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  • Category Archives Scheduling
  • 2 Steps Forward And 3 Steps Back Part 1

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

    Depressed business woman

    Do you ever have little annoyances in your business that aren’t bad but they bring business to a halt? It is often worse because it’s something that is a little frustrating and you think it will go away but it keeps coming back over and over again?

    –          Maybe someone at the office is driving you mad?

    –          Or people aren’t doing things the way you know they need to be done?

    –          Or something or people are slipping through the cracks?

    –          Or maybe it’s that next ‘great idea’ that will be the next big thing that will revolutionize your world?

    If not, are your breathing? It happens to all of us!

    Usually what happens is that we live in this little world where small frustrations are the norm and we’ve just learned to ignore them.

    Before too long we find ourselves years later in almost the same place we were before, often frustrated and losing hope that anything will ever be different! Overwhelmed and/or annoyed is our new normal and we keep going!

    –          We’re stuck. We know it….but we don’t KNOW it. Instead of dealing with that harsh reality we’re either too busy to give it much deep thought often find ourselves saying, “when the kids get older”, “when my company does ‘this’”, “this is how it’s always been done and it just won’t change”, “I’ve tried that before and I know it won’t work”, “I’m doing good enough”, “the poor man just can’t get ahead”…

    –          Arrgghh!

    What is it for you? What right now, at work, is driving you nuts? Write it down because we’re about to have some fun!

    5 steps to EASY, Stress-LESS, getting things done:

    1.  Consider the impact of not getting it done.

    Yes, sit and think of just one of the things that keeps stressing you out and work and consider the IMPACT of not getting a resolution to this? Maybe at first, it doesn’t seem to matter. You haven’t done anything and business is still getting done. OR IS IT? Is business getting done or are you settling for MEDIOCRITY?

    Recently, I hadn’t taken the time to be fully understood by my amazing assistant as to what should be categorized a VERY important email, an IMPORTANT email and an email that can wait. Because of my lack of finding a minute to better discuss it with her, emails that were VERY important were getting marked as ‘not that important’ and I was losing SALES! Yet, because I was making a lot of other sales, meeting with her wasn’t a priority until I almost lost a BIG sale.

    What are you waiting to get ‘taken care of’ and what is the possible impact of you not getting it done?

    Stayed tuned for step #2…

     

    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 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


  • 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:

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    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…


  • 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™


  • How to Schedule Your Golden Hours for Maximum Results – Day 4

    Once you have your weekly schedule created, each evening, you’ll want to convert your next day’s schedule into a well-planned, detailed format. You’ll do that by having a set appointment with yourself each evening before going home, to plan out your next day in detail.

    For example, you’ll take prospecting time from your weekly schedule and make a list of 20+ prospects you can call on the next day. That way you don’t have to waste time the next day trying to dig up names to call on. Instead you’ll be able to show up and simply execute. This is a habit that less than 10% of professionals have. Mediocre salespeople don’t take the time to plan. Instead they just take each day as it comes, reacting to circumstances as they pop up. They end partaking in “creative avoidance.” This takes place when you avoid doing what you know you should be doing. In its place you do more pleasurable activities such as organizing your desk, checking emails, surfing the net, etc. At the end of the day you’re frustrated that you didn’t accomplish more. This makes it difficult to be in the moment with your family because you’re thinking about everything you didn’t get done at work. Keeping your ideal schedule, on the other hand, will prevent you from wasting time during the day on non-income producing activities, equipping you to head off interruptions to your schedule which are not as critical. Learning to set boundaries will enable you to work more effectively.

     

    Your schedule is your roadmap to get you to your goals. I encourage you to look at your schedule like it is your lifeline. You break it and the likelihood of hitting your goals dies. So let’s say we were to calculate your hourly rate to be $50, so every time that you are doing something other than what you should be doing, you are wasting $50. With this in mind, the majority of your day should be invested in either setting up appointments or going on appointments. Everything else should be delegated to assistants if possible. Your prospecting time is what we call your Golden Hours. Here are the steps for creating consistent momentum during The Golden Hours:

     

    *Schedule “The Golden Hours” in your calendar as if it’s the most important appointment you have in your day.  Do not do ANYTHING else during that time but prospect!

    *Don’t waste a second during your “Golden Hours”.

    *Have your top 20 prospects listed out and in a queue ready to call.

    *Stand up during your Golden Hours.

    *Eliminate all possible distractions.

    -Put a sign on your door saying “Golden Hours in process. Currently increasing my net worth or I am in the process of winning a trip to the Mediterranean. Interrupt at your own peril!”

    -Turn you outlook email notice button off!

    *Do not check email!

    *Don’t answer questions.

    *Don’t take personal calls.

    *Don’t answer any call that is not someone calling to set a new appointment.

    *Use the restroom before your “Golden Hours”.

    *Make as many dials as humanly possible during your “Golden Hours”.

    *Think about prospecting like a sport, setting up a contest with yourself or others. For example, treat yourself to an ice cream after you’ve put in the work and kept to your schedule.

    *Repeat the affirmation, “My job is to make a list and then cross people off that list. It can be a yes or no. I need both to have a great day. Who’s next? Who’s next?”

     

    High performance salespeople create a plan; they execute on that plan within a given time line and they have somebody hold them accountable to that plan.

    Planning, executing and accountability.

    It’s a great feeling waking up in the morning with a plan. It takes all of the emotion and guesswork out of your day. You simply execute on your predetermined plan. Once you form this habit, you’ll find yourself getting more done in less time. It’s easy to procrastinate putting this schedule together and keeping it. Remember, however, the key to overcoming procrastination is forming the habit of doing things that you don’t like to do. As you’re tweaking your ideal schedule, keep track of all your activities throughout the day to determine the income producing activities versus the time wasters. The goal is to get to the point where your days are on task and highly productive. Get excited about you leading your day versus letting other people and circumstances do it for you!

    Your partner in success,

    Steve Reiner

    Professional Certified Coach

     

     

    www.southwesternconsulting.com

    [email protected]

    (513) 600-2976 Cell

    (303) 774-6559 Office


  • Sales Tip of the Day – DAY 1

    Leaving messages and not getting calls back? Here is a script for those folks who are not returning your voicemails:

    “Hi Mary, this is Shelly Blume over at BBI. I’ve got to tell you, you are a tough person to get hold of, but you know what? I consider that a good thing. It tells me you’re working hard and you’re making things happen and you’re the type of person I like to work with. So I’ve got an idea since the phone is not working so well. I’ll plan on coming out to your house on Friday between 3 and 3:30 to drop off the guide. Now if you can do me a favor, it’s about a 40 minute drive out there, if that time does not work for you, please give me a call and suggest a better time that works for you, that would be great. Otherwise if I don’t hear back from you I will assume that Friday between 3 and 3:30 works for you and I will plan on introducing myself to you then. Again, this is Shelly from BBI and my number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. I look forward to meeting you on Friday!”

     

    If you are wondering if this really works . . . here is how it worked for a current SWC coaching client:

    Just wanted to drop you a note regarding using this script.   It is fabulous.  I’ve used it on four calls and I’m thrilled with the results.  It definitely was a shot in the arm that I needed.  The first couple was today at 2:00 p.m. and they didn’t call to cancel but were at home waiting for me.   This was a couple I had been calling since April and never got anywhere with them.  The second call was for an appt on Friday, she did call and cancel but asked me to call her back with another day and time.  The next was an appt for next week and he called to confirm.  And the last one I haven’t heard from.

    Thanks again for your sharing this script.   Can’t wait to get going with our first meeting.

    Kathy Kemper, Community Service Counselor
    Olinger Crown Hill Mortuary & Cemetery

     

    Looking forward to your results – please comment below


  • Calls That Get Appointments

    Considering your focus is an outbound call with the intent to schedule an appointment, the scripting I am suggesting would be used whether the call was answered live or if you leave a voicemail. It would be the same opening statement. The call objective is to schedule an appointment.

    The first thing you want to do is create a “headline” opening statement. You want to create something that is catchy and grabs the attention through proposing benefit to the prospect.

    Three major components of your effective opening monologue:

    1. Pleasantry

    Capture their attention with their full name.

    Use a pleasantry different from, “How are you, today?”

    Don’t use your company name in the opening statement?

    2. Benefit focused statement

    Who is your “Decision Maker” and why should they choose to do business with you?

    Think and speak “Benefits”!

    – Specific, Measurable, Time Phased

    – Results-oriented

    Hit the “bull’s eye” to get the interest of the caller. The ultimate objective is to get the person to listen to you by connecting at the highest level. The key is to get closer to the bulls eye which is referral specific.

    – Generalized

    – “Companies in your city…”

    – “Other groups in your industry…”    

    – Referral Specific

    – “ABC Insurance has increased sales activity and suggested I contact you…”

    – “Mary James was able to improve first time closing ratio by 23% through our unique method…”

    3. Transitional Question

    Require a minor “yes” decision to help move the dialogue forward.

    Deliver further benefits, and then end with a question that asks for an appointment.

    Use the take away technique.

    Review of the Outline of Your Effective Opening Statement:

    Step One: Use their full name

    Step Two: Pleasantry. Don’t ask “How are you today” because it telegraphs you are a salesperson. Simply say “Thanks for taking my call”, pause for a brief second and move on. Do not ask if you have caught them at a good time, because there never s a good time. If you have caught them at a bad time, they can tell you.

    Step Three: Bridge (links communication to become conversational)         

    “Last week…”

    “Recently…”

    Step Four: Benefit focused Statement

    Step Five: Transitional Question

    Here is an example of how this may work for either the initial call or the voicemail message:

    Voicemail

    “Hi, my name is _________from Scottsdale, Arizona. Thanks for taking my call. I trust I have not caught you at a bad time (slight pause) the purpose of my call and I will be brief, I have been talking to a number of sales managers in your area and they seem to be challenged with getting their sales people to do all the necessary activity to meet their sales goals. I am sure that is something that frustrates you as well. We have a unique solution; I am not sure if it would work for you, but if we can invest a few seconds I am sure you could tell if it would work. Recently Joe Smith of ABC Insurance was able to increase sales activity by nearly 30% with our solution within 30 days of implementing it. I can not really tell you right, or show you wrong. Please call me at 800-486-7586 and we can take a quick look. My name again is_____________800-486-7586

     

     

    Opening statement on initial call

    “Hi, my name is _________from Scottsdale, Arizona. Thanks for taking my call. I trust I have not caught you at a bad time (slight pause) the purpose of my call and I will be brief, I have been talking to a number of sales managers in your area and they seem to be challenged with getting their sales people to do all the necessary activity to meet their sales goals. Is that something that frustrates you as well? We have a unique solution; I am not sure if it would work for you, but if we can invest a few seconds I am sure you could tell if it would work. Recently Joe Smith of ABC Insurance was able to increase sales activity by nearly 30%with our solution within 30 days of implementing it. I can not really tell you right, or show you wrong. How many sales people do you have on your team?

    To Your Success,

    Ron Marks

    [email protected]


  • SCHEDULING SECRETS OF TOP PRODUCING PROFESSIONALS

    Did you miss the FREE teleseminar?

    Hi! We’ve been getting some amazing feedback from the call, so thanks to all of you who have been writing and calling about it.

    In case you missed it, the topic was: Scheduling Secrets of Top Producing Professionals

    Here’s the RSS Feed:   http://tiny.cc/mt84n   Here’s the link to the audio:  http://tiny.cc/wd60a


  • Tailored Closes & Appointment Setting for the Insurance Industry

    You need to get in front of your clients more in order to retain their business and create some new business.  Whenever you have a review with a client, it is a total win-win.  You have an opportunity to cross-sell, and worst case scenario, you build a relationship.  A relationship is like a bank account. 

    In the case of your relationship with your clients, you have to constantly be putting in deposits because every time they have someone tell them they could be saving money elsewhere, when they see a silly, cheesy commercial advertising lower prices, or they have some negative experience of any kind, withdrawals are being made.  You have to have a sufficient “balance.”   If the “withdrawal” is too large and the account goes in the red, your client will leave you.

    Closing questions are designed to naturally funnel your client into choosing to set an appointment.  Instead of asking an open-ended question, ask a series of “Choice of 2 Positive Questions.”   

    1. When would work better for you to come in, this week or next week? (give them a choice of two weeks)
    2. I am super booked every morning, but I do have a spot either on Tuesday or Thursday afternoon? (give them a choice of two days)
    3. I have 2pm or 4pm open.  Which one works best for you? (give them a choice of two times)

     After the appointment is set, solidify it.  Ask, “So, does ___ at ____pm definitely work for you?”  And ask them to get their calendar and write it in there with a little smiley face because getting together with you will be fun.  Remember, missed appointments cost you time, which is money.

    If they give you any kind of objection during the close for an appointment, here are a couple of recloses you can use:

    The Crystal Ball:
    “If we were to possibly save you money, would you be happy that you met with me?” or “If we were to find that you didn’t have the right coverage, and you were able to fix that, would you be happy that you met with me?”

    A Tie-down:
    “Having the right kind of coverage is important to you, isn’t it?”

    The goal is to get them to say “yes” here.  As soon as they say “yes,” go right back into the “choice of two positive questions” that lead into the appointment.

    Your Partner in Success,

    Emmie Young
    Professional Sales Trainer
    Southwestern Consulting
    [email protected]
    www.southwesternconsulting.com