I’ve written about the 4 habits to start your sales day in a positive, healthy and productive way. And yet, the real preparation starts at the end of the day before. There are three things that I hear from great salespeople that they do at the end of their sales day. You’re always going to have surprises but good preparation the night before can reduce your chances of this happening:
I’m a big believer in timely and proactive follow-up calls and emails. One of the biggest complaints that I continually hear about salespeople from their clients, is the lack of, or shabby, follow-up. Clients tell me that they don’t hear back from their salesperson or that they can’t reach their salesperson during the business day. Following up is mandatory for a successful salesperson…here are the follow-up basics:
- Return all phone messages and emails from customers within 24 hours or less
- If you don’t have an answer to a customer question within 24 hours, let them know the status and provide a timeline as to when you’ll get back to them…keep them updated
- Your goal is to also respond to internal company requests within the same 24-hour rule…as well as updates if you don’t have answers
- If you make a commitment, or promise, to a customer, keep it
I’ve been asked, “What about the customer request marked ‘URGENT’?” My thoughts are that if your customer phones or writes to you clearly labeling the request as urgent, then you obviously need to respond as soon as you can. However, I believe it is totally appropriate to set expectations with your customers regarding the usage of urgent. You can let them know that you will respond ASAP to an urgent request but, if the word urgent is consistently overused in a request, then it will minimize the value of using the word.
I’ve been reading a lot about the Stoic philosophy and one of the big takeaways I’ve had from my readings is the idea of keeping a journal. I’ve been told by some of my friends who are great salespeople that they also keep a daily journal. While this post talks about end-of-day habits, my view on journal keeping is that it is both a morning and evening activity. Now, when I say activity, I’m saying about 5 minutes of time in the morning (AM) and the evening (PM). It’s really not a huge amount of time at all and it can help you in both starting and finishing your day. Here are my daily journal entries, with a brief description of each one:
- 3 things I’m grateful for (AM) – Starting your day in a positive way by thinking about three things you’re grateful for…for example, your family, health, etc.
- 3 goals for today (AM) – I view this as separate from your daily “To-Do” list but others I know merge the two…think about each day as your opportunity for achievement
- 3 things I accomplished today (PM) – Hopefully, you will have more than just three accomplishments but write down what you believe to be the most important
- 3 things that would have improved my day (PM) – Not every day is ‘sunshine and roses’ and I always think about how my day could have been better…write down some of those to learn from.
My journal entries are very brief…I don’t want to overanalyze the day, I just want my initial impressions…5 minutes at most.
Next Day To-Do list
My last post talked about your morning To-Do list and now let’s talk about preparing your To-Do list for the next day. When I review my list at the end of the day, I take out what I accomplished to prepare for the next day’s list. I have a folder for my To-Do lists so that I can review, over time, what I’ve done. But many of my friends don’t save their lists, so it’s really up to what works best for you. As I mentioned last post, my To-Do list usually contains about 10 items, which I divide into three areas:
- Today – Need to complete by end of day
- Next 7 Days – Complete any time this week
- Next 30 Days – Work to complete, or make progress, during a period longer than next week.
At the end of the day, ideally, I can move items from “This week” into the “Tomorrow” spots or eliminate the tasks for the week or month. And, of course, I will have new items added to my list every day, in addition to working the existing list.
I believe that it in turning these actions, whether AM or PM, into my daily habits that I’ve become more organized and productive during the business day. In a world where we have constant distractions, particularly in the use of (or addiction to) social media, developing these daily morning and evening habits will give you more control of your business, and personal, life.
Try them and let me know what you think.