Archives For franklin covey

When I drive by a restaurant with a line coming out into the parking lot, I may not stop and wait, but it occurs to me at that moment that I should try it – perhaps on a less popular day.  The restaurant with no cars on Friday night at 7, is obviously not doing well – my assumption is the food must not be good.

I’ve been writing about marketing concepts over the past few days, as I prepare for today’s webinar on effective marketing and demand generation.  It’s on my mind because it’s important – selling is hard work, and where marketing is lacking, the selling is much harder.  They are clearly not the same thing.  Marketing is much bigger; it sets the stage for the seller – it considers the market, the timing, and the needs your company and its offerings will serve.  It’s the overall strategy that determines what you will go to market with, what people group you will serve, and how you will get their attention.  The line in the parking lot is one small indicator for me – the seats are full and I wish I had one of them.

Yesterday I commented on urgency.  Limited seating is one way to seem urgent.  It’s urgent that I get there early to get a seat.  But you can do more with limited seating to create a buzz.  I once heard a speaker talk about a doctor, years ago in London, establishing a practice. He had very few patients, but rather than opening up his schedule to the world, he limited his appointment times at first so that when people called in for an appointment, it was harder to get an appointment.  With only a few times available, patients had to wait for a time he would be free.  Word soon spread that he must be very busy since it is so difficult to get an appointment.  His limited seating capacity increased the value of each seat.  Before long, his schedule was overbooked – he had created demand for his services through limited seating.

Consider scheduling your week like this.  Plan days for office work at the start of the week, and block out certain times for meetings and client interaction.  Rather than telling clients, any time this week, offer two options with specific times.  When I have a choice of 40 hours to see you, suddenly I don’t know where I can fit you in.  But if my choice is Wednesday at 4 or Thursday morning at 9, I can see right away if one of those times works best.

© 2011, David Stelzl

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


October 23, 2008 — 2 Comments

Thrashing is the term used to describe a degenerate situation on a computer where increasing resources are used to do a decreasing amount of work. In this situation the system is said to be thrashing. Usually it refers to two or more processes accessing a shared resource repeatedly such that serious system performance degradation occurs – the system is spending a disproportionate amount of time just accessing shared resources. When this happens, your processing power is working overtime, yet accomplishing very little.   

I also use this term to describe what happens when one comes into the office with too many tasks to juggle, too many papers on the desk, time constraints, and sales are not where  they should be.  Without a plan, we dive into email and begin responding or multi-tasking we call it.  The problem is, much like Microsoft Windows, we don’t really multi-task, we time-slice.  We spend some time on this, then some time on that, and lots of time switching tasks.  The results – well, the results are generally poor.  Lots of effort, little accomplished.  We begin thrashing and getting stressed out.

Have you already wasted the early morning hours of your day?  These are generally the most productive for those who practice time management.  This morning, rather than going right to email, go right to your calendar.  Figure out when the important revenue producing meetings are set, then look at the task list and figure out where the revenue producing tasks are.  Then prioritize and set some short term goals for the day.  Figure out one or two things that must be done above all else to make this week a meaningful part of the month.  Finally, get rid of tasks that don’t really matter.  DayTimer used to recommend creating a “grass catcher” list to hold those tasks that don’t really need to be done today or tomorrow – just sometime.  I find that tasks eventually fall off of this list when I realize they aren’t worth doing.