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  • Tag Archives Time Management
  • 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


  • Think Backwards: The Key to Getting What You Want

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    backward_clock

    On a coaching call, my client told me she wanted to sell ten million dollars in business. I said, “Great! How do you plan on doing that?” She replied, “I really believe in myself, I know that I can do it I just know that with confidence I can hit my goal.”

    So I asked again, “How are you going to hit your goal?” She said: “I have made a vision board, and I’ve been focusing on it. It will help me hit my goal. I’m going to work harder than I ever have!”

    Again, “How?” She knew what she wanted. Without knowing how you are going to hit your goals, you can easily set yourself up to fail.

    In order to really move your business forward, sometimes you need to do a little backwards thinking.

    In every business it takes a certain number of dials to make a certain number of contacts, to set a certain number of appointments, to have a certain number of presentations, to have a certain number of sales. Your business might be a little bit different in terminology, or the process might be slightly shorter or slightly longer. One thing we all know is that every business follows a sales cycle.

    First, we have to track our numbers.  We need this information so we are aware of how many dials it takes to get someone on the phone. That’s our dial to contact ratio.

    We have to know things like how many contacts it takes to set an appointment.

    We have to know how many of our appointments actually stick and turn into presentations.

    Out of those presentations, what’s our closing percentage?

    How many of those turn into sales, and what is our average package size?

    Once you know those numbers then you can do some backwards thinking. Start with the goal you want to hit.

    Let’s say you’re like my client and want to sell $10 million in business. In order to get there, you need to take your average package size/sale size and figure out how many sales you need to make. The next thing you do is take your closing percentage and figure out how many presentations you need to run in order to have that many customers. Then you back end it out and figure out how many appointments you need to set based on your appointments set-to kept ratio. Then figure out how many contacts you need to make, and ultimately how many dials you need to make.

    Once you know how many dials, contacts, appointments set, and appointments ran you need, that is where you put your focus, not on the results.

    So many of us focus on the results. If we focus on the results that pressure builds up and we lose focus on the activity that is going to lead to the result. Consequently, we don’t achieve the result.

    Instead, you should almost forget about the revenue, the goal, and the money, and focus on the activity. When the activity is there, the results will follow. The results are a natural by-product of the activity.

    If you want to hit your goal, you have to think backwards!

    Write down how you’ll work backwards, let me know what you come up with!

    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.


  • Showing Up, Even When it Rains

    Guest Post By: Gary Michels

    When it rains and the weather is miserable, why do so many people mentally shut down and make excuses as to why they cannot produce? The same 24 hours still exist and most people still work unless it is physically impossible to do so. Why not let rain and bad weather have a meaning to you? Have it be success!!! When most people will have the attitude of scarcity and lack of good perfect conditions, why not use this time to gain the COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE? Use these times to get a head start on the rest of the world. Use this time to be completely focused on being focused! Look forward to these situations and have a game plan already set up for what you want to get done on days and times that are not the perfect situations.

    rain2

    We know that this year the El Nino is supposed to affect many of us. Say to yourself,  “This is going to be my best day, week, month ever!” Have affirmations like, “When it storms, it is like me to have my best days ever.” Whether for you, it is more dials, contacts, appointments set, sales made, referrals achieved, or more accomplished, have the stormy days be your best days. It all starts with what you say to yourself when you talk to yourself and how you plan and prepare for the situations to happen.

    I will not be one of those that takes the day off and goes to the movie instead. I couldn’t believe how packed the movies were today when meeting a client at Starbucks next door. When leaving the guy in the car next to me told me the theatre was packed. It was 1pm on a Wednesday. I asked him, doesn’t he have to work? He said it is just hard to get into to it on a rainy day like today.  He said he sells insurance and nobody is really doing much in the office today. I asked if he is rated on what he does compared to others and against a plan. He said yes to both. I then said, “Why are you not using this time to get ahead?” He looked at me with glazed eyes and finally said, “I have to run…I have some getting ahead to do!”

     

    Gary Michels is a co-founder of Southwestern Consulting. He is a keynote speaker, sales trainer and business consultant and has motivated nearly 1,000,000 people to achieve their highest potential nationwide. Gary spent 19 successful years as a sales representative for a national fund-raising company.


  • 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


  • 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


  • How to Keep Your Schedule on Track and See Results – Day 3

    The Schedule Slinky

    Here is how the negative slinky happens:

    An event occurs, you get off track, and your SCHEDULE SUFFERS.

    Once you get behind you become consumed with catching up and your THOUGHTS SCATTER.

    As your thoughts become scattered, you lose focus, it becomes easy to get overwhelmed and your ATTITUDE FALTERS.

    As your attitude starts to fall apart, your PRODUCTION SLOWS.

    Finally, because over time you’ve had great results and now you don’t, your SELF-ESTEEM CRASHES.

    The solution is to REFOCUS yourself and put your self-esteem into your work habits and not your production. A schedule is being where you’re supposed to be, doing what you’re supposed to be doing and doing the little things right. It doesn’t have anything to do with producing or not.

    Here is the positive slinky effect:

    First you convince yourself that as long as you are on schedule then you are doing a good job and immediately you gain confidence and your SELF-ESTEEM INCREASES.

    Now you are feeling better and purely focused on doing what you said you would do when you said you would do it and you get back ON SCHEDULE.

    Once you are back in the right places at the right times, it becomes easier to perform and your THOUGHTS REFOCUS.

    Now that you have control of your previously wandering thoughts, your ATTITUDE IMPROVES.

    Because you have a great attitude, the numbers game takes effect and often the next thing to happen is your PRODUCTION INCREASES.

    That is why SCHEDULE IS YOUR LIFELINE.


  • What would you do with an extra four hours today?

    Time management is a constant issue for everyone.

    If you had four EXTRA hours today, what would you . . .

    spend more time networking?

    finish up administrative paper work?

    leave work early and surprise your family?

    These are all great ways to spend extra time. We would like to hear how some of you would put that time to good use. Then, we will provide a few tips of the next 31 days on how to actually GET 4 EXTRA HOURS  to do with whatever you please! Now, we can’t actually give you more hours; but we can show you how to get done what you need to in less hours, so that you have more time for the things you WANT to do.

    Please share your ideas in the comments section below.


  • To Multi-task or Not to Multi-task ??

    I work with lots of coaching clients and a common topic we discuss is “how to multi-task”. This is my response:

    Make it a habit to not multi-task. The net result of multi-tasking is doing a poor job on each activity and having it take longer than if you focused on one activity at a time. To help stay focused on the task at hand and stay in the moment with people, it’s helpful to carry a piece of notebook paper with you. Whenever a thought pops in your head, such as a “to do,” immediately get it out of your head and onto the paper. That way the thought will not be weighing you down while trying to concentrate on the activity at hand, such as being in the moment with whoever it is you are talking to. During your planning time each evening, you’ll want to transfer your “to do’s” from your notebook paper into your detailed daily plan.

    Think of your life like an hourglass. You know there are thousands of grains of sand in the top of the hourglass: and they all pass slowly and evenly through the narrow neck in the middle. Nothing you or I could do would make more than one grain of sand pass through this narrow neck without impairing the hourglass. You and I and everyone else are like this hourglass. When we start the morning, there are hundreds of task which we feel that we must accomplish that day, but if we do not take them one at a time and let them pass through the day slowly and evenly, as do the grains of sand passing through the narrow neck of the hourglass, then we are bound to break our own physical or mental structure. One grain of sand at a time. One task at a time.

    Steve Reiner

    Professional Certified Coach

    www.southwesternconsulting.com

    [email protected]lting.com


  • SUPER COMPETENT

    by Laura Stack

    #1 in amazon / business skills

    Top #50 best seller overall

    Super Competent is a compilation of what top performers, in any field, do to be more efficient and effective at their job.

    Overall summary:

    Know what you need to work on. Make time for it each day. Focus on one task at a time. Organize necessary information to complete that task. Be responsible for your results. Never give up.

    Laura’s 6 keys to perform at your productive best

    1.      Activity                                               

    You have to make the time to spend your energy in the areas where it will produce you income. Always do what drives revenue first. Decide on activities based on the income produced from that activity. It’s not about time worked or hours worked it’s about what you accomplish that drives income and revenue during that time period. Do those activities first and foremost every day.

    2.      Availability

    At the end of today look at tomorrow. Act as if you only worked a 2 hour work day. Ask yourself, if I only had 2 hrs to work tomorrow what would I do? The more time we think we have each day the less urgent and less productive we become. Block time in your schedule to complete those ‘2-hr tasks’.

                    -group appts geographically

                    -set back to back meetings

                    -group like activities during the same time period

    We value other peoples time more than our own. Be creative and disciplined about being available to others.

    3.      Attention                           

    Power is focus and focus is power. Do not multi task. Focus on one task at a time. Shut down technology. Create a bubble around yourself with no emails, no phone calls and no interruptions. Eliminate distractions. The #1 thing that distracts us is ourselves. Shut all other tasks down and complete one task at a time. Be a single task worker not a multi task worker.

    Keep a pad of paper and every time you think of something you need to do, write it down, and do it later. It does not need to be done now. Finish the task at hand.

    4.      Accessibility

    How accessible are the tools you need to complete your tasks? Organize your information. Have systems in place to be able to find what you need when you  need it. You should be able to find any document or information necessary to do your work in 30 seconds or less! So many of us waste hours every week just looking for the things we need to get our work done. Put a centralized system in place for your information.

    5.      Accountability

    Take responsibility for what you do and do not complete each day. Look for ways to continually grown and improve your systems, processes and overall business. Keep up with new trends to be more efficient. Take a self assessment of where you hold up the line in getting things done. Find ways to improve and hold yourself accountable.

    6.      Attitude

    The one who has the better attitude always ends up on top. Be the person that people love to be around. A better attitude not only makes you happier and more productive but it has an overall effect on your colleagues, your company and the overall value that people perceive you have.

    Laura’s #1 tip:

    Having centralized systems in place. Investing in new technology that provides the ability to work easier, faster and more efficiently.

    Take a free self assessment and download the ebook for free!  www.supercompetentbook.com

    Super Competent is available on Amazon.com and at all major bookstores!

    If you buy the book, you can forward your receipt to [email protected] and receive a bonus link for over 7 additional free products!

    In the Spirit of Success,

    Amanda Johns
    Corporate Partner and Program Director
    [email protected]
    Corporate website: http://www.southwesternconsulting.com
    Join my professional network on LinkedIn


  • 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