Having coached thousands of producers, I have noticed that 20 minutes a day, spent in the following way, will increase sales productivity by at least 20%:
- At the beginning of the day, do nothing for 10 minutes other than plan your day. Pick two or three items to accomplish that would make you feel the day was productive. Do not add more to your list.
- Insure that you will accomplish your items by you being the boss of your day. I have observed that for most producers, other people and things are “the boss” that control the producer’s time. For example, the client who calls with a service problem, the car repair shop who calls about maintenance that’s due, the papers on the desk that call for attention, the Wall Street Journal that calls to be read, etc.—these are all attempting to dominate you and be your boss. Either you are the sole boss or everyone and everything in the universe will be your boss and consume your time.
You retain control by not answering the phone. Either have an assistant answer incoming calls or have your voice mail answer the phone. Stop falsely believing that a ringing phone is a sales opportunity. The truth is that 90% of incoming calls are time wasters and one-way communication that can be handled by voice mail. You return the calls on your time when it’s best for you. No more allowing everyone to interrupt you.
By the way, notice that most telephone communication is one-way. Someone calls to give you information or you call to give them information. No conversation is required. Yet, so many producers play a day-long game of phone tag because they do not make the distinction between one–way and two-way communication. Train people that call you to leave complete messages that you will not need to return, with this voice mail message: “Hi, this is Bob Smith. In addition to leaving your name and number, please leave a very detailed message on how I may assist you or leave the information you have for me. In addition, please leave your email address and fax number, so if you need any documents, I can get those to you right away.” This simple message will eliminate 70% of your return calls.
Clients or prospects making some request or demand today will need to wait because your priority is the completion of items on your list for that day. Their needs that occur today will be added to tomorrow’s list. By the way, maintaining a list means that you MUST have a daily planner or personal digital assistant (e.g. Palm Pilot) with both your work and personal schedule and to-do items recorded. I am still amazed at how many professionals make notes on small slips of paper or post-its and do not have a daily planner system. If you have been using the slip-of-paper system, please cease that today and get a daily planner system.
- Before each appointment, take 5 minutes and design what will occur. Think about the prospect. What motivates him? What are his biases, likes and dislikes? See these through his eyes. Imagine you are him—what are his concerns, uncertainties and hesitancies? Now picture that you assuage these issues and he decides to do business with you. If you run this mental scenario before every sales presentation, you will close more often. The problem is, most producers poorly schedule their day and need to rush to get to a sales appointment. In order to have the five minutes needed for the visualization exercise described, requires that you have your day planned and avoid interruptions, as described above.
Last, if you have not computerized your client and prospect
list, hire someone to do this. Just give them the information
and have them record it all in ACT! or Goldmine or any
popular contact management program will work. Pay someone
to show you how to use the software. This alone will save
you 30 minutes daily and produce more effective time for