Create a Routine
After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
- Find your rhythm.
- Use your calendar effectively.
Now you know what you need to accomplish, but you still need to accomplish it – all while still prospecting, prepping for calls, updating your CRM, picking up the dry cleaning, feeding the dog, and so forth. How do you accomplish everything? Be more productive.
Productive scheduling is something you develop on your own, then evolve over time. Scheduling the ideal day, every day, may not make the most sense for you. Many salespeople prefer scheduling by the week, with specific tasks on specific days, like cold calling on Mondays, warm prospecting Tuesdays, demos Wednesdays, and so on. Experiment with your rhythm until you find what works for you.
Every nonnegotiable task should go on your calendar. What form your calendar takes is really based on your preference or needs. It can be an app, your CRM, or even a paper calendar. Whatever type of calendar you use, put all your commitments on it, breaking your time down into 30-minute blocks. Life often gets in the way, but if you’re self-disciplined about the schedule you’ve laid out for yourself, you can adjust without letting your schedule completely implode. And don't forget, this includes your time for exercise and family—always include enough life in your work-life balance to make that work worthwhile.
Block Time to Sell
Sales requires prospecting, preparation, and actually making that pitch. You need to block time for these during your day. Maybe you prefer making cold calls early in the day when you’re fresh and spend midday preparing for tomorrow’s sales calls. Find the pattern that works best for you and set aside the time.
Block Time to Nurture
While prospecting, preparing, and pitching are important, don’t forget to also schedule time for nurturing. Checking in with your existing clients on a regular basis is important for maintaining your relationships with them. Don’t forget to show them that you care.
During your non-prospecting times, respond to email and voicemail. Don’t let email interrupt your other activities. (See Productive Sales Without Digital Distraction to make sure the technology doesn’t get in your way.) When it is your time to check email, it’s important you act, rather than leaving things in your inbox. Stack’s 6Ds of Information Management system provides a set of possible actions you can apply to every item in your inbox (with Microsoft Outlook):
- Discard: Delete it.
- Delegate: Forward it or send as a Task Request.
- Do: Reply if you can answer the question or provide the information in less than 3 minutes.
- Date: If there’s an action in the email you can’t handle right now or isn’t due yet, use the Move to Task command to convert the email into a task (or the Move to Calendar command if it’s a meeting). Pick the Start Date based on when you need to handle it and click Save and Close to automatically move the email out of your inbox for a future task.
- Drawer: Use the Save As command to file the email on your hard drive like any other Microsoft Office document (or use personal folders).
- Deter: Unsubscribe from unwanted lists or add the sender to your Junk Senders list.
By developing and refining the routine that works for you, you’re positioning yourself to be more productive. But there are even more ways to level up your productivity, which we explore in the next unit.
- Scheduling the Ideal Sales Day: 5 Ideas for Structuring Your Time
- Working in Midair: Sales Productivity for Frequent Fliers
- The Simple Client Meeting Rules Every Salesperson Should Follow
- A Cautionary Sales Tale About the Importance of Deal Preparation
- One More Time: Three Effective Ways to Polish Your Time Management Skills