Time is our single most important asset. The biggest personal or professional mistake is to waste it.
Plan the day
My entire life goes into my outlook calendar. I set my appointments there, I block out personal time, and I set aside time to get caught up on orders. Essentially, what I am doing is planning my business.
I always plan my life a week or two ahead. When I get to work, I know exactly what I am going to be doing or whom I am going to see. If I am going to cold call customers, I know whom I am calling on, when I am going, and what I am going to discuss. When I reach out to current customers (by email or phone), I add them to my appointment calendar once we have a time set. If I know I want to meet with someone but I can’t get a response, I add him or her to my calendar with a baseball coach.need appt line item. Often, I will reach out to customers 2-3 weeks before we meet. Customers like to plan their business too! It is all a strategy.
When I make an appointment with a customer, I will follow up with a meeting request in outlook calendar. A meeting request blocks out time in his or her schedule and acts as a reminder to your customer. Not all customers are going to be organized and remember your appointment. I use the outlook calendar meeting request, but you can use a google calendar or any other type of calendar that will allow you to send your customer a request. Once they accept it, the meeting with you will show up in their calendar. Just last week, I was walking out the door for a football appointment and my phone buzzed reminding me (and the coach) of an appointment. Moments later, I received a call from him, “Can we reschedule?” I have been saved many times by this. That’s time saved!
Plan the week
Don’t overschedule yourself. You need time to process your sales. In other words, you need to get your customer’s order in the system so that the processing phase can commence. Don’t overschedule appointments so you don’t have adequate time to process orders.
On the other hand, “you are only as good as your next sale”. You should continue to push to get more sales. This balance is difficult and only comes with experience. I find that controlled chaos is the best description of the proper pace. This description means you always have something to do, yet you are not more than 2-3 days behind getting orders into the system.
As you grow in the team sales business and your relationships with your customers grow stronger, you will not need to spend as much time growing your business by meeting with customers. Instead you will grow your business by servicing the accounts you have, and incrementally getting new customers through referrals and new contacts.
New sales reps should spend 4-5 days in the field meeting with prospective clients. Reps who are 3-4 years and generating between $350-800K should be in the field 3-4 days per week. Reps over a $1,000,000 in sales will generally spend 2-3 days in the field per week. Obviously, the more business you write, the more time you need to process those sales. Time needed to process orders varies from company to company depending on what type of system is being used.
Plan the month
Seasonal planning allows you to focus on the right things during the right times. Don’t try to sell basketball uniforms at the beginning of the November. Instead, plan your business seasonally and be focusing on selling basketball uniforms in April. Plan this out. Know that you will be focusing on selling basketball in April, so that means you need to be finished up with football sales in March. Stay ahead and sell the right product during the right season. Typically the correct selling season 2-3 weeks after the sports season ends.
Planning efficient travel gives you more time to sell! Spending time in the car is not a good use of your time.
When you travel to a school, make sure to schedule extra time to just “run” into coaches. Stop by coaches’ offices and class rooms to just get a few minutes of extra face time. This could translate into a sale or save you a trip in the future.
Stop in at schools that are in the similar geographical area. If you have significant travel time to get to a school, make sure you plan the day in that area. Focus on the coaches who are in the selling season.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” -Benjamin Franklin