Archives For time management

expenseHere’s A Great Way To Save Time!

Track Expenses Online and Create an Easy to Use Report with Expensify

I  travel all the time.  Once again, I am sure to make Marriott Platinum this year. So how do I keep up with all of the receipts and expense reports?

This is a little off topic from most of my blog posts, but an amazing number of sales people that come through my training and coaching programs are held back by one of two problems. The most pressing problem is getting the attention of new prospects. That’s a topic I write often about. The other is time.  Having enough time to sell when there are so many emails, reports, meetings, etc. is a challenge.

Save Time On Expenses

Expensify!  www.expensify.com is a great little tool. Just about all of my expenses are reimburseable. But of course my clients need receipts in order to reimburse me. Here’s how it works…

  1. First, go to Expensify online and set up your account.
  2. Once set, download the App.  This allows you to do just about everything from your phone.
  3. Either on your phone or online, you can then create a new report.  Give it a name such as one of your clients or an upcoming trip.  Whenever I set up a speaking or training event, I create a new report for that event.
  4. Then, as I purchase airline tickets, rent cars, or set a meal per diem, I can either forward the receipt (to an email they provide,) such as a hotel bill, or create a manual expense, such as the per diem. If there’s a hard copy receipt you can just snap a photo right from the app and it will scan it for the relevant information.  Be sure to go back and make sure the software read the amounts correctly, and make any changes.  I find this is often necessary, but it’s quick and easy to do.
  5. You can email the report with attached receipts from there. But I am usually invoicing my client for expenses, so I download the PDF version and attach it to a Quickbooks email invoice.  Done!  And Now I have a record of everything in one place in case they client needs me to resend it.

© 2015, David Stelzl

Advertisements

Saturday was our last day – a few points worth noting from one of my talks:

We have three major resources at our disposal:

  1. Time
  2. Money
  3. People
  4. Opportunity

Time

How do you plan your time and what threatens to rob you of it?  Time management is a funny concept; can you really manage time?  Time keeps ticking, it never stops.  What robs you or your time?  I shared a funny backpacking story – a time I was out with some friends, heading out into the woods for three days.  When we started out it was cold and raining – it was miserable.  It was so miserable that we just set out as quickly as possible, without checking the map.  I thought I knew where I was going, but with our heads down and hoods up, to keep from getting too wet, we just plodded down the  trail, assuming we’d get there.  Over an hour of hiking had gone by and we were miserable.  Suddenly we spotted cars!  The highway was right in front of us…in fact, our car was parked just up the road.  We had somehow made a circle on a trail I didn’t know existed.  We were right back where we started!

There are many things that set us back; heading down the wrong path due to a wrong reaction, misinformation, lack of research, lack of listening, and stubbornness.  When we lack discernment we make unwise choices in hiring, designing, or engaging in a sale.  Fear throws us off as we continue to sell to the influencer, afraid to move up.  A lack of planning, jumping into our day without a plan, or heading into the year without one (something many business owners do).  These and other unwise choices cause us to waste precious time.  I spent time explaining exactly how I plan my year, quarter, month, week, and day…something we all need to be doing.

Money

Money is another resource.  Sometimes we see it also as a reward for making the sale, but then it becomes a resource to the business or to us personally.  There are many robbers of money – debt is a big one.  How much money are you personally spending on interest.  If you own the business and have small business loans, I bet it’s heavy.  If you have credit card debt is criminal – but it’s your fault.  Addictions – what is an addiction?  Something that causes you to purposely choose an unwise road to fill the need.  For instance, you don’t have a lot of extra money but you can’t help stopping at Starbucks each morning, so you don’t tell your spouse, but you need your fix.  This might seem like a silly example, but the addictions get bigger and more expensive.  The mind has a thing called the pleasure center – dopamine is released under certain circumstances, like when you eat some chocolate, giving you a sort of high.  It’s a good feeling and it’s normal.  But when people do things in excess, too much dopamine is released – giving you 3 or 4 days worth of that high, and it’s not replaced as quickly.  Over time you deplete your natural resources and you’ll spend all of your money trying to get back to that feeling by moving to harder substances.  This is what drug addiction is – it’s the far extreme, releasing all of your dopamine at one time.  This is why addicts need stronger drugs over time…the same is true of thrill seekers.

Relationships

People are also resources in a sense.  I spoke about the things that cut off these relationships causing us to lose clients, employees, and even spouses.  I wish I had time to give lots of detail here, but the major cause of lost relationships is character deficiencies.  For instance, arrogance, greed, and selfishness will rip a relationship apart. Marriage problems are often a result of two people bringing their character problems into a relationship that is just too close to hide them (like they did while dating).  Now, cramped up together in a jail cell of sorts, there is no hiding the bad.  Unwilling to yield and work out these issues, the couple cries, “we’re incompatible.”  It’s really just a battle of the wills (Not to make it sound simple, it’s not.  But it is a will problem, not one of incompatibility according to my marriage counseling friends) .  Demonstrate your arrogance with a customer and you’ll be reading about it all over the Internet tomorrow.  It’s not worth it.

Opportunity

Finally, I spoke about opportunities.  What causes us to miss out on opportunities?  Lack of money, time, and relationships – all of the above, can kill an opportunity.

This was a great conference – what are you doing to take your business to the next level?

© 2012, David Stelzl

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

Back to School

August 31, 2011 — Leave a comment

Back to School!

It’s time to get back to school…that means our kids are back on a busy, productive schedule, with goals and timelines.  But before that can happen, my wife and I sit down to evaluate where we are and figure out where we are going.  Soon activities, holidays, and school work will crowd our days, and if we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves busy, but not necessarily headed toward anything important.  The end of summer signals a time for strategic planning for all of use!  Don’t miss this moment!

Review the Plan

If you’re on the calendar year, you have one quarter left to make the year worthwhile.  Hopefully you have a plan your working through to build your business – prospects you’re working on, a pipeline your closing, quotas you plan to meet, and career goals to take your business to the next level.  If you don’t, you might want to get something in place for Q4.

Plan to Fill Your Pipeline Now

Once the holidays hit, people are hard to reach.  Sure, there may be budgets at year end that must be spent, but setting up a strong pipeline early in the quarter makes year-end a whole lot easier.  Get a call plan in place and start setting up meetings through September.  Make a strong push to get as many meetings lined up as possible right now, so that you are working toward closing in October, or early November.  Most projects can’t be invoiced until they are completed, so give yourself time to close and implement before year end.

Event Planning

Demand generation events are one of the best ways to build your business if you are looking for new clients.  There is still time if you start now.  It takes about 60 days to plan a worthy event, so that puts you into mid-October.  Plenty of time to do the event and execute the follow-up plan.  Follow-up could take anywhere from two to four weeks, so start thinking now.  Otherwise you’ll be into January before you know it.  You don’t want that.

Review Time Usage

The biggest issue in sales is managing time wisely.  Where do you spend it, who do you focus on, and where is time being wasted? Sales is a busy business.  Review your last three quarters – where are you wasting time?  It’s like your family budget – if you don’t review it monthly, you may find yourself floating along, working hard, but not actually accomplishing your primary goals.  Soon, you’ll look back and see that your time is spent, people are on holiday, and you’re hoping to make a come back next year.  Too late…do it now.

© 2011, David Stelzl

 

Great news!  The 2010 teleseminar series has been posted online at http://www.stelzl.us/business_strategy_TeleS.asp – and I have some very steep discounts for people who would like to sign up for the year (10 highly focused, content rich sessions starting March 2010).  I am also sending a FREE Data@Risk book to the first 10 people registered…discounts apply through January.

March 19 – Irresistible Justification
Assessments can be one of the most compelling forms of justification when used correctly. In this session, I’ll be showing you how to use assessments (both technical and business level/complementary and fee based) to accelerate your sales cycle for projects and managed service deals!

April 16 – Strategies for Hiring Great People
In the past 20 years I have hired hundreds of people and coached many in the hiring process. I’ll show you how to differentiate good candidates from great candidates and how to know before hiring, who is worth their wages. Obviously this is meant for managers, however others may find this beneficial in discovering what makes for a great interview.

May 14 – Balancing Work and Family
Raising seven children and home schooling, while running a business is no easy task. Let’s face it, when things at home are stressed, the burden carries over to your work, and affects your performance. Put things into balance and you’ll find greater success. I’ll share with you some of the secrets of making this all work.

June 18 – Success through Character
Character matters! Whether you’re looking for personal success or building a team, character can make or break you. In fact, it would be hard to find a personnel problem that is not character related. Great character is at the root of great success, so whether you sell, implement, or run and manage a company of division, this may be the most important topic I cover in 2010.

July 16 – Stop wasting time,
There are lot’s of great books on time management, but who has time to read them? We’ll take a look at planning your day, focusing your time and energy, techniques for refreshment, and how to keep up with everything you have going on!

August 20 – Keys to Great Sales Management
If you used to sell or if you own a business, you may suddenly be called on to manage sales. It’s a hard job to keep sales people motivated, rewarded, and accountable. We’ll discuss compensation, motivation, hiring, managing, and a host of things that will help any manager succeed as they oversee sales. If you’re in sales, please join us to gain a better understanding of what makes a great employee.

September 17 – Personal Branding and Marketing
Marketing and branding are quickly changing. Learn what to stop doing, and where to begin. Use of social media, article servers, email, and effective messaging that will change the way people view you and your company.

October 15 – Winning Proposals
Deals don’t close simply by a great proposal, however a deal can go down quickly when a proposal is poorly structured and presented. Learn both what it takes in writing as well as in presentation to make a great proposal that will boost your sales.

November 19 – Financial Stability through Recurring Revenue
In our present economy, recurring revenue may be your only hope. Whether you already have it or are building it, I’ll show you how to keep it growing. This is a critical part of your companies success in the years to come.

December 17 – Vendor to Adviser
If you’ve not made the transition, be assured they are calling you a vendor behind your back. We’ll look at moving past gate keepers and blockers, demonstrating value in board rooms, and moving to a consultative selling model.

Go to http://www.stelzl.us/business_strategy_TeleS.asp  and select the appropriate price in the drop down box for 2010!

One Way Contract

February 10, 2009 — Leave a comment

I recently read a telling article in Harvard review.  The author rightly points out that while the airlines are working hard to build loyalty through the point system, you don’t actually get anything for your business; save an exit row. That is unless you’ve managed to reach the very top of the pyramid.  Today was no different.  I boarded US Airways on my way to New York City, brought my own water bottle, and chose the seat A of the exit row just so I could have control of the blinds.  I fully expected a late departure, but to my surprise we left on time and seat B was vacant – this is nearly first class in my book. 

While clearing the Hudson River I noted how small the landing spot was for flight 1549 -The River looks a lot smaller when you’re picturing an emergency landing.  Truly a miraculous feat!

When all seemed safe, I breathed a sigh of relief and headed for baggage claim looking for my limo – who is supposed to be displaying the STELZL sign by baggage claim 2.  That’s when the “One way Contract hit me.”  He’s nowhere to be found.  So, calling the hotline, the attendant informs me that my driver will be 15 minutes late.  Meanwhile I am reading the back of my confirmation sheet for RC Limo Company in New York, which reads, “There is a 15 minute grace period (for the passenger)  After that  and hourly charge will be applied for waiting time.”  Notice there is no mention of a late driver.  Thirty minutes later my drive shows up making excuses about having just been notified.  What kind of customer service is this?  Customer service must always be central to the business – but in a recession it’s even more important.    Take note:  Do everything in your power to deliver quality.  Start by being on time.