Eeek! I’ve got all these things I have to get done this week and I just don’t know where to start to make a dent! I am behind on my quota and not quite sure where to go or what to do to hit my numbers for the year/month/week. Sound familiar? Let’s talk prioritization…
This is actually an area I find the most challenging. Typically we gravitate towards those activities we are the most comfortable doing and procrastinate on those we are less comfortable with. Most sales professionals have their favorite activities and these are those that get done consistently, I like many sales people, hate reports. I will procrastinate with the best of them to avoid filing out my own sales projections, invoice requests or following up with that billing issue. “The new phone book has arrived, I bet there are businesses I haven’t contacted yet, I have to get my prospecting calls in” is my mantra when it is time for bi-monthly billing. And then I have that Midwestern work ethic fulfillment from prospecting (my favorite activity). We all deal with this issue, just in different areas and some better than others.
Let’s talk through developing your priorities for sales.
- Who has already engaged you? What have you sold that you are responsible for delivering on those commitments. Take care of those who are committed to you because of you. Remember your prospects bought because of your ability to prove to them you were the solution to their issues. Deliver.
- What have you committed to? Many sales people fail to follow through on their commitments. This is not because we have bad intentions-we just overcommit and then drop things through the cracks of our day. When you find an opportunity with a prospect, don’t try to gather all of your e-mails into one time block, just make a call or send an e-mail requesting a meeting right now. It takes less than 2 minutes if you have the information in front of you, and a lifetime of procrastination if you don’t. So do it now. Use your planner, pda or whatever system to organize your activities for the day. One top sales professional I interviewed spends 2 hours every Sunday evening planning her week. She then organizes her activities each day based on her weekly plan and any adaptations of her plan.
- What is your daily activity plan? Map out what an ideal day looks like for you. So much time devoted to new prospecting activity, so much time devoted to follow up with existing prospects, and prospecting activity received a very high priority if you are in sales production mode. Identify your high pay-off activities and devote consistent time each and every day to a measurable portion of that activity. This means you schedule time each week that you block off for that activity and it is not penciled over if your dog needs picked up from the groomers. (And yes I have heard that excuse!)
- Use pay time for pay time activities. This means you schedule sales activities when you have sales time with your prospects. If you do in-home sales and your prospects are available in the evenings after work, schedule your day from 12-8. I do not recommend more hours make Jack a better salesman, but smarter hours make Jill more effective when she is in front of an opportunity. So be smart with your schedule. If you have to do ‘administrivia’ as my client calls it, do it on off peak sales time.
Take time for you. As mentioned earlier, exhaustion is not conducive to a productive sales effort and is actually counter-productive. When talking with great producers they work hard when they work and when they play, they stop work and play hard. So turn off your cell phone, stop checking e-mail on your day off and determine what takes priority during that time. Your first customers are your supporters-spouses or significant others, children parents, etc. And remember there are not many headstones which read-“Here lies_________she wished she spent more time at work”
Have a wonderful day, and I wish you Good Selling!