Want to get a customer on the phone? Don’t ask when he’s free.

When I found out the key to converting them is to get free trial subscribers on the phone... I started asking every sign up when they’re free to get on a call with me.

In my mind, by asking when they’re free, I’m saying,

I respect your time. I’m willing to get on the phone anytime it's convenient for you.

It didn't work. Few people took me up on it :(

I thought it was because they didn’t want to to get on a call with me. Maybe they hate me or something.

But recently, I signed up for a few apps and got these emails asking when I’m free…

Nope, don't have any time available next week

I signed up because I’m interested. I want to test if these apps can make my life better…

But did I schedule a call with them? Nope.

I deleted the emails. Why? Well, I wanted to get on a call with them… But not enough to engage in a back and forth over scheduling.

I realized why when a few friends and I were trying to figure out where to eat.

"Where do you want to eat?" and questions people hate to answer

Someone started the conversation by asking, "Where do you want to eat?"

I found myself cringing. I predicted what will happen…

Each of us will look blankly at each other. We’ll take turns saying, "I don’t know. Where do you want to eat?"

“I’m okay with anywhere."

This will go on for a few minutes… It's very frustrating. Everyone thinks he’s being generous by leaving all options open…

But the reality, I realized, is that people hate the, “Where do you want to eat?” question.

By asking this open-ended question, you're giving a person an infinite number of choices. And people want choice, but not too much.

In fact, science supports this:

A large array of options discourages customers because it forces an increase in the effort that goes into making a decision. So consumers decide not to decide. -- Derek Sivers' notes on The Paradox of Choice

It’s the same with scheduling — your customers hate getting the “When are you free?” question.

If you want to help someone decide, limit his choices.

“I’m game for Chinese or Japanese,” someone finally says.

Then, the wheels turn.

Someone responds, “What about X or Y?”

“Yeah, Y sounds like a good idea.”

Because we were given Chinese or Japanese to think about, our friend helped us think of specific restaurants we want. And if we don't want Asian? Well, at least he helped us realized that. We can even say, "Let's go with Italian instead."

Give customers specific times and let them self-schedule

This is, of course, the same with scheduling.

By taking the time to decide upfront when you are free, you can give your customers options... Alleviating him of the burden of unlimited choice.

Your customers are busy and overwhelmed. If you think you’re being generous and considerate when you ask them when they are free, you’re not.

They'll decide not to decide when they're free. In other words, they'll gnore you.

You want them to give you their time and attention? Prove it. Don’t make it hard on them.

If you want to get your customers on an onboarding call, let them self-schedule one with you.


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