link below my signature line below.
2. It will give you direct access to my calendar. The time slots are ones that I’ve chosen to make available.
3. You pick a time and it shows up in my outlook – confirmed appointment!
Many of you are thinking “I don’t want to let just anyone set up an appointment in my calendar!” To that I say, “Yes you do.” Anyone can call you on the phone and leave a voicemail. Most of us feel obliged to return those calls. By letting them set up a time on your calendar, it’s a lot faster for both of you. I want to speak with most callers – even if it’s briefly. It could be a client, prospect, referral source or someone else that is important to me. I don’t want those people to hesitate for a minute to reach out to me. The appointment is limited to a 15 minute conference call and usually takes less time than all of the voicemail tag.
When I want to initiate a meeting, it’s very easy as well. When I reply to any email, I have a TimeTrade “Schedule Link” button on my toolbar within outlook. When I click the link, it allows me to suggest a series of times based on my availability. The link then allows the recipient to pick one of those times and again, the appointment is on my outlook calendar – confirmed. It’s the type of function that should be built directly into Outlook or Google Calendar…and it probably will be soon when one of those companies acquires TimeTrade. I spoke with Gary Ambrosino, COO of TimeTrade last week…facilitated through a TimeTrade scheduled appointment. I think the investors at Common Angels are on to something with this one and it’s not limited to scheduling appointments at the local Sears portrait studio.
This theme fits nicely into one of my basic business axioms…”Make it easy for people to do exactly what you want them to do.” Now go ahead and schedule some time with me. The link is below…
Eastward Capital Partners
432 Cherry Street
West Newton, MA 02465
o: (617) 762-3611
c: (617) 947-6272
Eastward Capital Partners – providing $1 – 10 million venture debt, growth capital and equipment financing to venture-backed, emerging growth companies since 1994. We also provide expansion capital to non venture backed companies.