When I ask sales people how are they doing, the general reply is that they are busy. I am not sure busy is good. What does busy mean? That you have a lot going on in your work life? Somehow busy sounds like an antonym for unorganized and slightly chaotic. Having an abundance of promising activity and meeting the important people that make decisions is what I label productive.
At the end of the day you are seeking high-level opportunities that you can turn into sales revenue!
So take a deep breath and let's redefine busy.
First off, how do you make time for the important stuff? You have to have a plan!
Now you are thinking to yourself, "Right that will work for about a half a day. Wait until I get some company leads that are scattered all over the place. I am going to be running from one place to another and that will take me off even my best plan!"
First off, in sales you have to be inherently flexible and chameleon like. My wife thinks it's cool that we transition from Harley Bikers to Country Club Golfers on the same day. In sales you need to be prepared to go from one extreme to another. One minute I am in the field on a parking lot with a facility manger, and a few hours later I am in suit and tie in the corporate boardroom. Stay flexible!
When you call to make an appointment qualify that lead. Ask yourself, where did this lead come from? Is this a past client? Ask when they can meet you on the parkinglot? When do they really need the proposal? Finally, will they allow you to deliver it in person?
The best athletes and successful professionals are disciplined people. They establish goals and focus on specific projects and/or the competition. Whether they want to admit it or not they are all about winning. You don't get a positive rush from fumbling the ball in a football game or finding out you lost the big order you were telling everyone you were going to get this week.
I just listened to an interview of a field goal kicker who missed a game winning kick. He was upset and hard on himself. He didn't make excuses, he took responsibility and then he focused on watching the film of what he did wrong and how he was going to get better.
He cannot go back and get that chance again. He missed, and he said he would have a short memory about the miss. You don't want the negative lurking around in your mind.
Discipline is mastering your profession. Being the best at what you do. Yes, it is pressure... and sometimes you won't win. We just can't win every game or close every sale. But we can try. We can give it our all.
Be honest. Have you been giving it your all lately?
A little secret — discipline and passion fit nicely together. Combine them and see what happens. You jump to a level of success that catapults your sales and earnings for both the company and yourself!
Start with an overall sales plan. Develop your objectives and goals. Have them approved by a team leader.
Be specific. How much do you want to sell and at what margin? You can figure it out (perhaps with help of your boss).
Figure out what you can expect for a closing rate and then you back into the number of quotes you need to produce in both quantity and dollars to achieve your sales goals.
Now create a weekly plan. Use a calendar and break up your time in no more than 30-minute intervals. I prefer 15-minute segments. Of course, some tasks will take you a better part of a day, while a quick phone call or email will be under five minutes. Still put it all in your calendar or CRM.
Make time to spend on business development and meeting new prospects. This means attending networking events and making cold calls. Follow up on your current clients and open proposals. Establish a sales process that works for you and your industry. Then you must follow-it vigorously.
At the end of every day you can see what you have accomplished. I never get it all done, but I continually ask myself a couple of key questions that I try and apply to every task.
"If I do this today how will it benefit the company and help me achieve my goals? Conversely, if I don't do this today how will it adversely affect the company or me to achieve my professional goals?"