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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


  • What Is Stealing Your Time: How My Coaching Clients Get Up To 18 Hours Back In Their Schedule

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

    “It’s hard to see the picture when you are in the frame” is never more true than when it comes to time management.

    kitty barrow frame

    (The following is an example in the insurance industry. The lesson applies in all industries.)

    Several of my insurance clients reported to me that they suffer from a BIG time waster.  They have clients who call or come by the office complaining about their rate increase. One client reported that it can be as small as a $5 increase yet they will consume hours of time.

    What’s the BIGGEST PROBLEM?  This seems SO NORMAL to them that they don’t even realize that it’s an issue!

    When dealing with things that ruin the schedule, I teach my clients to ask “What would Smokey the Bear do?” What does this mean?  Allow me to explain.

    kitty barrow time waste

     

    Smokey does not run around the forest chasing fires to put them out one at a time!  NO!  Smokey steps back and observes what is  CAUSING the forest fires and leads a campaign to STOP that!

    Let’s think like Smokey in business. Stop running around putting out single fires. Become like Smokey and handle the REAL issue.

    The clients reacted to the SHOCK of having their rates increase. A proactive solution is simply letting the clients know ahead of time of the rate increase.

    kitty barrow

    My first ‘Smokey’ client this year reported that he and his staff spent 10 – 20 hours every month speaking with clients about rate increases. After analysis, we decided that it would take 1 to 2 hours to call everyone who was having a rate increase BEFORE they received their notice in the mail. They found that when you let people know you are looking out for them they SAVED themselves 8 to 18 HOURS per month in LOST TIME! BONUS, they were also able to pivot this call into more products to better protect their clients!

    Eight to 18 hours SAVED by merely being proactive in their approach!

    What is stealing your time during the month?

    What is getting you off schedule?

    Businesswoman stood in front of three wall clocks

    Step outside the box and think like ‘Smokey’. What is causing this problem? Hint, most things that get us off schedule come from lack of preparation of your staff or clients. For example:

    • Rates might increase
    • They might need to work longer than expected
    • You might need to spend more time explaining exactly how a task should be done or the expected outcome
    • You might be answering your team’s questions instead of teaching them how to think for themselves
    • After a couple of months with your product, this might happen….etc.

    Please comment below about the issue that is stealing your time and give us your  ‘Smokey’ solution.

     

    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