There’s a common fault among many who sell…it goes like this:
Several opportunities look good, and so you start focusing on them, and counting on them, no longer prospecting very much. It’s like you’ve somehow come over the hump and things look good, so you let up some. Then the truth kicks in. Not all of these deals are real, and so you find yourself with much less in the pipeline than expected. Constant activity means, constantly generating new ideas, new leads, new connections, new-something that leads to business…
Of course there are the right activities, and there are the wrong ones. Those who get up last minute, jump in the car, arrive at the office, and immediately open their email and start reading and responding, are, in my opinion, missing the most important time of the day. Franklin Covey calls it Planning and Solitude. This may not seem like activity, yet it is. It’s a time of stepping away from your business and looking over it as though you were flying over your field, reviewing what’s there, what needs attention, and where to focus. Every morning I do this before diving in, to make sure my efforts are spent on the highest value tasks first.
Finally, there is a strategy. I came across this in a recent Wall Street Journal article – something I was actually doing, but hadn’t really looked at it like this. The writer writes about a recent trip he took with his daughter. They were working on times tables while flying across country, memorizing them. After about twenty minutes she just couldn’t focus. She was getting things wrong that he felt she knew. Be he kept pushing. When they finished, she was on to other school work and was working along happily, accomplishing a great deal. Why the change in performance. Her ability to concentrate on one topic was limited, but as soon as she switched to another, she had renewed energy. Here is what I do…in the morning I write down three major things I am working on – e.g. selling to a group I have planned to target, writing up a speech, and perhaps, putting together a workbook for an upcoming training class. All three are important, and all three take more than an hour to complete. As the day goes on, and as I work on selling for instance, I reach a point of saturation (sometimes sooner than later with certain tasks), and so I switch to one of the other two. If I simply try to push through on one task, my productivity goes down, but if I switch, I feel a sense of renewed energy. And so, through the day, I am switching every 30 – 60 minutes to one of the three important tasks. In addition, I may have some administrative things to take care of – low priority, but still necessary. For these I will simply create a Personal-Meeting mid-afternoon for a fixed block of time (say 1 hour), and knock them out. Then, back to my three top priorities. Try this…and keep the activity strong and highly focused on those things that generate revenue.
© 2011, David Stelzl