“Win the day by noon”.
I love that expression and I’ve found great happiness in trying to implement it. There’s something really great about having lunch and knowing the day is already a good one. It certainly does not happen every day, but it’s a great goal to strive for.
I take my exercise primarily in the form of running. I’ve found the only way I can consistently run is to do it first thing in the morning. If I leave it any later in the day, something inevitably comes up. Then it gets pushed later and later and eventually does not happen.
In most sales jobs, prospecting is the key to success. But prospecting is not easy (per Vengreso 73% of sales people say it’s the hardest part of selling). It’s like running. It’s really great for our long term success as sales people, in fact in most sales roles essential, but it’s also easy to procrastinate about doing it.
Put prospecting off long enough during your day and other things will come up and it won’t happen. Put it off for enough days and days will turn into weeks and before long you will have any empty sales pipeline.
I’m a fan of The One Thing. One of the central concepts of the book is “time blocking”.
The book was written by Gary Keller, who also happens to own one of the largest realtor companies in the world (Keller Williams.) Every time the team at the One Thing talk about applying time blocking to the realtors at Keller Williams they say the key activity is prospecting–and so it is for most sales people. You need to “time block” your prospecting.
“Time blocking” for sales people means putting your prospecting time in your calendar as if it was a meeting, then “defending” that time from other tasks and other meetings that come up. You need to treat your prospecting time like a client meeting. When others come to you asking for your time and it overlaps with your prospecting time on the calendar, tell them “sorry, I have a meeting then. Let’s find another time.”
What you will find is that in 80-90% of the cases others will be OK scheduling around your time blocks. There are only a few cases per week where you will need to schedule over your time blocks–when it’s politically necessary (meeting with your boss/CEO etc.).
For most people, you want to put your prospecting time block in the morning, probably very nearly the first thing you do. Most people’s energy is highest in the morning and drains away over the day. You want to apply your highest energy (and focus) to your most important task.
These days I see prospecting as a “blended” activity, using multimedia channels: phone, email, social media, old-fashioned letters and note cards etc. Depending on the day and the status of your sales “motions” to get into an account/contact, your prospecting time could be focused on any one or a combination of calling, emailing, posting on social media or writing letters or cards.
But whatever your prospecting activity looks like for that day execute it with energy and focus for at least an hour per day and don’t let anything else interfere. You may not notice it immediately, but in the long run if you prospect consistently every day, you will likely end up being one of the top sales people in your company, if not your industry.
Many bosses and senior managers don’t really understand that much about what sales people do. Some of it just seems like “magic”. The more I investigate it, the more I think the key “magic” sales people do is prospecting. Make sure you dedicate time to do your “magic”. In the long run your results will make you seem like a sales wizard.