Why isn’t the new business coming in? I bet you’re not selling.
Whether you’re a full-time sales person or a freelancer trying to land a steady flow of projects–you’ve got to set aside time to sell. And you have to avoid confusing activity for action.
I assure myself that I’m giving sales it’s due time by guarding it. Time blocking is not a new technique, but it’s effective. Unfortunately, for all of its proven effectiveness, it’s rarely practiced.
Here are a few of the notorious silent killers of a dedicated sales time block…
Prospecting and Researching
Although critically important to sales success, prospecting and researching new clients is not selling. Don’t do this during your sales time.
Give prospecting it’s own block of time in your schedule. Make it productive with a spreadsheet or CRM software open and ready to capture new leads and opportunities as you discover them. Have a notepad handy to capture ideas and themes you want to pursue in your next sales conversation.
Creating Sales Collateral
Again, important, but it’s not selling.
I love writing sales copy and producing short tight presentations to give my prospects and leads. It is useful in propelling a warm prospect across the finish line and it helps me refine my pitch. However, it’s not a pitch!
Writing copy, building PowerPoint presentations, creating one-pagers are all excellent ways to tune and tighten you message. Give it due time in your schedule, but don’t confuse it with selling.
Organizing Lists and CRM Systems
I think this is the number 1 killer of sales time. Sifting, sorting, and organizing your prospects and leads. It gives you a false sense of productivity and confidence that you have opportunities, but it’s not going to move your numbers up to your quota.
Getting your sales funnel in order can make your goals and objectives more visible. It can also help you be more productive and informed when you are selling. However, it is not deal making.
When your selling time block comes up have your list ready. Don’t fuss with CRMs or spreadsheets–talk!
This is Selling: Calling, Emailing, and Appointments
When the selling bell rings–yes, I think it should be an alarm–you should be at the starting line ready to sprint off the line.
No finding a list of prospects. No gathering sales notes or scripts. No fiddling with your contact database.
Have prospects ready and in front of you. Be prepared to trigger and start a conversation. This can take a variety of forms.
1. Calling – This should mean a list of names and numbers ready to dial. I also recommend a script prepared to guide you in selling to the types of prospects you have queued up.
2. Emailing – Again, your list should be curated and ready to go. Like calling, a script or template can really help improve your success rate in emailing and following up with prospects in your sales funnel.
(Note: I do NOT recommend a system of “cold calling” via email. In my experience, this is always a counterproductive strategy.)
3. Appointments – This is the best way to fill your sales time. If you can schedule face-to-face or telephone appointments you are most likely moving the ball forward on a deal. This frames yours and your prospects mind’s to close a deal.
Set more appointments.
One final note: I think sales people often overwhelm themselves by thinking they always need to be selling. I disagree. Selling is exhausting mentally, which transforms into physical and emotional exhaustion. I encourage focus and balance to hit your quota with consistency.
I set three one hour blocks per day. Scheduling short, defined bursts allows you to be ready and focused to hit every sales time block with maximum intensity. Schedule it, guard it, practice it and you will hit any quota thrown in front of you.
Join the discussion: How do you guard your sales time?