Ever drive home and say to yourself, “Wow I was busy today. But was I doing the right stuff? I had a ‘to do’ list including a plan to make 20 new prospect calls, but at the end of the day, I got sidetracked by a lot of things, and didn’t make much of a dent in my list. There are always so many emails to return, proposals to work on, internal paperwork, meetings, etc. There’s just not enough time to work on growing my pipeline. Oh well… there’s always tomorrow.”
If you feel like this, and your days are getting away from you, you have a choice. David Sandler said, “You can be part of your own plan or someone else’s”. If you are constantly in reactive mode and allowing your days to go by without following your own plan then you're likely not fulfilling your potential in your sales career or in your life. Tired of feeling that way? You can never get time back, so make a decision today to do something about it.
Fulfilling your plan comes down to prioritizing what you can and cannot make time for. Before we can talk about what you might start saying “no” to, let’s talk about what you should be saying “yes” to.
Research shows that elite salespeople (top 7%) spend 30% of their time doing account management and administrative work, and 70% of their time selling and prospecting. All other salespeople are doing the reverse, only 20-30% of their time selling and 70% in account management and administrative work.
You have to make big changes to make this shift and it starts with shifting your mindset. First put in place everything you should be saying “yes” to. The things that will help you meet your goals:
- Prospecting time
- Prospect Appointments
- Client meetings
- Personal time
First fill your “Jar” (Available Time) with your “Rocks” (Important Activity). If you intend to say yes to these important tasks then make time for them. Work backwards from your goals to create an activity list that is designed to meet your objectives. Then time block these activities on your calendar every week. From there all of the “pebbles” can fill in around the rocks: Email, Internal meetings, returning calls, reading LinkedIn articles, etc.
You’ll be surprised how you are better able to say “no” to things that aren’t contributing to you hitting your goals. And some of those internal meetings will just happen without you because you’re out selling, and the place will still be standing when you get back.
What will you also have an easier time saying “no” to?
- Chasing unqualified prospects
- Having “coffees” with everyone you meet at networking events, without a clear plan for turning these into business
- Over-researching prospect lists to the point that you never pick up the phone (In Sandler we call this the serious condition of “Call Reluctance”)
- Over-servicing clients because that’s more fun than looking for new ones
A couple of tips on time blocking your calendar:
- Color Code of green for prospect appointments: Green for Money!
- Color Code of yellow for “Hold for Prospect appointment”: This will remind you and others that you are planning to fill this slot then turn them green when you set an appointment.
Then when you go to set up an appointment you can legitimately say “I have an open slot next Tuesday at 3:00”, like a doctor's office. Time block your prospecting time as well, and treat this as important as an appointment. Your future self will thank you. Remember. . . discipline now equals freedom in the future. Work your own plan.
Let us know if we can help you with accountability.