Time Management Tip: Either/Or

Image of appointment book.Are you too flexible when it comes to scheduling?

Nailing down appointment times can sometimes be a challenge. Sometimes we’re so eager to serve a new client that we’ll bend over backwards to be flexible when it comes to deciding when to meet.

“I’m free whenever you are,” is about the worst thing you can say to someone who wants to meet. Why? Two reasons:

1. It broadcasts your time isn’t particularly valuable or in demand.People don’t assume they’re the most important client– they immediately think: “Uh-oh, this guy’s got nothing but free time. Is he any good if he doesn’t have other meetings?”

2. People make quicker decisions with narrower choices. Ever stopped by a convenience store to pick up disposable plates? You’re so happy they have them, you don’t care if they’re paper, plastic, recycled, organic, non-bleached, or what the design looks like. Ever gone into a Walmart to buy disposable plates? You could spend forty minutes picking just the right combination of price / material / design considerations. Not to mention you walk out with a cart full of things you didn’t intend to buy.

Next time you schedule a meeting, pick two times to propose. For instance, “I’m free Friday at 1PM and next Monday at 11AM.” Odds are, your client will pick one of the two. If both don’t work, ask when the client would prefer to meet, or slide in one more choice. A good script for this is, “Well, I could probably reschedule my 3PM on Thursday if that would work for you.”

Doing so reinforces the impression that you’re on top of your schedule, and you don’t sit around twiddling your thumbs!

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