Without a plan for your day, you are likely to waste time. Look at your calendar and notice how much white space is available today. Then look at the amount of white space you have through the week. More white space means you are wasting time and not making the money you should. Sales rewards results, and white space is the opposite of results.
If you are looking at a large amount of white space, I know something about you and what you do throughout your sales day. First, you look at your email. It feels like work, but it isn’t. Second, you open your browser and spend time on the internet. Unless you are researching a client and their industry or building a list of prospects, you are wasting time.
What causes you to waste time is that you didn’t plan and prepare for your sales day. Had you planned each hour of your day, you would have far less white space on your calendar. You want to start your workday knowing what you want to achieve by the end of it. When you schedule all the important things you need to do, you don’t waste time looking for ways to fill your day.
You Can’t Manage Time
Time isn’t something you can manage or change. It clicks forward a second at a time, without pause. Time never slows down and never stops its march. You can, however, manage what you do with your sales day. In The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, the first chapter is all about self-discipline. Your role in sales provides you with more autonomy than most other roles in business. Without managing yourself, you will never produce the results you are capable of.
Walter Mischel was a Stanford professor and a psychologist. You know his work if you have seen videos of the experiment where a child is offered a marshmallow that they can eat now, but that they can get a second one if they are able to wait. The children who could delay gratification had better life outcomes. This study showed that economic background was a factor.
How You Make Money in Sales
Every good thing that ever happens to a salesperson starts the same way: scheduling a meeting with a stranger. A stranger has a problem producing the results they need, so they seek help from someone who is an expert and authority on the issue.
You make money in sales by conversing with your prospective clients in a way that causes them to prefer to buy from you instead of one of your many competitors. Maybe you’re up against a salesperson with little white space on their calendar. Any time you are not engaged in some sales activity, you are losing time you will wish you had.
First Things First: Prospecting
Always do what is most important first each day. Since your results require meeting a stranger, always start your day by making calls to schedule meetings with your strategic targets, then with prospects that are not as large or important as your dream clients.
Most salespeople can schedule enough first meetings by spending 90 minutes prospecting each day. Before you open your email or your browser, pick up the phone and make your calls. There is little chance there is a deal in your inbox, but even if there is, it will be there once you finish your prospecting block.
Second Things Second: Moving Deals Forward
You have created several deals. These deals will not close themselves, which means you need to move them forward. You should already have meetings with these prospective clients because you set them up at the end of your previous meeting. This is not a best practice; it is the only practice.
If you struggle to secure the next meeting, pick up The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the 10 Commitments That Drive Sales. This book will provide you with a framework and language choices that will help you go from one meeting to the next without breaking your momentum. The number of meetings you have on your calendar, the greater your income will be
The Third Time Block: Other Priorities
You can use the third block on your calendar to communicate with your existing clients. You might also need to do work on presentations or proposals, or prepare for a meeting. Determine which of these activities you need to work on, and use this chunk of time to work through them.
The Rest of Your Sales Day
So far, we have filled three blocks of time. If you blocked out 90 minutes for each block, your calendar is full for 4.5 hours of your day. That leaves you with 3 hours for anything else you must do. I say 3 hours because we will close out the day with a final time block.
The Fourth Time Block: Plan Tomorrow Today
In the last half hour of your workday, plan for tomorrow. This gives you a head start, as you will not spend time wondering what you should do and when. Trying to plan your day as it unfolds leads to wasted time. Successful people plan their days and weeks ahead of time.
How to Manage Your Sales Day
The most successful people are disciplined regarding what they do with their time. You can leave spaces between these blocks for email and voicemail or anything you might need to do. Prioritizing the sales activities that generate the results you need to produce.
This approach will ensure you have enough opportunities, time for meetings, time to take care of your clients and time to plan for tomorrow. If you are serious about your success in sales, you can plan the entire week on Sunday, another best practice of successful people.