I got to know Heide Metzger for the first time when she joined my 30-Day Storytelling on Video Challenge (that I partner with Lou Bortone on) in the fall of 2015. She has a heart of gold and a HUGE vision to serve the world through fundraising massage parties. For example, let’s say you want to do the Avon Beast Cancer Walk and you have to raise your money to do that. Well, Heide has licensed massage therapists across the country who will come to your house while you host a party. Half of the money goes to you for your charity and half goes to the massage therapist for their time and energy. It’s a win-win-win!
I am honored she has chosen to work with me to help her expand her message and grow her mission. And yesterday she emailed me after being in the free webinar I taught and then joining the Signature Speech Mastery Program.
The following is her email written in it’s entirety, because even her signature and quotation at the bottom are wonderful indications of her huge heart and giving spirit.
I wanted to get back to my office to write this since their where my notes (and thoughts) on the webinar were and wanted to share some with you if they can help you in any way to promote.
(Also the reason that I am on 2 of your lists is because this one is my general email to filter things through and the new one which will match the upcoming website, book, and marketing Fundraising Massage Parties, is what I use when it is something or someone I am working with currently or to follow up on. It is to cut out all other “noise”)
I wanted to specifically share with you the things that I put stars by and that made my eyes widen!
(HEIDEA = means I had an idea while you were teaching – these should come with a warning label)
1) “If you want to write a book, SPEAK about it first……….” WOW! Everyone else talks about having a book first to get your foot in the door! What great advice to get traction for a book launch!! I get that most people want a book out but don’t look at the marketing side of it though!
2) I loved the “chance to network with an entire room of people at once” I remember when I spoke in front of 180 Kinder Care teachers and when they came up to me afterwards, I felt like a rock star! Boy! Did I do EVERYTHING NOT to do for that event!! (That will be my testimonial for you after I finish your course and really ROCK!)
3) HEIDEA = When you mentioned the Naperville Chamber of Commerce, I thought about the mini-talk I am giving in Naperville tomorrow for the Alzheimer’s Walk Team in Naperville. They are committed to raising $500,000 at their event in September. Do you see an opportunity to speak to a local Chamber when events like that are going on in their town?
4) Your tip on simply adding “speaker” when you introduce yourself at events was great!
5) I AM IN LOVE with your simple 3-5 questions that people ask you the most! And what question should they be asking! For anyone that has an FAQ page on their website, brochures, or any marketing, THIS was a no brainer!!
THANK YOU!!! I got the other email about the 3 webinars tomorrow. It looks like one is at noon, another at !:00 and I am not sure of the 3rd, but I will rearrange a couple of things.
Feel free to let me know if you would like me to post anything anywhere.
With Much Love, Peace and Laughter,
“BE The Change You Wish To See In The World” Gandhi
With Much Love, Peace and Laughter,
Here is Heide’s fundraising vision explained using one of the video tools she learned about while taking part in the 30-Day Storytelling on Video Challenge with me and Lou Bortone. As you can see, she has a huge heart and I think a fabulous idea:
Years ago when DVD players came on the market and started to become commonplace in many homes, my husband and I debated whether we should get a DVD player. My argument, admittedly weak as it was looking back now, was that VHS was the industry standard and had been for years. I thought FOR SURE the DVD player and the DVDs to go with them were going to be like the Betamax machines and tapes, which were popular with enthusiasts and early-adopter technologists, but never really caught on in the mainstream.
You see, I had watched my Dad years earlier buy into the Betamax, thinking it was going to be the next big thing, but it turned out to be a big dud. With that, my young opinions on early-adoption of technology were formed.
So when DVDs came along, in my mind it seemed a lot like the Betamax. I was completely against getting a DVD player.
Turns out I was also completely wrong.
Then, in the early 2000s, right as digital photography was becoming part of the mainstream, I was adamant I didn’t need a digital camera. After all, I reasoned, I’d taken photography classes. Those cameras could never reach the same quality as “real” cameras. Plus, it didn’t really matter; all I was doing was taking snapshots, anyway, so I was fine with the way I’d always done things.
Turns out I was wrong about that, too.
Now, in my marriage (perhaps like yours?), my husband and I enjoy some good-natured ribbing, especially when one of us is wildly wrong about something totally inconsequential in our world. That means, after it became abundantly clear DVDs weren’t going the way of the Betamax, I became the punch line of more of my husband’s jokes than I care to recall. Harrumph.
As a result, I now make sure I give a good look at anything technological coming down the line. I’ve got a good sense of humor, but I want to avoid giving my hubby any more jokes. 🙂
That includes in my business as well.
In 2006, when I started my business I didn’t even know what a blog was. But by the end of the FIRST DAY I heard of a blog, I had one up. That turned out to be a good move.
In mid-2007 when I heard about this new thing called Twitter, I didn’t understand what it was all about, but I signed up for an account, anyway. Months later after I “got it,” I was tweeting like I owned the Twitterverse, loving it, and made a lot of money from marketing on social media.
In 2009 when it was clear Twitter was going to be at least matched by the former college-party-annoucement site, Facebook, for business, I started spending more time there. That’s also paid off in a big way for me.
I’ve come a long way and now can spot a tech giant in the making based on a number of factors, and the most recent technological advancement I’ve chosen NOT to ignore is live-streaming video.
When Google+ Hangouts on Air started to be a thing, I did a few hangouts, but the technology wasn’t quite there yet to support live-streaming video on a large-scale basis because it relied on Internet speed and bandwidth. Too many people couldn’t participate live properly – heck I’ve even been kicked off my own webinars!
Fast forward to today and what has changed is simply: the iPhone (and all smartphone technology). Don’t ask me about why technologically speaking apps work so much better than the older versions of live-streaming, they just do. If you really want to see some of the whys you can try here or here.
As far as evidence that live streaming is *THE* now big thing that isn’t going anywhere but up, all you have to do is look at what two behemoths jumped on board. At first it was the slick new fancy apps like Periscope and Blab (and formerly Meerkat, which is no longer a player), but now… Facebook Live has become a major player and in the past few days YouTube has announced it will soon be rolling out a new live streaming feature.
Luckily I have smart friends, Jeff Herring and Mike Stewart, who not only get this stuff and use it themselves, but are excellent teachers. If you want to know how to use the new live streaming video, or just want to see a cool demo of it yourself, you can watch it here.
Speaking on video is something I know a bit about – and teach that myself. If you’re stuck on what to SAY on your live streaming videos, here are a few ideas for you:
- Take a section of your Signature Speech™ and share it.
- Answer your most frequently asked questions – one at a time, one per video
- Address a comment, question, or rant you see on social media
- Do a public service announcement about something that will protect your clients or the people in your market from an unsavory character or undesired result
- Offer a glimpse into your daily life
- Make your own rant – to the benefit of your viewers
- Share a tip
- Unveil a myth and explain why it is a myth and what the truth is
- Explain one of the mistakes you see people making and what they can do instead
- Tell a personal story and relate it with a moral related to your business
Whatever you do, don’t ignore this new tool available to you. You wouldn’t want your loved ones making YOU the butt of their jokes, now would you? It’s your turn to laugh – all the way to the bank.
You just delivered your Signature Speech, got off stage and now there’s a line of people waiting to talk to you about what you just shared.
Inevitably, someone will compliment you on some aspect of your speech and you might be tempted to say “thanks but…”
“Thanks, but I really could have delivered the close better.”
“Thanks, but some people seemed pretty zoned out.”
“Thanks, but I felt really off today and to the people who know me, it showed.”
I am personally guilty of all these, which would be how I know what might come to mind. 😉
Now, if you grew up like me, with someone in your life who asked you, “Who do you think you are…,” you may have a difficult time accepting praise. Or if you’re a church-going person, you undoubtedly heard many times in your life that humility and modesty are important traits. You might even feel guilty when someone gives you a compliment that you don’t think you deserve.
So it may feel only natural to deflect a compliment because it feels like the humble thing to do. In some speakers’ minds, the alternative is to imply boastfully, “Yep, you’re right. I rocked it and I know it.”
Yet, here’s why that’s a mistake. When you deflect someone’s compliment, it’s not about YOU. It’s about THEM. It’s like saying to that person, “Thanks, but you don’t know what you’re talking about.” It’s actually hurtful to the person. Now instead of feeling like they did something nice by telling you what they enjoyed about your presentation, your response could lead to them feeling badly.
You didn’t create a connection. You broke it. (ouch)
All that warmth and rapport you spent your Signature Speech building up? It can be gone in an instant.
Here’s what to do instead:
Whether you agree with someone giving you a compliment, remember it’s not about you at all. It’s about THEM. So acknowledge the compliment and then say something about THEM. Here’s what I say,
“Thank you! You are so kind. I appreciate it.”
And end it there. You don’t need to go any further. You get to maintain the connection you worked to create (after all, you never know where your next speech referral is going to come from!), and you didn’t act boastful in any way. In fact, you appear gracious, and that will continue to build the connection you started by being on the stage that day. YAY YOU!
A brand is a simple thing, but because we can’t put our hands on it or hold something tangible up to show what a brand looks like, it’s a bit mysterious. And to the small or solo business owner can feel all too much like a weird waste of time. That unfortunately leads too many people to ignore their brand and go about doing the work of their business.
In fact, there are a number of famous marketing consultants and speakers who will tell you to forget about working on your brand and just figure out what you’re going to do for marketing. I’ve heard some even say something akin to “branding is stupid.”
The funny thing is the same “branding is stupid” people will turn around and have you write every single detail about your ideal customer, determine how you want to position yourself in the marketplace, and make your marketing share a cohesive message about who you are.
Newsflash: that’s branding.
Your brand includes your logo and your website, certainly, but it doesn’t stop there. Here’s how I define your brand:
BRANDING: The perception of you in the marketplace based on the experience of YOU – both personal AND your business – that you provide through all the methods of communication you use including social media, video, email, on webinars, on stage, and face to face in person. It’s what you say, what you do, and how you say it and do it.
While my Mom and Dad were recently visiting, the topic of Facebook came up. Overall, my parents disapprove highly of Facebook and they don’t like how and what I post. They think “it’s too personal.” My husband, also a small business owner, and I tried to explain to them Facebook, for anyone in any kind of business, is about building your brand one post at a time.
Here’s a snapshot of my most recent Facebook posts from yesterday:
What can you learn about me from these posts:
- I like food: Food is one area of commonality among all human beings. We must eat to survive. Food is the great equalizer. HOW I eat and what I eat tells a bit about me and how I live my life. That’s part of the experience of me.
- I’m in business: Social media is about being social, yes. But don’t forget if you are in business, you need to throw in a business post or two once in a while. As you can see, neither of my two business-related posts on this day suggested you go “buy my stuff.” But the message is clear, I have a website, and I’m leading a challenge right now.
- I have a life: I’m wishing a friend and colleague happy birthday and sharing a story about my family and our dog.
Well, from just these 5 Facebook posts on this one day you can learn a lot about me. You can see I use smiley face emoticons and more than my fair share of exclamation points, and post funny, quirky, inspirational, sweet things and often with gratitude, regularly connecting to and directly mentioning others in my posts. Looking back now at those words, that’s pretty much my personal brand summed up.
So when people contact me about working with me, or having me on their stages or podcasts, they don’t ask what it’s like to work with me. They usually only ask, “What kinds of programs do you have and how can I get started?”
I make A LOT of sales to people I am connected with on Facebook and other forms of social media. Why? Many have told me directly it’s because they enjoy the experience of me as much as what I can teach them or help them achieve.
When you are 100% clear on the experience of who you are and what you want people to feel and think and learn ABOUT as much as FROM you, making a sale becomes easy because you’ve already built a relationship with the person – sometimes only in their minds. People will feel like they have gotten to know you, without ever meeting you, or even without ever interacting with you online because you share openly and freely who you are and what you’re about via social media, video, on stage, on webinars, and through your email list.
You’re far from vanilla.
It’s impossible to fade into the background and look like everyone else.
You’re YOU and the only YOU there can ever be.
It’s as close to being magnetic as you can get. Being you is how you attract the kind of people who will love to work with you – and who you love working with.
And that is where the problem comes in because it looks almost mystical. But nothing could be farther from the truth.
When you tap into the experience that is YOU and know how to share that effectively, business (and life!) becomes a lot more fun and profitable.
That’s why I’m teaming up with the fabulous, fun, and quirky Poodle-Wrangler himself, Brian G. Johnson, to bring you a one-time only experience. We’ll be rolling up our collective sleeves and not only sharing with you what we have learned about branding by mastering it ourselves, but how YOU can finally get the hang of this branding thing, too. In fact, you’ll leave the room that day with a renewed sense of who you are and a plan to share your awesomeness with the world so you can get more business by doing the same exact things you’re already doing!
We are calling it a Content, Conversion, and Cash Workshop because what you share about you IS content, and you’ll see how to convert more people into buyers, which gets you more cash. YAY YOU!
It will be an intimate event and there are only a few seats available because we will personally be helping each person in the room. We are holding it in Atlanta the day before the NAMS conference (stands for Novice to Advanced Marketing System), which you should also seriously consider attending if you do any marketing online of any kind.
See more about the Content, Conversion, and Cash Workshop on my site and find a way to be in Atlanta. We can promise some fun, some quirkiness, and some real work getting done for you!
You owe it to yourself and the people you can help to get there. When you get clear on your brand and communicate that effectively, your business will change and life gets a lot more fun in the process.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when preparing any marketing materials, including a Speaker One Sheet, is expecting it to do more than the job it is intended for.
The job of a Speaker One-Sheet (also known as a one-pager), which is a printed or digital marketing tool designed to showcase you as a speaker, is NOT to get you or make you money. Find out what it’s supposed to do for you in this mercifully short, under three minutes video. Then go to www.SpeakerOneSheetTemplates.com to make the job of creating your one-sheet super simple and easy!
One of the biggest myths is that “the holidays” only come once a year.
Maybe that’s true for “The Holidays” – capitalized because if you’re thinking of the big 3 of Thanksgiving – Christmas – New Years (or Thanksgiving – Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Your Holiday of Choice – New Years), you’re right. But when you want to communicate with your people, market your business, serve more people, and make more money, you’ve got an opportunity to use a holiday promotion 365 days a year – and I’m not just talking about Christmas in July sales.
Certainly there are the obvious traditional holidays that people celebrate – Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and such. Plus there are the “mattress company and car dealership” holidays that apparently only mattress retail outlets and car dealerships seem to market around like Veteran’s Day or Columbus Day.
As you peel away the next layer of the holiday promotional onion, you see some organizations marketing around a cause like Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October – heck just about the whole NFL wears pink socks and if that organization isn’t about making money, nothing is!
But then, digging even deeper, you’ll find a different reason to celebrate – and promote your business – every single day of the year! They can be a day, a week, or a whole month. Holidays like these related to my business of speaking, writing, coaching and consulting:
- National Motivation and Inspiration Day: January 2
- Just Say No to PowerPoint Week: February 7-12
- National Be Heard Day: March 7 (instituted by my friend, PR Pro Shannon Cherry)
- National Bookmobile Day: April 13
- National Small Business Week: May 1-7
- Effective Communications Month: June (I’ve celebrated this for many years annually)
- National Talk in an Elevator Day: July 29, last Friday in July, (I may have to do a promo around my Kill the Elevator Speech book!)
- Weird Contest Week: August 8-12
- International People Skills Month: September (I’ve got a weekly show called “Creating Connections” – it’s all about people skills for business and marketing!)
- National Face Your Fears Day, October 11, 2nd Tuesday in October (public speaking anyone?)
- National Entrepreneurship Month: November
- National Thank You Note day: December 26 (in case you don’t have enough other options in December!)
Are your wheels turning yet?
You can visit a site like Brownielocks.com, which looks VERY “homemade in the basement,” but has accurate info plus links to any and all holidays that have websites and organizations attached to them. Find a holiday that’s fun or interesting, or related to what you do and make your plans now.
My friend and colleague, Daniel Hall, and I are teaching a course called Real Fast Holiday Promotions on all the ins and outs of how you can use holiday marketing. Check that out here now to help you bring your ideas to life!
In Part 2, I’ll give you some ideas for how various kinds of businesses can use wild and wacky holiday marketing creatively to create connections with potential customers and clients, nurture those who you already have relationships with, and stand out in the crowd of others who do what you do to make more money and have more fun!
I didn’t have to make a resolution to determine that I want to learn something new every single day. Being a lifelong learner is simply part of my lifestyle. And that got me to thinking about a major ah-ha moment I had this week while listening to my friends and colleagues Jim Edwards and Jeff Herring.
You can watch this webinar on demand (that means right NOW!) and I promise you’ll pick up something new – I did! – (You can hear about my major ah-ha at about the 16:30 mark).
During the webinar, Jim was talking about the importance of CONSISTENCY and something I hadn’t considered before hit me. If you think of marketing your business in terms of how you live your LIFE – anything you’re NOT consistent with isn’t going to work for you.
Think of diet and exercise.
- If you workout sporadically or just once a week, is that going to get you the amazing body you know is under there somewhere?
- If you only eat healthy foods when you feel inspired to, are you going to be in optimal health?
- NO! You HAVE to make exercise and healthy eating part of your lifestyle to get the best possible results.
The same is true with content marketing. You need to make it part of your business lifestyle. That means every day you want to create SOMETHING that can help DRIVE MORE TRAFFIC. It can be:
- An email article you send your subscribers
- A blog post on your own blog (like this!)
- A guest post on someone else’s blog
- A video doing a demo, telling a story, clarifying a point, explaining a detail… whatever
- A webinar – either that you teach or you present
- A speech – that you deliver live or show a video of
- A podcast – either that you run or that you’re a guest on
- A live stream event – either that you run or that you’re a guest on
- Slides that you post online for people to learn from
The list goes on.
But golly that can get time consuming. Even if you’re repurposing your content, which smart marketers do, you still have to create it in the first place.
Enter the CUSTOM CONTENT WIZARD. This tool Jeff and Jim talked about makes creating that content you need to be consistently sharing very EASY. And FAST!
The fact is, your business DOES have a lifestyle of it’s own. But YOU are the one who drives that. Isn’t it time to get your business lifestyle in the BEST possible shape it can be in? Of course it is! Go see what it’s all about at:
BTW There is a special deal going on right now that expires in a couple days, so go see it this weekend while you’re thinking of it.
How I Won The Smoky Mountain Chapter of the Association for Talent Development’s Thrown Down Contest
Moving to a new town can be a challenge.
Moving to a new town after living in the same area for almost all your life can be daunting.
Moving to a new town, and trying to break into the business scene where literally NO ONE knows you could lead to professional suicide.
Sounds like fun! So we gave it a whirl!
In July 2015, my husband and I moved our family of four, plus Sadie the Speaker Dog, away from the frigid, icy, snowy, long winters and terrible taxes in the state of Illinois, to a warmer climate all around in beautiful Knoxville, east Tennessee. I spent most of the summer getting myself and the kids settled and much of the fall getting to know the school, school moms, volunteering for this and that, and focusing on my family. Admittedly, my business was rolling along well on autopilot.
But I knew it was time to get out there and meet some people. Plus, given that for me, 2016 will bring an increased focus on building the corporate training and speaking / communication consulting side of my business, I knew it was time to do what I’d been coaching my clients, webinar students, and readers to do for years: join an association where your people are hanging out.
As a trainer, for me that meant checking out the local chapter Association for Talent Development (ATD – formerly ASTD, the American Society for Training and Development).
Happily, there is a Knoxville chapter called the Smoky Mountain Chapter, and they have a website with info about upcoming meetings. While looking over the site, I noticed an announcement for their second annual December Trainer Throw Down speech contest. The application deadline was soon approaching.
They had me at “speech contest.” I was in.
So… A Contest for The New Kid in Town
The topic was engagement. I speak regularly about audience and reader engagement, so the topic was right up my alley. Having grown up in high school as a competitive speaker and then being recruited for Bradley University’s Speech Team, THE most winning collegiate team in ANYTHING in the country, I am no stranger to competing on stage. Well, at least I wasn’t 25 years ago… gulp. However, given the time limit for the Throw Down was 10 minutes, I took that as a sign I should go for it because that was our time limit when competing in college.
Plus, even if I lost – remember, I’d never been to even one of their meetings to know what these people were all about – they could well have been national champ team speakers, too – but I figured after getting up there everyone would at least know who I was and get a taste of what I can do on stage, and that was my whole goal. The BEST way to meet a room full of people is always to be the speaker.
Right away I knew I wanted to talk about engaging an audience using all five senses. Beyond that, I wasn’t sure what I’d do, so I let the holidays, family life, and regular business stuff occupy the front of my mind while the topic of engagement percolated in the back of my brain and I waited for inspiration.
Suddenly I found myself at the day before the event and knew I had to get my thoughts, well-percolated now, into some
form for a presentation.
At first I was stuck staring at the cursor. Then after praying for what to do, it hit me: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas!
It was perfect because I could write a stanza about each of the 5 senses. Then I created a handout, pictured here. I used one of my speaker one-sheet templates to make that job go super fast and in a couple hours I had my original poem written, my handout done and ordered from Staples, and was in bed sleeping soundly.
Here is that winning poem. One thing to keep in mind – I wrote it SPECIFICALLY for this ONE occasion and for the people in that room. If I were to deliver this again, I’d make a few alterations, but it did the job. I won!
‘Twas the week before Christmas when all through this place
The trainers were training and throwing down with great grace.
There’s a new coach in town, Felicia Slattery by name
With hopes that the prize might be hers to claim.
The theme was engagement,
The stage was all set,
To see who would win and the glory to get.
So curl up by the fire and lend me your ear
And discover how the people can learn what you want them to hear.
Now the first thing to do, to develop the staff
Is to keep their attention and make them to laugh or
To think or to learn or to change or to grow
So they can become even better, and your lessons then know.
But you compete with their email, their bosses, their lives
What’s a trainer to do not to break out in hives?
It all starts with 5 senses
Taste, touch, sound, sight, smell
It may seem quite odd, but heed this tale well
First, when thinking of sight, shake things up just a bit,
Plan to surprise, to delight. It’s not hard, if you commit.
No need to be dressed all in fur from your head to your toe,
But put on a hat, use some props, try out a fun slide, make it a show.
Multimedia’s a way – and yes even today.
Give them something unexpected to look at, creative to see
And they’ll keep watching you and your training with glee.
Next you have sound, no you don’t have to sing,
But how about a toy that makes a sound like [ka ching].
More rapid than eagles, your students will learn
To hear their own names, for that sound they do yearn:
Now Cindy, now AJ, now Allen, now Ron
Go Amanda, go Yvonne, go Beverly, go John
To the top of the mind, to the top of the brain
Let’s move on to taste while you eat this sweet cane.
Taste might seem tricky, but learning has flavor
When you provide your people something to savor
The hippocampus of the brain an experience does produce
That engages the mind which of course is quite good, or so you’d deduce.
New research last month proves there is a connection
The brain registers taste not the tongue on inspection
That means the brain is engaged when it’s eating a food
And enjoying a treat also lightens the mood.
Next onto smell: attention, learning and memory improve with a sniff
Years ago they learned oils of lemon and rosemary took just a whiff
Pre tests and post tests and t tests did show
That details learned with scent in the brain could be stowed
And touch is so easy, let them pick up and feel anything
That you teach. It makes the learning more real.
To create a connection and build some rapport
Shake a hand, pat a back, give hive fives and you’ll score.
But touch can be inside, an emotion it’s true
Engage with a story and watch memory improve.
For trainers and teachers and students galore
Remember: enlist all 5 senses for trainees to learn more
So before this tale ends, I humbly ask for your vote
I stayed up half the night to write what I wrote.
If your mind didn’t wander and your attention I did keep
You can see how anyone here could make learning so deep.
It’s not the gift card, or the glory
No, we all win with engagement and telling a great story.
Its service from the stage, Taking care of the folks
Be sincere, be real, be yourself, tell some jokes.
As I end this, I wish all contestants good luck.
You amaze me, and I feel a certain awestruck.
And now I exclaim, as I head back to the buffet
Happy training to all, and to all a good day!
With each one of the stanzas related to a different sense, I used a different prop of some kind – all pictured here. I downloaded a video of a crackling fire and put that up on the screen in place of a slideshow to set the scene and incorporate sound and sight. I wore a Santa hat, and dragged my prop table to be next to the Christmas tree in the front of the room, which the restaurant had so graciously placed there not even knowing I’d be able to use it! And then I enlisted help from a college student to pass out candy canes when I talked about the sense of taste. Each of the props I used I pulled from a Christmas stocking. It all went great!
I won by just two points, but a win is a win! What did I win?
- $100 Visa Gift Card
- Bragging rights forever that I am the 2015 Throw Down Trainer Champ
- Ability to promote that at the national ATD meeting in the spring of 2016
- Ability to send press releases stating that I’d won
- Invitations from people at the event who saw me present to speak to two groups (so far)
- Confidence that I can still compete with some of the best, most experienced and well-known folks in any room
What a relief. Want to see the presentation? Video is coming soon!
**UPDATE: Here’s the video. It’s not professional so it’s rough for the first few seconds and a couple spots in the middle, but I think you’ll be able to handle it 😉
It’s the time of year when people begin to evaluate their systems and services to determine if they want to make any changes, improvements, or upgrades. Last year around this time, I did my own exhaustive search for a scheduling and calendar service.
Since I made that change, rarely a week goes by that someone doesn’t mention how “slick” or “awesome” they think my system is. So I thought I’d share what I’m using and the process by which I determined what is right for me. Maybe it’ll save you hours of research.
The reason I made a switch was because the service I’d used for several years, Time Trade, changed their interface at some point in the previous year. That change made it difficult for my clients and colleagues to actually complete their chosen appointment because it looked to the person that they had selected a time, but on the last page, there was a “confirm” button that often appeared “below the fold” of the website (meaning appointment-makers would have to scroll down the page to see it). That led to people calling me when I didn’t know there was an appointment – because the automation only happened if they completed the process by clicking the confirmation button. That happened enough times I couldn’t risk it any more.
Then when people DID make their appointment, it only sent one confirmation but had no option for reminders. I also did not like that.
So I did the same thing you may have done, asked my smart friends on social media what they use. I gathered all the suggestions and spent many hours checking into every one of them. Then I narrowed it down and spent a couple days looking closely at each, asking questions to people in the know, even calling the sales offices of several.
Here were my requirements:
- Had to sync automatically with my Google calendar
- Had to have the ability to send multiple reminders
- Had to be able to have multiple meeting types (for example I have 4-hour Virtual VIP Days, 1-hour client sessions, 30-minute meetings with potential clients, affiliates and JV partners, etc.)
- Had to be EASY to use on my end in setting it up and on my clients’ end to set up an appointment
- Cost has to be $100 or less per year
The Contenders (And Losers)
Every single one of the services I checked came from the recommendation of people I trust (that was the first hurdle). Based on the above criteria, following are the options I looked into, in alphabetical order, with the price I would pay for my business’ needs (the service may have other rates higher and lower, but I was only comparing pricing on what I would need, not the company’s pricing strategy overall!) and the reasons why I didn’t select them. Here’s the breakdown for you:
Acuity Scheduling: ($10/month = $120/year) This was a close second because it met most of my criteria, but in the end, there was just too much “stuff” to contend with and it didn’t meet the “easy” factor.
Appointment.com: ($8.25/ month = $99/ year) I couldn’t even find the information on their website that I needed to determine if this was going to be a good fit. Obviously that couldn’t be the winner.
Genbook: ($20/month = $240/year) FAR too confusing with nowhere near enough information offered to help me make a decision. Plus the price was more than double my budget.
Hitappoint: ($89/year) Not easy and there was no information on if it would sync with my Google calendar.
Schedule Once: ($49/month = $588/year) Even though it ticked most of the boxes I needed (except the easy one again), at $49/month for the package that met my purposes, there’s no way I was going there.
Schedulicity: ($20/month = $240/year) double the budget and still couldn’t tell if it’d sync with my Google calendar made this one easy to pass by.
Setmore: ($25/month = $300/year) this ticked every box except the price. I loved how easy it was to use and it did everything I wanted (and more), but I found another option for a third of the cost. Mind you, I have no problem paying for business services I need and like, but if I can get a similar service that meets my needs and I also like that can save me money, I’d be foolhardy not to.
TimeTrade: ($49/year) This is the system I had been using and wasn’t happy with, but because so many people recommended it and I already knew the interface, I checked to see if there was an upgrade available or if there was another option that met my needs. There wasn’t.
The Winner: Calendly – Weird Name. Great service.
In the end I chose Calendly which has a weird name, but the service is excellent. I can login with my Google credentials and it easily syncs everything up nicely. I have about 8 different types of meetings with various lengths of time and follow-up/reminder messages and can keep on going. They also automatically create a custom URL for my meetings, which is a nice feature you might be interested in, but I make all mine into redirects that I can more easily remember, because I’ve been using many for years. And the price at $8/month can’t be beat with all the bells and whistles. I love it.
Are you searching for a new appointment scheduler online? Give Calendly a try. Go ahead and set an appointment with me if you want to see how it looks (and if you actually want to talk to me!) Go to http://FeliciaSlattery.com/meeting to choose your time now and check out how cool Calendly is to use!
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