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Do you have trouble getting started prospecting first thing in the morning? Are there always five or six distractions that take your attention away from the most important task you need to perform as a salesperson?

Do these seemingly important tasks give you cover and make you feel as if you are doing important sales work—even though you know once you start on them you will never pick up the phone?

Avoid these distractions; never check your email first thing in the morning.

Putting Second Things Second

I have no doubt that when you wake up in the morning that you are greeted with dozens of emails in your inbox. Maybe you check your email on your smartphone before you ever leave your house. Almost certainly you turn on your computer and go straight to email when you arrive at your office or sit down at your desk.

Bad idea!

Once you open yourself to the demands of the outside world, it is very difficult to bring your full attention and focus to the most important tasks you need to complete each day (avoiding the demands of the outside world is how I write each morning at 5:30 AM, when no one wants or demands my attention).

The most important task you need to complete each day is prospecting. You may need only one hour of prospecting to achieve the outcomes that you need in the way of opening new relationships and opportunities, or you may need five hours of prospecting. Either way, you need to put first things first, and email should not be the first thing.

But It May Be Important!

It is true that some of the emails you will receive will be important. There are a couple things to keep in mind here.

First, most of the emails that will greet you in the morning will not be important. A good number of them will simply be emails on which you have been copied so that other people can keep you informed. Much of what you will be being kept informed about will be completely irrelevant and a waste of your time.

Second, if you are concerned about problems, requests, or inquires from your existing clients, know that if something were really important, they would have called you on your cellular phone. It’s not likely that they would send a time sensitive request to your email.

Finally, the client requests that you do find in your inbox will still be there when you log into your email. And you are going to open your email in a few short hours.

How to Spend a Your First Two Hours

Instead of opening your email, take out your call list and blast through two hours of calls. You have already separated your research and your calling, so you can literally devote your full attention and focus to making your calls.

Two uninterrupted hours of prospecting with your email unopened is equivalent to something near 463 hours of prospecting with your email open.

At 10:00 AM, after two solid hours of calling, open your email. Archive all of the “for your information” emails. Respond to anything that requires a response. Delegate the tasks for which you are not the primary value creator. Then follow up with all of your client-related requests, giving these your full attention.

Repeat this in the afternoon, shutting down your email until around 3:30 or 4:00 PM. You will be absolutely shocked at how much your prospecting efforts are improved, and you will be stunned by how much more work you complete.

Email is a distraction. Close yourself off from distractions. Exercise your self-discipline. Prospect like you mean it. You can thank me later.


Do you open your email as soon as you get to the office? Are you opening your email even before you leave your home?

Are you compelled to respond to the emails or complete the tasks in your email after you open them?

How distracting is to be notified of a new email every time something hits your inbox? Are you compelled to divert your attention long enough to look at that email and decide what it means?

What activities are important enough that you eliminate all distractions and give them your full attention and focus?

Post by Anthony Iannarino on June 24, 2011
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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