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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’.

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    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 Secret of Being Enthusiastic

    Guest Post By: Dave Brown

    enthus

    In 6th grade I did my first ever speech competition. I did it because of Mrs. Bridges. She signed me up, without me knowing, and said, “Dave, you’re going to be phenomenal at it.”

    The speech I was doing was titled, “How The Camel Got It’s Hump.” I remember it was my first year in middle school down in Texas and I was competing with 7th and 8th graders who had already done this. I was scared! But Mrs. Bridges told me I had a “secret.” She was sure I was going to beat them with that secret.  She was going to teach me how to have enthusiasm.

    She knew that if I showed the energy and my enthusiastic nature I would catch the judges and win first place. So, that is what I will talk to you about today, because I still use that each day!

    Enthusiasm is contagious. It makes the improbable, probable. Do you think I won that speech competition?!

    WELL OF COURSE I DID!!! I took a first place win as a 6th grader, and the first one at that age level to do so!

    I used what Mrs. Bridges taught me from there and it stuck with me. I got into sports and every chance I had, I was getting my team powered up! I had better experiences and let that carry throughout my college career as an athlete. It’s so important!

    It’s also so important in the sales environment. People pick up on it! Whenever you have enthusiasm in place, you can do anything!

    Here is something I keep on me from Frank Bettger’s book, “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling.”

    “Force yourself to act enthusiastic, and you will become enthusiastic. Make a high and holy resolve that you will double the amount of enthusiasm you have put out in your life and in your work. If you carry out that resolve you will probably double your income and double your happiness.”

    Your prospects will catch your enthusiasm! Show it, put it out there! Tell me about your scenarios and how you’ve seen a difference in your work and life by using this secret. Tweet me @davebrown_swc, comment here, or connect on LinkedIn.

    GO OUT THERE AND BE AWESOME YA’LL … (in my most enthusiastic voice!)

    Dave Brown is a senior partner and executive level coach at Southwestern Consulting and author of the upcoming book Painless Prospecting. Dave was a record breaking salesman for Southwestern Advantage, knocking on over 50,000 doors before the age of 25. He has spoken and trained over 100,000 sales professionals across the globe with Southwestern Consulting.


  • How to Take the Pressure Off

    Guest Post By: Dustin Hillis

    We live in a world of unmet expectations. We are consumed with struggling through the daily grind to be successful, or stripping away stresses to find our inner-self and calmness, or indulging in everything life has to offer to just be happy. We feel “less than”, pressure, and frustrated when we don’t achieve what we are longing for. We make an idol of success, tranquility or happiness.

    Tim Keller said it best in his book Counterfeit Gods, “When an idol gets a grip on your heart, it spins out a whole set of false definitions of success and failure and happiness and sadness. It redefines reality in terms of itself.”

    It’s mind-boggling how some of the most successful people I know are so full of insecurity and self-doubt. The outside world thinks these people are the most successful people who have it all together, and the reality is they are freaking out on the inside and putting too much pressure on themselves. I remember feelings of extreme pressure that I would put on myself, and thoughts of being less than no matter what I accomplished or achieved.

    I’m sure you’re asking yourself right now, “this sounds good, but how in the world am I supposed to do this?”

    Here are 3 Ideas on how do we take the pressure off:

    1. Take a reality check. Ask yourself these two question:

    ♦  During your idle time, where is your head at? What do you literally think about when you are left by yourself?

    ♦  If you were 100% honest with yourself, where are you at emotionally?

    2. Find the root of the problem. Typically, there are three main root issues that cause us to put too much pressure on ourselves.

    ♦ “Comparison is the thief of all joy” – Any time we compare ourselves to anyone else, it creates pressure. There will always be someone else who is better, faster, better looking, stronger and smarter. We are all inadequate to everyone at something.

    ♦ Not having fun. – Your attitude is a choice. Your energy level is a choice. Choosing to have fun and be joyful in every single thing you do every single day is a choice.   Most people live in a reactionary state. They just let things happen to them and just think “woe is me”, or they take themselves so seriously they leave no room to simply have fun.

    ♦ Feeling like a failure. – Feeling like a failure is the granddaddy of all root issues when it comes to putting too much pressure on ourselves. Failure is part of life. No one is perfect. Anyone who expects to be perfect at anything will be guaranteed to feel like a failure because it’s impossible to be perfect at anything over a long period of time. At some point, we will all break. Often, it takes us reaching our breaking point to be able to accept our brokenness and dig down to the root of our problems.

    3.  Focus on Unconditional Confidence.

    In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the highest level is “self-actualization” which focuses on morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts.

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    The difference between Maslow’s “self-actualization” and Unconditional Confidence is that Unconditional Confidence cannot be found inside yourself. Unconditional Confidence is not a goal or something you achieve. Unconditional Confidence comes from an understanding that you were created for a higher calling. You were created to die to your selfishness, and your highest achievement in life is to love, serve and care for other people. Another great book by Tim Keller – Every Good Endeavor – does an excellent job at describing in detail how to have Unconditional Confidence.

    There are three types of confidences and our goal is to strive to be Unconditionally Confident.

    1. False Confidence – Faking it until you make it has its place and time. However, we need to quickly get ourselves out of a false confidence state once we embark on trying something new. False Confidence is saying you’re going to do something or thinking you are good at something with no real evidence to back it up. There are plenty of people out there who say “I could have done that if I really wanted to” or “I’m going to be number one.” Etc.

    2. Conditional Confidence – Conditional Confidence comes into play after we’ve set the stage with our False Confidence. We’ve set an expectation for ourselves that we are supposed to be a certain way or accomplish certain things, and then when the results are less than what we hoped for, we feel defeated and less than. Conditional Confidence is contingent on results. If we win, we feel good. If we lose, we feel pressure. Conditional Confidence is equivalent to the 4th level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – “Esteem: self esteem, confidence, achievement, respect for others, respect by others”. Most of us get stuck with Conditional Confidence our whole life.

    3. Unconditional Confidence – People who are Unconditionally Confident have figured out their purpose in life and what they are called to do. Once we have figured that out, we then get to work every day knowing we are making a difference in the world through our work habits, not our results.

    If taking the pressure off is something that you need to focus on, print off this quote and read it aloud every day for the next year:

    “I do not expect success all the time, but due to the belief in my gifts and God-given abilities in addition to my knowledge and acquired skills, I can be fearless in the moment. In reality, self-worth has nothing to do with the outcome. So when the pressure comes, I cannot hesitate. Knowing sometimes I will do well and sometimes I won’t, regardless, I know failure is temporary and success will happen with perseverance.”

     

    Dustin Hillis is the Co-founder of Southwestern Consulting. He is an expert in understanding buying, selling and management behavior styles and how to identify them and adapt to people the way they want to be communicated with. He also specializes in writing efficient and effective Customized Sales Scripts/Word Tracks. Mr Hillis consults companies on creating Compensation Plans, Recruiting Systems and Sales Strategies. Dustin is the author of the book Navigate: The Art of Not Thinking and co-author of Speaking of Success along with Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield


  • Is Your Non-Verbal Communication Killing Your Sales?

    Guest Post By: Jay Jones

    So you have the perfect sales script, you know it really well and you are still struggling in your sales process. Have you ever stopped and taken the time to pay attention to how you are saying what you are saying? This seems to be the elephant in the room with many salespeople. Quite honestly, after years of coaching many salespeople, I have found that this is one of the least developed skills in a large number of people across all industries. People often fail to realize the power of their non-verbal communications.

    Hand-Over-Mouth-Pondering

    Albert Mehrabian is well known as one of the leading pioneers in the understanding of communication. Mehrabian’s research showed the following:

    7% of communication is in the words that are spoken
    38% of communication is in the way that the words are said (tone, volume, timing, etc.)
    55% of communication is in the facial expressions and body language (which often changes the tone, volume, etc.)

    It is important to note that Mehrabian’s findings specifically applies to the communication of feelings and attitudes. So the questions that I have for you are: What is your attitude and your feelings that are being projected onto the prospect when you are in the sales process? Do you have a strong conviction about the value that you bring? Are you confident in who you are and your ability to deliver an amazing product or service? Are you excited about your product and services? Are you selling with a servant’s heart or can your prospect smell your commission breathe through the phone?
    It is often important for sales people to do a gut check to determine where they stand internally. Sales is a transference of emotion. If our beliefs are creating emotions that are not in alignment with what we are saying, the prospect will know. People buy from people that they like and trust. If you were on the receiving end of your sales communication, would you like and trust you?
    Here are a few suggestions that can improve your non-verbal communication:
    1. Audio record or video record yourself prospecting over the phone or giving your sales presentation. Often we can watch and listen to ourselves and immediately hear or see the areas in which we need to improve the way we sound or look when selling.
    2. Hang up a mirror for phone prospecting. This is an old technique, but still a really good one. When watching our own facial expressions while on the phone, we often start to smile and project our voice better.
    3. Role play with someone that will give you “honest” feedback about how you sound and look when selling.
    4. Work on your self-talk. You need to work diligently every day on what you believe about yourself, your company and your product and services. If you don’t have conviction, enthusiasm and confidence in what you are selling, how can you expect your prospect to be confident and enthusiastic to buy.
    5. Do vocal exercises. Even though you may not plan on trying out for American Idol, it will be helpful to have a pleasant tone and quality about your voice, especially when phone prospecting.
    6. Either own your accent or work to minimize it. If you are someone that has a thick accent, you must learn to articulate your words clearly. Especially on the phone, people get frustrated often times when they cannot understand what you are saying.
    7. Get clear on the self-image that you are trying to project. If you want to come across as a dynamic salesperson, then work to project that self-image though the way you sound and look while on the phone and in person.

     

    Jay Jones is an expert in lead generation and business development. He has worked extensively in the mortgage, real estate, insurance, telecommunications, healthcare and financial services industries. Jay is a dynamic speaker and regularly speaks for company and industry events.


  • 15 Benefits of Using CRM

    Check out this awesome round up of 15 benefits of using CRM…. read an excerpt below and click the link at the end to download the entire white paper. Enjoy!

    What can a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system do for your company? Several recent surveys of small business owners in the U.S. revealed that their top priorities for 2015 were, not surprisingly, to: increase revenue; implement systems to drive profits and to expand their customer base.  Following closely as second tier business goals were: to improve promotional marketing; to become better organized and to implement software upgrades to help achieve these objectives.

    Since Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are designed to position companies to achieve these goals, it’s no wonder that interest in this software solution has skyrocketed in the last few years. According to Forbes, CRM sales are expected to have a stunning market value of $36.5 billion by 2017.

    White most business owners focus on several key CRM components like robust customer profile functions, automation of routine task capabilities and data analysis tools — there is so much more that this powerful technology can do to improve your business operations. Have you explored everything that CRM can do for your company?

    To download the complete white paper and continue reading 15 Benefits of Using CRM, click here.

    To learn more about how our team at Southwestern Consulting™ benefits from a CRM system, (hint: it’s the lifeline of everything we do!), click here.