Dwell time is the true goal

Calendar Density is Great – “Dwell Time” is the True Goal

You’re getting the meetings – but are you keeping the attention?

“Never dump the whole roast on the platter” – a piece of advice from a 1930s Chicago exotic dancer recounted by Chicagoan David Bodanis, author of The Art of Fairness. Whether you’re a dancer or a business developer, getting the first meeting isn’t enough: you need to find a way to sustain interest in the longer term. You need “dwell time”.

Calendar density drives engagement

If you’re fundraising, or if you’re on a drive to sign up early customers, you may be focusing on Calendar Density, a concept popularised by Jason Yeh, founder of Adamant. This is a fantastic way to ensure that your key prospects are aware of how in-demand you are, and to ensure that your learning rate is maximised.

But what sustains engagement?

In our rush to “get to yes”, we often try to convey all the critical information as fast as we can. We want to leave people in no doubt that they want to buy from us or invest in us. The demo day pitch is the ultimate expression of this dynamic. We create a brief bravura performance which ends with a “come and find me if you want to invest…”

But for consequential decisions like investment or B2B procurement, calendar density and bravura performances aren’t enough. We need forms of engagement that last beyond the pitch and the first one-to-one meeting with each prospect.

Dwell time

The question we really want an answer to, of course, is “will you invest” or “will you buy”. But that is a difficult decision and it’s hard to remain engaged with all the relevant information over time.

So a winning move is to introduce a much simpler means of sustaining engagement which sustains the relationship. Rather than resolving to invest or buy from you, leave them with a reason to remain in touch with you about a simpler topic. And leave them wanting to find out more. That’s dwell time.

Keep it simple and incomplete – then it’s memorable

During dwell time, your prospect is not wrestling with the “how” and the “what” of what you are doing, but instead engaging with the “why”. By the time they are ready to make the more difficult decision, they will have established alignment with you on values and purpose, and they will have seen social proof of your capabilities and value.

Whether you’re exotic dancing, selling or fundraising

It’s so often what is left unrevealed that has the most power. Rather than trying to convey all the information you have and hope that your prospect can digest it all and be won over right away, aim for dwell time. Leave them wondering what comes next, and enjoying a simple way to engage with your values well before they determine whether they share your detailed views about tech stack and hiring policies.

Prize programmes deliver exactly this. They enable you to involve your prospects – investors and customers – with a simple values-aligning and long-running engagement. Like calendar density they send strong signals of your centrality to your market, and they are very cost effective. With calendar density and dwell time you can win attention and keep it.

Dwell time