The Secret to Growing your Business: Power Scheduling

By Annie Andre | Updated: 21 Feb, 2012

Scheduling need not be stuck in the dark ages

The art of scheduling has changed considerably since the dawn of the computer. Most executives still rely on Outlook or Google to manage their calendar and contacts.

With over 100,000 hours of service supporting executives, Prialto has observed three key scheduling mistakes:

  • Treating everyone the same: Why should you provide a casual acquaintance the same access to your calendar as a vital client?
  • Focusing on in-bound meetings: Do you primarily schedule with people that ask for your time or are you pro-active in getting meetings crucial to growing your business?
  • Doing it yourself: Why are you dealing with the back-and-forth Ping-Pong?

If the questions above resonate with you, remember, the tools you are using aren’t broken, just the way you are using them. By integrating CRM and a remote assistant team into your process, you can quickly address these mistakes and maximize every moment on your calendar.

We need to stop treating each contact with the same priority…

At Prialto, we regularly observe executives scheduling each contact the same way. This mistake will result is a calendar cluttered with meetings that can’t help you grow your business.

Unfortunately, Outlook and other contact management programs aren’t built to effectively prioritize contacts. We have found that CRM software is the best solution and in many cases can be integrated directly into your email and calendar programs. CRM offers executives three key benefits:

  • Prioritize your contacts: Ranking contacts byboth a) “Value” to their business and b) “Relationship strength” allows you to quickly prioritize your meetings.
  • Maintain contact: Keeping in regular touch with valuable contacts is key to growing your business. We recommend that executives track “Next Contact Date” for each priority contact. By leveraging “Value”, you can then make sure you are giving priority to your most valuable contacts.
  • Connect with your contacts: To connect with your contacts, it is important to track information such as personal interests, who introduced you, and introductions you / your contacts have made for each other.

… pro-actively schedule meetings with key contacts…

Most executives are too busy to develop new relationships with prospects and referral sources. This results in calendars filled with meetings from in-bound requests. Instead, we suggest you grow your business with meetings that matter to you.

The secret to getting quality meetings is to find excuses to reach out. You can leverage your CRM to create these excuses:

  • Use visits as opportunities: Tracking the metro area of each contact allows you to easily sort by value and reach out before a visit
  • Track and nurture introductions: You should track potential introductions / opportunities (both those you can make and receive) in a CRM to make sure you follow-up effectively
  • Share with your contacts: Tracking interests of your connections and sharing articles helps build relationships. Tags in a CRM are an excellent way to quickly filter your contacts when you find interesting articles.
  • Find things in common: Track personal details (i.e. a contact’s favorite sports team) and reach out when events occur (i.e. LSU losing the national championship)

…and increase the time we spend on growing our business

Sales and business development executives on average spend 70% of their time on administrative tasks. To grow your business, it is important to offload recurring processes to an assistant:

  • Eliminate scheduling ping-pong: Once you agree to meet a contact, setting the time and location can take weeks. Prialto Productivity Assistants (PAs) are trained to manage this process for our members.
  • Offload prospect research: Knowing the personal and professional background of a prospect makes building a relationship easier. This is another great task to offload to your PA.
  • Use your PA to enter CRM data: You can email or call your assistant with information to update in your CRM

Most importantly, by giving an assistant access to your CRM, you empower your assistant to manage your calendar and contacts effectively. Prialto PAs are trained to:

  • Serve as gatekeepers and prioritize meetings with high-value contacts
  • Reach out to contacts prior to a market visit by their member
  • Help you spark regular dialogs with key contacts

Gear your schedule to work for you

We’ve seen many busy executives make dramatic differences in growing their businesses by implementing these best practices. Adopting our system is not rocket science, but we find the most successful executives are the ones who first assess the limitations of their current system and then leverage our best practices to create a much-improved system for scheduling.