Ahh, yes, the appointment book has long been an essential key performance indicator to the success of every aesthetician. How full is it? How far in advance is it booked up?
You want to hit the right percentages or fear a hit in the pocketbook.
When I interviewed aestheticians about what their ideal appointment books look like versus what they actually look like I was admittedly saddened. For me, maintaining control of my appointment book has always been a huge factor in success. The reality is that if you don't manage your appointment book, it will manage you. It is additionally vital because otherwise it will also impose an income ceiling because you get fixated on ‘filling the gaps,' which we will talk more about shortly.
I am sure you have scratched your head with thoughts on how you can expand the hours in your day without exhausting yourself—to fit one more person in and bank just a hundred or two more.
I'm here to tell you that is precisely what you should not do. Learn to say no. Instead, master the art of carving out more time for yourself. This is the path to get beyond the appointment book income ceiling.
Here are my five viewpoints on the appointment book. Especially if you are a clinic owner. If you are not, read these anyway because you will want to wire your brain this way to manage your schedule better.
- Every day needs to start with time for planning. There's a good quote by Benjamin Franklin that sums this idea up, "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail." Set your intention for the day by blocking time for a little bit of planning. It can be as little as 15-30 mins. The first thing to do is review your schedule. Assess who is coming in, what their needs are and therefore what your opportunities are. You will know this by looking at their history. What treatments have they had, what products have they purchased, and what will they need today. Take a few minutes to have a look at the product shelf and figure out what you do and don’t have in stock. Now go set up your appointment room and you are ready for a killer day!
- Especially if you are a clinic owner, BLOCK OFF the gaps in your appointment book! That's, right. Don't take walk-in clients or last-minute appointments, instead take the time and block it off to work on your business instead. Fill these gaps with things that you procrastinate on, like getting paperwork ready for your bookkeeper. The trick is to decide in the morning prep what you will do in those time slots and actually do it. For the record, I find it even better if your whole team does this. It really gets the to-do list done, and that is the stuff that primarily creates stress!
- Block bookings—that means that if the first appointment booked at 2pm, the primary goal is to reserve the rest of the schedule AFTER that… until 5 pm for example when you close. Only open the morning for appointments when the afternoon is filled. Why? You and I both know you're getting nothing done in a 30-minute gap (unless you actually follow tip 2). However, if you had a morning open, you might hit the ‘office work’ hard and with focus. You might even decide to go to the gym or something more fun but self-care orientated. I highly recommend the latter.
- If one of your goals is to change the services, you’ll want to see your appointment book ‘mask’ blocks of time off and ONLY book the services you desire in those blocks. If you don’t make space for that which you desire, it will be filled with the same things you are doing now.
- Make a ‘perfect day replica’ and know what you want your appointment book to look like for that to happen! It is very powerful in reminding you where you want to go.
Once you set these tips in motion stick to it. Don’t offer ‘mask’ times for waxing if you masked it for facials. I also don't believe that your perfect client will push you to do things that are a real inconvenience with no return! You know the client that insists you come in early to squeeze her in? She ends up not showing anyway—really look at the dollar value of that client, she is not in your top 10 either. So, if you say yes, do so because you want to, not because you feel you should.
I hear you saying; how can you say that? Are we not in this industry to serve? Yes! People who work in service of others typically find it hard to say no even at their own detriment. I will challenge this statement and say that you are not serving the REST of your beautiful clients at the highest level either when you allow one to take ‘advantage.' So, if you are saying yes to such a request, make sure it is a full-hearted yes, not one that will leave you slightly p****d off.
So, here is what my ‘perfect day replica’ looks like: (I will preface that I LOVE and I guard my Advanced Skin Analysis appointments, and they are masked as described in step 4 above. I know that when I accomplish this perfect day I generate business for an entire team for 12 months with those analyses).
8:30 AM – REVIEW and PREP time
9:00 AM – Advanced Skin Analysis
10:30 AM – Medi-Facial
12:00 PM – LUNCH
12:30 PM – Advanced Skin Analysis
2:00 PM – Collagen Induction Therapy
3:30 PM – Medi-Facial
5:00 PM – HOME TIME
I hope this inspires you to move your appointment book in the direction you desire. If you are a clinic owner, you are likely to have one or two fewer appointments and have business development tasks in its place.
To your incredible success in this world!