Anyone who has spent at least a couple of months in a sales role knows the best way to convert a lead into a happy customer, is through a live conversation. It’s just the most natural way to convey thoughts, ideas, and emotions. Don’t mess up your chances by sending over time slots via email. Here’s how you take the friction out of booking a meeting.
You’ve properly qualified a lead and gave them a well-timed personalized follow-up. Now it’s time for the icing on the cake by having a 1:1 conversation with them. Time to get a meeting scheduled! But how? Before diving into how you can book a meeting easily, let’s first look at how not to book a meeting.
Why scheduling over email doesn’t work
The following examples illustrate common ways salespeople try to get meetings booked. While they may work from time to time, they tend to result in a bad experience due to how cumbersome they are. Check it out and think about it – how would you feel about receiving these messages?
“When works for you?”
Ugh, now I gotta check my calendar and I don’t even know if my proposed time will work for them…
“I’m available at X, Y, or Z. Which works best for you?”
Well, at least I have something to pick from but they sent it to me two days ago. What if these times don’t work for them anymore?
“I’m available at X PM today, how about you?”
Great, I can get on a call today! But wait, I’m in Europe and this person is somewhere in the US! Which time zone are they in?
As you can see, these methods require multiple messages to 1. confirm availability, 2. schedule a time, and 3. arrange the (virtual) location for the meeting. With each extra step required, you add a layer of complexity. Which added complexity, you risk losing out on the meeting altogether.
The 2-minute rule
I’m a big advocate for David Allen’s neuroscience-based productivity method called Getting Things Done® or GTD for short. One of its most powerful insights is that we tend to (and should) perform actions right away if they take 2 minutes or less to do.
In GTD this has been translated into a rule called the 2-minute-rule: if you can do it in under 2 minutes, do it now.
So, if the action you’re trying to drive as a seller is getting a meeting booked, what’s the take-away here? Exactly, it should take your lead no more than 2 minutes to book an appointment with you.
The best way to have someone book a meeting with you comes down to this: make it easy, make it quick, and keep it comprehensive. A meeting link is the only method that satisfies all of these 3 conditions. Let’s see how it works.
The core idea of a meeting link is that you can give anyone direct access to your calendar with a specific URL which they can visit to book some time in it while allowing you to set the rules that dictate 1) who gets access, 2) when they can book meetings, and 3) for how long.
For example, you don’t want to get double meetings booked by 2 different people at the same time or two back-to-back 1-hour meetings without any break in between. By controlling these settings you’ll make sure a self-service meeting tool benefits both parties.
Fundamentally, you’ll only need two things to set up your own individual meeting link: 1) an online calendar and 2) a meeting link tool. Popular online calendars such as Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook tend to be the easiest to connect with any tool out there. Read on to learn which tool I recommend.
There are plenty of meeting link tools out there. Well-known examples include Calendly, Youcanbook.me, and Doodle. These are great standalone tools with their own quirks and features. All of them however share an easy onboarding experience and robust track record.
My tool of choice is HubSpot because it integrates with their free CRM which I use, and it’s the example I’ll showcase when setting it up down below. I’ve used HubSpot for years and I am a certified HubSpot partner.
To set up a meeting link in HubSpot, log in and navigate to Sales > Meetings. Press Create meeting link and you’ll be guided through an easy-to-follow meeting link creation wizard.
Here’s how I’ve got my individual meeting link set up in HubSpot’s free version. I’ve dubbed it 20/40/60 because those are the three available durations I can be booked for.
Under the Configuration tab, you can set up several settings. I use HubSpot’s free Zoom integration which automatically adds a Zoom link to the calendar item that’s created when a meeting is booked. This is a great time saver for me.
The Invite subject is the title of the calendar item, and a great opportunity to apply personalization. I use it quite mildly by only adding the contact’s first name in the title, but you can use any token available in the CRM to further personalize the calendar item.
You could for example add a line to the Invite description such as: “Exploring how you can benefit from our company’s services with <contact’s company name>.” If you have a paid version of HubSpot you can create multiple meeting links, which you could use to create separate meeting links per use case and automatically adding specific calendar items to the description.
By using the visitor’s browser settings for language and time format, you ensure your meeting link is eligible for as many people as possible and they book at the right time.
Lastly, the meeting reminder email feature is very helpful to prevent no-shows. You can configure what it says to your liking on an individual level up to the time it’s set to be sent out (I’ve set this as 30 minutes before the meeting, depending on your industry and other factors you might opt for a different time).
The Availability tab is where you set your calendar’s boundaries to the outside world. This is crucial since your time is valuable and you want to make sure you don’t get a booking at a time that doesn’t work for you.
By default, it’s set up to standard 9-to-5 working hours. I’ve had to edit that since I am currently fully booked and dedicating my time to focused work for clients during those hours. Therefore, I set my availability to one 2-hour slot in the morning, and one 2-slot in the evening.
Since I don’t want to commit myself too far ahead in the future, my rolling range is set at 4 weeks – any time after that from today cannot be booked. My minimum notice time is one day since I don’t want to jump on impromptu meetings, but as a seller you might want to drastically reduce this time to book more meetings with leads!
The buffer time is important. How much time do you need to process a past meeting, reset and re-energize until you’re ready for the next one? 💪 That should be the time you set in this section.
Start time increment refers to what times of the hour can be selected in your calendar. You can set a specific time (15 minutes means you can select 8:00, 8:15, 8:30, or 8:45 if I am available at all those times) or base it on the selected ‘Meeting link duration’, which in my case is 20, 40 or 60 minutes.
The last section, Form Questions, allows you to set what input your lead submits to the calendar item. Things like first & last name and email are standard and required and enough for most use cases. If you opt for a paid version of HubSpot, you can add any other question or contact property to the self-service form. Make sure to carefully weigh the implication of added complexity (remember the 2-minute-rule) to the form.
If you have HubSpot integrated with your site and your lead may have submitted other forms previously, you can enable HubSpot to auto-populate the information submitted there by ticking Pre-populate fields with known values. I’ve chosen not to tick Auto-submit form when all fields are pre-populated, since I want to give the user control over this. In sales, you might be dealing with an organization where a meeting is booked in someone’s name – you want to make sure to allow this. Finally, make sure you have the GDPR setting switched on if you operate within the European Union.
That’s it! Good luck setting up your meeting link. If you have any further questions on what setup would be best for you, just book some time with me. 😉