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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


  • 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™


  • 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


  • STICKING TO YOUR SCHEDULE & AVOIDING DISTRACTIONS

    By Gary Michels

    I was recently congratulating a coaching client on closing a deal, and after sharing the details he asked me to cover some very critical points during our next coaching session:  his daily schedule and helping him find NEW key areas that absolutely need to be focused on every day.  It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, or if you were born organized, it’s always a good idea to occasionally review your scheduling and time management process.  If it’s as streamlined and efficient as it can be, then great.  If there is some room for improvement, the tips below may be helpful.

    We discussed how sometimes you have all good intentions when the day begins, but somehow lose focus and get distracted away from your IPA’s (Income Producing Activities). We absolutely need to remember that if IT IS NOT SCHEDULED IT WILL NOT GET DONE!! We want everything in our daily schedule to be “by design.”  The key is to make sure the whole day is strategically scheduled out with activities, not just scheduled appointments. Your prospecting time should also be a scheduled appointment on your calendar.

     Here are the 4 areas that you need to spend your time on each day.

     1) Your ENERGIZING time! THIS SHOULD BE 10% OF YOUR TIME. This is your time in the morning when you get up and prepare for the day.  Spend time on motivational reading or listening to cds/podcasts, use affirming statements and say them to yourself in the mirror every morning, role play partner working on your scripts, exercise. These are just a few ways to energize in the morning.

     2) Your GENERATING time! THIS SHOULD BE PART OF THE 60% of your IPA time. This is basically your Prospecting time. You need to block off the time on your calendar so that it gets done. Even though you do not know yet who you will be speaking with, the time will be blocked off.

     3) Your ADMIN time! This SHOULD BE NO MORE THAN 30% of your time. This is taking service calls, planning, researching, filling out paperwork, going to meetings, etc. if you cannot get your ADMIN time done in 30% of your day you probably have a ton of business, which is a good thing, or you are “creatively avoiding” what you know you really need to be doing. If you really cannot get done all of the tings in this time period you should hire an assistant to do these type of things for you so you can spend your time on IPA’s. 

    4) APPOINTMENTS and PRESENTATIONS TO CREATE time! THIS SHOULD BE THE OTHER PART THAT MAKES UP 60% of your time. This is simply running sales calls, doing presentations, meeting somebody to do an analysis of their, etc. It is any time spent showing and explaining what you do in an attempt to make a sale.

    If you spend every day really scheduling your day with lots of detail and include these 4 areas with detail, you will begin to see a major change in your sales results.

    I look forward to hearing any comments (you can add below) about how this system is working for you.