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  • The Two Biggest Scheduling Mistakes That Ruin Productivity – Part 2

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

    In my last post we talked about my client who was struggling with productivity and as a result, his sales were suffering. After analyzing his schedule I discovered that he was making two very common scheduling mistakes that were ruining his productivity. In the first blog, we covered his first mistake; his schedule wasn’t ‘real’.

    kbarrow

    In this post, we are going to talk about his second big mistake.

    He wasn’t setting aside time for ramping up or ramping down.

    Our brains like to do as little thinking as possible. When we make our brains do a lot of heavy thinking all day long, we find that we are typically EXHAUSTED at the end of every day.

    Ramp-up time is an amazing cure for exhaustion! It will also help you to come across as a well prepared professional.

    What is Ramp-up time?

    It is 30 minutes to an hour that you SCHEDULE into the beginning of your day. (I typically do my Ramp-up time beginning at 7 or 7:30 AM). During this time, you look at the appointments you have for the day and prepare for them mentally and physically.

    ♦ Prospecting time set?

    • Then you prepare the list of everyone you will call for the day (PERK if you go ahead and put them in the order that you would like to call them)

    ♦ Look at your appointments

    • Prepare any information you will need to have with you. Review your notes from the last meeting so you can plan out any information that will need to be top of mind.
    • Think of any questions you need answered and plan how you would like the end of the meeting to go.
    • Is there anyone who needs to be included or updated about this meeting?
    • Is there information that you still need from someone else in order to be prepared for this meeting?

    As a Coach, what I typically see instead are a lot of sales people and leaders who are running from event to event. They aren’t prepared because they haven’t taken the time to thoroughly think through their day. This can result in our prospects and team members thinking we don’t care about them or their business and we don’t truly know what we are doing.

    Are you wondering why your prospects/clients aren’t calling you back? Are you wondering why people are canceling meetings on you? Are you wondering why you lost a big deal that you thought was in the bag? Can you look back and know that you have been fully prepared and thus fully present for these people? Everyone wants to feel important. Are you showing your people that they are important by being completely prepared?

    What is Ramp-down time?

    It is the 30 minutes you take to clear off your ‘to-do’ list before you head out the door.

    ♦  During the day, when someone is trying to distract me, then I do 1 of 3 things:

    •  Start an email to the appropriate person and enter enough in the subject line so that I will remember what I wanted to email          them about. Hit ‘save’ and then minimize it
    • Jot down a note on my daily ‘to-do’ list
    • If it is something that I want to remember to discuss with someone who I have an appointment with on my Outlook calendar or cover/discuss at a meeting that is coming up in my Outlook calendar, then I open a calendar appointment NEXT to the appropriate appointment and make a note of what I want to remember to cover/discuss, hit save and close it. Now, when I am doing my ramp-up time, it will be easy for me to remember anything important for those meetings.

    ♦  For Ramp-down time, at the end of the day, I:

    • Open up my minimized emails one at a time, finish the email and send it
    • Handle what can be immediately handled off of my ‘to-do’ list
    • Anything that can’t be handled immediately, then I will find a place in my Outlook schedule when I will handle it, create a calendar appointment for it, save and close. (As my business Partner Sales Coach Dew likes to say, if it isn’t important enough to be in your calendar, then it isn’t important enough to do.

    Once your mind is prepared through Ramp-up time and cleared through Ramp-down time, you are equipped to handle your day and whatever it may throw at you. You are giving your brain a break because it isn’t working so hard to stay in ‘reaction’ mode all day. This means at the end of the day you are energized and ready to be present with your family and friends, thus enjoying your life a whole lot more.

    Don’t forget to go back and read about mistake number one if you haven’t already. Then try applying these two solutions to your schedule every week and let me know what kind of a difference it makes for you!

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate


  • The Two Biggest Scheduling Mistakes That Ruin Productivity – Part 1

    Guest Post By: Kitty BarrowThe-Two-Biggest-Scheduling-Mistakes-That-Ruin-Productivity-Part-1

    Today I was working with an amazing coaching client who is a 23-year veteran salesman and sales leader. This client is in the top 10 in the world when it comes to personal and team production, but lately, he hasn’t had the time to make his prospecting dials. He mentioned he has been spending a lot of time working on his leadership skills and his team and every time he does this, his sales seem to suffer. This is a common complaint of Producing Sales Managers, isn’t it?

    My client had plenty of hours of ‘dial time’ written in the schedule that he preplanned, so I was curious why ‘dial time’ wasn’t happening.

    He also admitted that as different things came across his desk he would stop what he was doing to focus on those things, letting them distract him.

    After truly analyzing his schedule, I noticed two mistakes that many coaching clients make that can throw off our schedule, cause a lot of stress, and ruin our productivity if not corrected.

    What’s crazy is these two things are SO SIMPLE to correct, yet so EASY to forget.

    The solutions for these mistakes are simple, but I can’t stress enough how easy it is to overlook them. So, I am going to give each mistake its due diligence. We will only be covering the first mistake in this blog post, and I will share the second mistake in a later post.

    The first mistake my client was making is that his schedule wasn’t ‘real’.

    This happens often with people. They plan out their week so that it looks ‘perfect’ but there is little to no room for reality. There are always unforeseeable things that will happen during the week, but some things are often just missing from schedules. Things like:

    Drive time

    Many of my clients must be Star Trek fans and have a relationship with Scottie.

    Email time

    It’s always fun to pretend that we never have to answer emails.

    Emergencies

    Unless you sell pacemakers, there aren’t too many TRUE emergencies in business that can’t wait at least 2 hours to be handled. We all like to live in a dream world where everyone else in the office always solves their own problems and never need to come to us for help, that dream world has yet to exist.

    Paperwork

    While we should be delegating as much as possible to another personality type who really loves to do paperwork, we can’t pretend that we will never need to do any paperwork yet so many of my clients never have time built in their schedule for this.

    If you are planning out your schedule every week but you find yourself consistently unable to follow it, then it is time to really analyze your schedule. Compare your actual work week to your schedule and look for things that are throwing you off-schedule. Once you have located those troublesome tasks you need to plan for it in your next week’s schedule or you need to ‘eliminate, automate or delegate’* it to someone else. (*verbiage from Rory Vaden’s book, ‘Procrastinate on Purpose’)

    See, a simple fix. You have to make sure you are accounting for those maintenance tasks that are so essential to keeping all the wheels turning, without sacrificing the crucial production time. Planning for these tasks will allow your production to be free from distractions which in turn makes for a very productive day.

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate


  • Never Have a Maniac Monday Again with These Two Tips

    Guest Post By: Amanda Johns Vaden

    time-to-planDo you ever feel like you have more to do than the hours that are available on any given day?

    Sometimes I wake up and I go to bed and I haven’t even checked anything off of my to-do list, and I think, “What did I do all day today?

    If you’ve ever felt like you had a Maniac Monday, we’re going to give you a couple of tips on how to really prepare your week. It will help you get things in order so you feel like you accomplished things and have a balanced week.

    Monday mornings crash in on you, whether it be responding to voicemail, setting appointments for the week, or responding to emails from the weekend, you’re picking up from where you left off on Friday afternoon. It’s crazy.

    Here are two tips to put into place to help better organize and manage your time.

    Tip 1:

    The key to avoiding a maniac Monday – don’t wait until Monday. Start your week off the right way and plan your whole week on Sunday’s.

    Yes, your whole week. Plan your calls, plan your meetings, plan your meals, plan your workout time, plan everything. Schedule it out. Scheduling is like anything else. If you don’t schedule it in, it probably won’t get done.

    The reason that you start to feel flustered and frustrated in the evenings or after work or on the weekends, if you tell yourself you’re always so busy and you never have time to do anything, it’s because you’re always doing things off the cuff and on the fly.

    You’re never planning ahead. You’re reactive, you’re not proactive. I know that because I used to be that way. Planning on Sunday night, it gives you clarity. It lets you breathe on Monday mornings because everything has a place and everything is in its place.

    Tip 2:

    Know where you’re going. This is the second benefit of having a very detailed schedule. I see and hear one of the biggest mistakes of sales people is they spend so much time searching, and looking, and preparing but they actually never do what they intended to do in the first place.

    Many times we have found at Southwestern Consulting that some of the best times of the day to reach decision makers are from the hours of 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. or even before 8 a.m. But generally, that’s when most people do their daily planning.

    That’s when they’re figuring out who are they going to call today? Who do they need to call back? Who do they need to email? Who do they want to put on their prospecting list? What kind of lead generation activity should we be doing?

    That’s not the time to be doing that. Eight o’clock to 10 o’clock is the time to be making phone calls and walking in doors. But many times, because we weren’t prepared, we didn’t know who to call on, that’s when we do all our prep time and the moment we get ready to walk out the door and pick up the phone, our decision makers, they’re busy or they’re gone for the day.

    If you really want to be successful and feel movement, you have to align your schedule with your decision makers, not with what’s convenient for you.

    Being detailed and planning ahead are really two keys that you can use to get rid of maniac Mondays and get a grip on your schedule.

     

    Amanda Johns Vaden is a founding partner, executive coach and senior consultant at Southwestern Consulting. She has worked with over 400 sales offices nationwide.  Amanda is the author of the upcoming books Unspoken: Redefining Expectations Between  Men and Women in the World of Work and 4-Dimensional Follow up: Increasing Client Retention and Customer Loyalty Through Follow Up


  • Making Client Meetings Matter

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    Many account managers stay very busy meeting with their existing customers- so much so that they don’t make time to get in front of new business. This can be a costly mistake that prevents them from building their income. And, over time, as accounts slowly go away, can even cause them to have a dwindling income. Their income is most likely to dwindle if they are not making every one of those visits truly worthwhile. In other words, they are acting as professional visitors, rather than as consultative sales professionals.

    If you are not uncovering a new opportunity to quote at least 1 out of 4 of your visits, then it could mean 1 of 2 things:

    1. You are going to frequently.

    2. You are not effective enough with your visit.

    PREPARING FOR YOUR VISIT

    You can actually do fewer visits with each customer, saving you massive amounts of time, money and energy if you plan and use your time effectively on each visit. The problem is that most salespeople underprepare for the visits. Consequently, you don’t get to meet with everyone you would like to get an audience with, you spend too much of the valuable time in unproductive conversation, you forget to follow-up on key decisions, and you don’t get the results from those visits that they could. To get the most from your customer visit, do these 3 things:

    meeting

    1. Know who you are going to see. Make sure that you are not just meeting with the same decision-makers while failing to see others while you are there. There are people who are technical users of our products, conceptual decision-makers, and financial decision-makers. Make sure that you are getting in front of all of them on every visit if possible. If there are other decision-makers who are part of the organization who oversee a different department but are not yet your customer, make sure you have a plan for how you are going to get in front of them during your visit. Arrange an introduction. Make sure you know when they are in. Have a reason to see them.

    2. Know what you are going to talk to them about. As a manager of an account you have to manage many details. You have to remember when someone last ordered something and in what quantity, when you presented a quote and when you should expect to receive the purchase order, when someone told you “not right now” and when and why you should bring it back up again. . . Forgetting to remind someone that it is time to reorder, not following-up on a purchase order, not bringing new ideas to your customers’ attention will cost you a lot of money in the long run!

    3. Give value every time. On every visit, you should plan to provide your customer with something of value. And, no, we are not talking about doughnuts or cookies! The value of that you provide should be relevant to the products you sell and the service you provide to them. Bring them an article that shares valuable education. Bring them a referral for the new employee they are looking to hire. Bring them an idea of how you can save them money. Show them a new product that will help save them time. Customers will not keep you around just because you are a nice guy and you stop by every week. People want to keep vendors around that are valuable to them. It is not your customer’s job to find a need for you, it is your job to make yourself irreplaceable.

    Don’t waste valuable time, time that you could spend going after new business, driving to meet with customers without a plan. To get the most of your visit, prepare for it. Make it count.

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • Create Your Ideal Schedule

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

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    Effective self-management begins with a well-planned schedule.

    The strategy is to create a schedule for the entire week which includes both professional and personal activities from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed. The idea is to treat this like you’re back in high school and schedule your activities in blocks of time.  I understand in your industry things pop up and it’s difficult to keep to a specific schedule. However, if you can’t picture the perfect week then chances are you’ll never have one. You’ll want to start by planning in your CSF’s – Critical Success Factors that we discussed today!

    —> Click here to continue reading…


  • Getting your Inbox to 0 – The Scan and Flip E-mail Technique

    Eventually you will fall behind in emails either because of traveling and being out of the office or because you were tied up in important meetings all day. The goal isn’t to always keep your inbox at 0 at every moment by neurotically checking email at every free half-instant. In fact, that will just increase your stress levels and give you anxiety because you will have the feeling that you can never be on top and you won’t be because during peak email hours they come in as fast as you can get them out.

    So how you “catch up” on emails during off-peak email hours is as important as the systems you put into place to keep your inbox at a controllable level during the day. The best method for catching up that we’ve discovered in our research is The Scan and Flip Technique. . .Read More.


  • Get To Work By Meeting Procrastination Head-On


    Being smart, energetic, and creative won’t save you from procrastination, but knowing the whys and hows of it can be a big help. Here are four things you might not know about your worst habit.

    There’s a huge distance between the physical energy it takes to run on a treadmill–the muscles, calories, and breath–and the often larger emotional energy it takes to head to the gym after a stressful day. Just ask a guy who gained 40 pounds during graduate school.

    Rory Vaden is now much more trim, and quite focused on evangelizing the power of self-discipline in books like Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success. But back in graduate school, it wasn’t really laziness that kept Vaden him from the gym, but self-criticism. . .read more.


  • 3 ways we lose time & what to do about it!

    What I’ve discovered is that there are 3 primary ways we lose our time. And they are different from most people expect or realize.

    A.  Not knowing where you’re going next

    1. Don’t waste a second – ever. Don’t let your goals and dreams fall victim to unplanned events. Anything that isn’t a part of your schedule is a distraction and should be minimized at all costs. Don’t be rude to people; just know that you should “always have a meeting to be at” in the next few minutes. There should always be somewhere you’re going next.
    2. Have a written schedule and stick to it relentlessly. Your results are very often the output of your schedule. Do what is on your schedule all the time.

    B.  Fatigue

    1. Physical – You need at least 6.5 hours of Sleep and if at all possible get 7-8. Vince Lombardi said “fatigue makes cowards of us all.” If you’re not energized you won’t be efficient.
    2. Physical – Get your booty to the gym. Don’t let your body feed you the BS that you’re too tired to work out. Your body recharges from working out. Even if it’s 30 minutes for 3 days a week. Just get there! We see consistently that people who can just get their body into the gym can usually get motivated to do something once they’re there. Do it. Once you are physically there then get yourself amped up to crush it! Dominate your workout and hit it hard. Then go home and go to the next thing.
    3. Emotional – Some of the best managers in the country forget this and they don’t realize that one thing that is holding them back is they never get emotionally recharged. If you’re pouring out into others you need to be refilling your emotional fuel  tank. Find what fills you up spiritually and emotionally.
      • Positive reading: John Maxwell – 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Ken Blanchard – One Minute Manager, T Harv Eker – Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, Dale Carnegie – How To Win Friends and Influence People, John Maxwell – Leadership Gold, Jim Collins – Good to Great
      • Read the Bible each day – at least 1 chapter.
      • Church on Sunday with no excuses. Just go do it.
      • Family – I find that spending actual time physically with family is very recharging. Sometimes on the phone it’s not always. Try to get some place that makes you feel like home and especially reconnecting with parents and letting them know how much they mean to you will naturally recharge you.

    C.  Having focus diverted across too many things

    1. Imbalance is the new balance – The way most people think about balance is absurd. We tend to think of spending an equal amount of time on all different types of activities.  Balance is not equal time across equal activities; it’s APPROPRIATE time across critical PRIORITIES. In other words, don’t try to be all things to all activities or try to do everything. Instead figure out what things are most important to you and imbalance your life in those directions.
    2. Keystone Goal – Have 1 overarching goal that ties all your others together. A keystone goal isn’t necessarily the most important; it’s just the one that if you accomplish it, all of the others will happen as a bi-product.
    3. Batching – multi-tasking means juggling lots of priorities; it doesn’t mean doing many tasks at once. Don’t try to be on Facebook while doing paperwork and taking cell phone calls. Doesn’t work. Focus is power. Blitz it hard. Paperwork for paperwork time. Gym for gym time. Family for family time. Pounding the phones during phone time. That simple.

    Your results are just a bi-product of your schedule. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. You be consistent and relentless about your schedule. Work the system and allow the system to work for you. Put your self-esteem into your work habits and  let the rest shake out as it may.

    Follow us at www.roryontwitter.com, Friend us at www.roryonfacebook.com, Watch us atwww.roryonyoutube.com

    For information on booking motivational speaker and self-discipline strategist Rory Vaden please visit us at www.roryvaden.com

    For information on sales coaching, sales training, or sales consulting please visitwww.southwesternconsulting.com

    Have a college-aged student in your life that you want to introduce to success principles, entrepreneurship, and leadership? Have them check out The Southwestern Company paid internship at www.southwesterninternship.com

    Join motivational speaker Rory Vaden’s Take the Stairs Tour:

    Click Here

    See you in the stairwell,

    Rory Vaden
    Take the stairs – Success means doing what others won’t.


  • 5 Steps to Keeping Appointments & Reducing Cancellations

    Here is a 5 step process to confirm appointments, reduce cancellations and decrease rescheduling! Read it, learn it, implement it!

    Post Appointment Follow Up Guidelines

    Step 1: Send confirmation email with date/ time of your appointment. Send email within a few hours of setting appointment.
    · Sample email verbiage:

    I just wanted to thank you again for taking a few minutes with me on the phone today, I really appreciate it. I look forward to meeting to meeting you in person on (date/time). Please feel free to call or email me if you need any extra information or have any additional questions. My contact information is listed below. Thank you again.

    Step 2: Send Outlook invite
    · Once you schedule an appointment (phone meeting or physical appointment) schedule the meeting in your Outlook calendar and then invite them to join your meeting (Outlook function). The individual will have to accept or decline the meeting at which point you will be notified of their decision. If they accept the meeting, the appointment will immediately be placed into their personal calendar. This is also a good indicator of the quality of your appointments.

    Step 3: Handwritten Thank You card
    · In a world full of high-tech availability sometimes the most unique, visible and personal thing you can do to catch someone’s attention is to send them a good ole fashioned hand written thank you card. Don’t under estimate the power of the personalized touch that comes with a handwritten thank you card!
    · When the market is saturated and your prospect has a variety of options here is the key to being noticed among your competition; find out what everyone else is doing then do the opposite.
    · Just think, when is the last time your real estate agent, insurance agent or car salesperson sent you a handwritten thank you card thanking you for your business?

    Step 4: Add them to your network on LinkedIn
    · This acts as one more way of getting connected and building rapport before your actual appointment. The more they have invested in you the less likely they are to cancel or postpone your meeting. Get to know them and let them get to know you. This is especially powerful if you have recommendations available on your profile.

    Step 5: Follow up with a phone call a few days before the actual date of your appointment
    If you have to leave a message call back the next day. Call until you are able to confirm your appointment. Start the attempts 5 days before the scheduled meeting because it may take you 2-3 days to actually reach your prospect. Reconfirm the meeting address, let them know you will be there a few minutes early and remind them of anything they may need to bring.

    Appointment Confirmation Rule of Thumb

    If the appointment is more than 10 days away:
    a. Complete steps 1-4 within 48 hrs.
    b. Call 1 week before appointment for confirmation.
    c. Send an email the day before your appointment to let your prospect know how much you are looking forward to meeting them tomorrow.
    If the appointment is less than 10 days away:
    d. Complete steps 1-4 the same day as you set the appointment.
    e. Call 2 days before meeting to re-confirm the details.

    In the Spirit of Success,

    Amanda Johns
    Southwestern Consulting
    formerly known as Success Starts Now!
    2451 Atrium Way
    Nashville, TN 37214

    Join my professional network on LinkedIn

     

    Please share your tips that work or let us know what  you think about the 5 Steps.

    [contact-form] [contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”true” /] [contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”true” /] [contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /] [contact-field label=”Comment” type=”textarea” required=”true” /] [/contact-form]


  • 3 Success Tips of Top Producers: Plan & Execute Day 6

    Some of the biggest obstacles we face in sticking to our schedule are:

    1. Too much socializing at the office.

    2. Starting your calls, but getting sidetracked.

    3.  Starting your day without a clear plan.

    Top Producers have a plan and execute it. Here are some solutions to keep your focus on completing tasks and staying on schedule.

    1.  Going to the office and socializing or screwing around. To head this off, you need to go straight to your office or desk and put up “Do Not Disturb – Golden Hours in Progress” sign outside your door as well as a sign on the inside of your door that says, “The pain of discipline weighs far less than the pain of regret.” Remember, the discipline of staying on schedule for prospecting is no different from the discipline of lifting weights. As you know, when you start lifting weights for the first time it can be uncomfortable and even painful the next day. However after getting on a good schedule and getting in the gym consistently, over time you begin building muscle and enjoy the process. The same is true with prospecting. Initially it can be a little uncomfortable and even painful. However after getting on a good schedule and going after it day in and day out, you’ll begin to set more appointments and will actually start enjoying the phone.

    2.  Starting calls but getting sidetracked. To head this off, think of yourself as a thermostat versus a thermometer. While a thermometer reflects its environment, a thermostat sets it. In the same way, you’re being a thermometer when you let your emotions determine your actions. People who are thermometers are activity oriented. If they don’t like the activity they don’t do it. If they experience a rude prospect, they stop making calls. Just like a thermometer, they are allowing their emotions and circumstances to determine their actions. People who are thermostats are results oriented. If they don’t like the activity, they do it anyway because they understand it will produce the desired results. If they experience a rude prospect, they become more determined because rather than basing their decisions on emotions, they base their decisions on values, principles and a predetermined plan. People who are thermostats are successful because rather than allowing themselves to be controlled by their environment, they simply set their own temperature and go after it!

    3.  Showing up to work without a clear plan. To head this off, you will make sure to take time the night before to plan out your next day in detail. This will include when you’re prospecting and who you will call. You will print out a predetermined list of prospects to call on the night before and lay it on your desk. Rather than wondering what you’re going to do and who you’re going to call, you’ll simply execute on your predetermined plan. It will take all the emotion out of the equation. It’s simply a matter of planning & executing. In fact your new affirmation should be, “I’m a top producer because I plan and execute. I blow out quota each month because I always take time the night before to plan my next day.”

    Please comment below on what tips work for your, or how these tips worked for you after 1 week.

     

     

     

     

     

    To your success,

    Steve Reiner

    Professional Sales Coach

    Southwestern Consulting™