Build a fortress around your prospecting time.
If you want to be a top sales person, this may be the single most important piece of advice I can give you.
In my last post I was talking about goals. You need goals to know where you want to go. You need goals for this week to know where you want to be at the end of this month. You need monthly goals to know where you want to be at the end of the year. And yearly goals to have a life you are happy with.
Blocking out time on your calendar is where the rubber hits the road.
If you have set up a goal for this week, say in sales it might be contacting 100 prospects, you need to block out time on your calendar to make these calls/emails. So you may need to contact 20 new prospects per day, every day this week. Simple…
Well actually probably not that simple. The problem is other people and stuff you have to do. There’s various research on this subject with McKinsey saying “non-selling activities still consume two-thirds of the average sales team’s time”.
You need to get prospecting time on your calendar before other people start asking you to do other things. Treat this time as a meeting that you must attend. Think of it this way, if you skip enough of these meetings (with yourself) you are going to lose your sales job soon enough. No prospecting, no pipeline, no job. Not rocket science!
Once you’ve got your prospecting time on your calendar expect life to test you. Expect people to ask for meetings during your prospecting time. Expect some of these requests to be “urgent”. Expect some of these requests to be from your clients. Expect some of these requests to be from your boss.
Now it’s decision time. You have to decide when it’s worth opening the “portcullis” to your time fortress and letting these requests in instead of spending this time prospecting. My advice: be very wary. Most of these requests should not supersede your prospecting time. Even though they will claim to be urgent, are they really more important than your prospecting? In most sales jobs the answer is “no” because, no prospecting, no pipeline, no job.
Once you have qualified leads it’s not that hard to close them. When you have no qualified leads, you are unlikely to survive in your current sales gig. Guard your prospecting time like the crown jewels, build a fortress around it.