Sellers must work to effectively plan their activities in order to accomplish the important tasks in their days, and since I’ve struggled with the same challenges, I’ve developed a new planning tool to help with that effort.
For most of us, it isn’t unreasonable to find that we have more tasks due in a day than we can possibly accomplish, and we can end up feeling like we’ve failed when we come up short. Unless we change how we do things, our days will feel like Groundhog Day, and we’ll repeat the same ineffective patterns every day.
If we fail to complete our to-do list every single day, we’ll end the day feeling like we’ve failed. Worse yet, our list will grow every day because it will include tasks from the previous day that we didn’t finish. Eventually, we’ll feel emotionally drained by our ineffectiveness.
Now, while you’re trying to find new leads, get new deals, and close new opportunities, you’ll likely be preoccupied with your looming to-do list.
You’ll never completely escape the stressful moments and days in sales, but if you learn to effectively manage the time you have, you’ll better manage that stress. Whether you’re selling cars or selling services, you’re at risk of being frustrated by the to-do list.
Identifying the process
I discovered in my own process of organizing tasks I was spending as much time planning the tasks as I did accomplishing them. The result was that I was going in circles. I had read a book by Kevin Cruz called 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management that prompted me to take control of my schedule. (I recommend you read it, too. It’s available on Audible.)
I started by writing down all the tasks I needed to do each day, keeping in mind that I function best when I keep my days broken up. Kevin recommended breaking your day into 15-minute increments, which was a great idea, but honestly 30-minute increments worked best for me. I planned my entire day, including tasks like reading a sales book, listening to a podcast, prospecting, LinkedIn outreach, follow-up with clients, or proposal preparation.
Creating a planner
I decided to create my own planner that specifically addresses my unique tasks. One side of the planner allows me to list all the different tasks I do and divide them into different categories. In my case, as a business owner, I have certain categories that other sellers may not have.
The top of each page has my KPIs which will help me generate sales and move the needle. They include new prospects, new opportunities, deals, progress. I list my top three goals or priorities for the day and things that I know I must get done. Some of them will be sales-related and some will be beyond sales.
For example, Mondays are podcast interview days. Other tasks on other days might include working with a team member to accomplish an internal task or meeting with a bookkeeper. Some days I’m writing a guest blog post for Hubspot or some other publication or creating content for social media. I also include personal tasks like appointments.
At the bottom of the page, because I’m also a consultant, I track my clients and the consultations I have with them.
On the second side of the page, I allocate time for each of the different tasks, in either 15- or 30-minute increments. I order the tasks according to importance because I have them divided by category.
Over time, I can track the categories and tasks that are taking a lot of my time. In some cases, I can push some of those tasks to other team members to free time in my own schedule.
As an example, I realized I was spending a lot of time handling emails and I wasn’t able to efficiently get back to people when I needed to. I trained my executive assistant to help manage my email account and invested a couple of days into helping her establish a process. Now she helps me distinguish between junk emails and those that require an answer. As a result, my admin tasks have diminished a bit.
If you’re thinking you don’t have the luxury of an executive assistant, it’s possible to find trustworthy people on platforms like Upwork.
Some tasks can be shared by other team members through the use of templates. If I need a presentation created, I can use a template from PandaDoc to have someone else create it for me. This frees up my time to focus on things that matter the most.
At the end of the day, I can note my actual accomplishments for the day and how much I was able to achieve. Based on those numbers, I can judge how efficient I was. Did I get to 70 percent? Strive to get A’s, but know that B’s are ok. C’s are no good.
I’m going to create a video to share on LinkedIn that will show you how you can build a planner of your own, and ultimately we’ll create a new planning tool for sellers, though our current one targets entrepreneurs.
“New Planning Tool” episode resources
Connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.
TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump. If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that.
Tools for sellers
This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.
Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.
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