Sometime ago now I had a client come to me that had extraordinary potential – established in the marketplace, new the business, and had already been pretty successful. Unfortunately, with the success he had lost control of his life. Constant firefighting, and spending each day being totally reactive had made the future not look as great as the present.
If that sounds like you, you are not alone. In sales and sales management we are often caught, how to do we do what we need to do when everyone else needs something as well? We find that the most productive part of our day is before everyone gets to the office and phone starts ringing. There are a few things we can do to make sure we stay in control and move our businesses forward, not just help everyone else throughout the day.
1. Zero-Based Calendar – some may have heard of the zero-based budget. That is spending every dollar of income for the month ON PAPER before the month begins. Just like a budget can tell your money where to go, a zero-based calendar tells time how it is spent. Fill your calendar everyday. Put in lunch, travel, and if you are in sales, prospecting time must be calendared. If you have a To-do list, put “To-do List” time in your calendar. Put react the unknown in your calendar, this puts firefighting time in your calendar, which will then allow you to do number 2…
2. Say NO. Realize that not everything is as urgent as we (or others) believe it to be. In our world today, we expect everything NOW. And that just isn’t possible, or the most productive use of our time. At Sandler, we use a tool called Up Front Contracts. I suggest using this tool to let people know that when they come to you with an issue, you have the right to say no to helping right then, and are they ok with that?
3. One of the very best Sandler Rules is, “Stay on the right side of the trouble line”. The trouble line is the line between “Pay Time”- when you can reach prospects and customers- and “No Pay Time” - when you can’t do those activities. We have to aware of doing “No Pay Time” activities during “Pay Time”. For instance, I am writing this at 10pm on a Saturday night (exciting, I know), certainly not during “Pay Time”.
The salesperson mentioned earlier in this blog saw an amazing thing happen when they implemented a few strategies... more time showed up! That time allowed them to prospect new business, develop better strategic partnerships, and still make it to sessions at our office regularly. Remember – control your calendar, control your life!