Posts Tagged ‘Time Management’

marshmallow test

“Just one more bite.”

“I need to get to the next level.”

“Sure, I will have another.”

“I just need to vent.”

These are just a few examples of that voice inside our heads that takes us from moderation and a healthy place to unhealthy behaviors leading to negative consequences.  We all, in some aspect of our life, deal with self-control issues.  It’s part of being human.

Discipline and denial lead to great things in life.”  – The life insurance sales legend, John Savage so eloquently advises on a complicated issue.  How can we obtain such a state of existence?  What is easy to do, is often as easy not to do!

The prefrontal cortex of a human’s brain (where self-control is based) is quite a bit larger in humans than in other mammals.  This means we are born with the ability to plan and even find ways avoid mistakes and solve problems. Of course, just like any other ability – some people have to work harder than others to achieve results or find ease in mastering one area of their life over another.

I remember hearing about “The Marshmallow Test” that came about in the 1970’s.  Psychologist Walter Mischel left children alone in a room with one marshmallow.  He told them that if they did not eat the marshmallow, they could have two later.  The kids who were willing to wait for the second marshmallow (delayed gratification) were followed throughout their lives and showed numerous positive life outcomes compared to the ones who could not wait and ate the first marshmallow.  We are not all born with an overabundance of self-control.

Here are seven strategies that you can use to help with your self-control issues:

  1. Be aware of your triggers and avoid them. Listen for that voice in your head and know your emotional trigger. You can train yourself to “flip the switch” by having a planned ahead of time as to your reaction when these things happen.  If your temptation is to take that extra bite, have an awareness of your trigger, (your automatic thought) and re-frame it. In other words, as you hear the trigger, you now say, “No thank you, I have had enough”.  Tempted to say something you should not, learn the trigger, it might sound something like, “they need to feel this” or “I probably shouldn’t say anything but…” Change that unproductive thought to, “Is this battle really that important?”
  2. Let go of control! It may seem like a contradiction but letting go of control of others can be a very healing exercise for you.  Being too controlling of others or situations is not healthy.  Relinquishing some of those controls can be vital for you and the other people involved.  Start out small – this cannot be solved overnight.  It will take a conscious effort on your part. Once again, the automated thought might sound something like, “I can do it better if I do it myself” or “They will screw it up”. Change that thought to, “It’s important I let them learn (or fail
  3. Understand your EQ (Emotional Intelligence). Truly get to know yourself.  Start to gain awareness of the impact of your words, actions and behaviors and the impact they have on others.  Ask questions of the people around you, even if you don’t want to hear the answers.  Once you are aware of your impact, you can begin to be able to respond appropriately.  Emotional Intelligence is listening to understand versus listening to respond.  Once you take time to understand the situation or the emotions, you can find the right response, leading to problem solving and relationship building.
  4. Create a plan. So, now you have self-awareness, but today you ate that extra bite, spent too much time on video games or crossed that line with a co-worker.  Everyone has a bad day.  Do not let one small setback ruin your whole plan.  Get back on the track, do not beat yourself up. In interpersonal relationships, recognize when you do need to take ownership and apologize.
  5. Learn to say NO. For some people this comes easy, but for others who have been trained from a young age to be compliant, it is very difficult to say no, even to the smallest requests.  Start by saying no to small requests from people.  There is no reason to explain or apologize – just say no.  You will realize that having this ability to say no is very freeing and reduces a lot of stress in your life once you truly learn how to do it. If no is not easy for you, practice saying things like, “Let me get back to you”, “Or, “Hmm, interesting, let me think about it” or “thank you, I have had enough”.
  6. Get an accountability partner. We all know that accountability drives results. Find someone you can trust and be open and vulnerable with and count on to help you versus judge you. This can be a friend, family member, or co-worker.  It might be someone with the same issues or goals. You will be able to help each other by communicating things that you might be struggling with.  It’s always nice to have someone in your corner.  An accountability partner will be sure to tell you what you need to hear, versus what you want to hear.
  7. Build your willpower. Knowing your “Why” versus simply focusing on the how, will be your guide.  Being mindful of why you want to do something is much more helpful when working towards a goal.  This will help to build up your willpower and have the courage to slowdown and stop unhealthy behaviors.  Many people say they want to lose weight, but often fail, but if an important event like a wedding or class reunion comes up, watch those pounds fall.  For me, it was the doctor trying to put me on medication that changed my eating habits.  Willpower means feeding your mind like you would your body!  Keep positive affirmations and people around you.  Knowing your why helps you see in pictures what can be.  This will help you stay emotionally attached to your goals.

In summary, self-control is a complicated issue. Decide ahead of time what your goal and strategy will be.  Write your plan down and refer to it often.  You could even strategically place signs around your house, to remind you of your goals. Never be afraid to get outside help such as counselling.

Life is short.  Start doing the things you want to do and being the person, you want to be now! Don’t wait for New Years Day for your resolutions, make it today.

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Look at your goal for this year. Divide that number by the number of months you have left in the year. Example, If my goal is $100,000 July to December in revenue, then I divide that by 5, I have to generate 20K per month.  Then, outline your prospecting list and identify where you might find this.

You can do so much more if you know and are tracking your ratios.  Consider call to close, proposal to business and you can in some businesses break it down to a daily goal based on the actual number of working days.  Be organized about your prospecting. In other words, Plan your work and then work your plan.

Get some systems in place!  I recommend you look at the calendars offered by Sales Activity Management at SalesActivityManagement.com.   While they market to the insurance industry, they have calendars for everyone. It was this firm that taught me the difference between a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timely) Goal and SAMMY Goals. But we all know, if the “why” is missing in SMART.  You will not reach the goal unless you also make your goals SAMMY (Specific, Actionable, Measurable, Motivational and Yours ) style!  If they are not your goals, they are simply an expectation people place on you.

Check back soon for more sales tips!

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There is a skill associated with persuasive selling that goes back to the times of Aristotle, Socrates, St. Augustine, Martin Luther King, and built into what the specific wording trial lawyer states to win over a jury. Those that are students of the skill are at the top 20 percent of revenue generation in their organization, generating 80% of the business. These people know there is no such thing as winging it when it comes to selling.

Yesterday, I heard a story of a gentleman who got into a sales opportunity. The position, in the medical field, was made to sound glamorous. He is up against a wall and simply hating the business, now hating sales and all his management is doing is telling him, “Get out there and do more”.  Why on earth would this organization even consider letting him waste good sales opportunities without giving him the skills he needs and set him up for success?

This reminds me of some multi-level marketing companies that tell me, we do not call our team “Salespeople.” Instead they are considered Independent Business Owners and the organization brings in leadership training and get them listening to Leadership gurus. Do not get me wrong – if you are going to build a team, you have to lead.  How can they be successful if they cannot sell people on the opportunity?

I am always wary of the call, “I am starting a new business, I want your advice” as so often that is the hook for the bait and switch. Yes, I am a magnet and an ideal prospect for multi-level marketing. Please know, I support multi-level marketing, I refer people for products and careers to those that might be a fit for the individual, my point is simply, we have to give people the skill of moving to the next best activity in the process and the sale will come when the time and the fit is right!

Use this time to sharpen your sales skills.  Reading articles, case studies, and my book (see giveaway in previous post) is a start. To Sell is Human by Dan Pink is another great one.  Three Value Conversations (multiple authors) really helps you with the large account sale.  Do not forget the old classics like The Greatest Salesman in the World and Think and Grow Rich.

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PuzzleBlink and before you know it, I is a new month. I went from puzzles, baking and cooking while slipping in a few hours of work here and there maintaining contact with friends and clients to waking up with a packed schedule. As we approach July, traffic is beginning to form during rush hours, restaurants are getting full; business is coming back to life.  Now, with that said, is my business all income generating? No. It’s the result of harvesting a few hours a day through the shutdown and now having those business talks, writing proposals, demonstrating new seminars for free and more.

The point here is, whether you are ready or not, the time is here to prepare to make your quotas, not lower them in the final quarter. If you are an entrepreneur or in sales, it is time to get ready because you cannot afford to miss one opportunity.

In the next few posts, I will provide details on these three tips for winning every sales opportunity:

  1. There is no such thing as winging it.
  2. Meeting quotas requires planning.
  3. Accountability is your friend.

For a free e-copy of my book The Sales Messenger, contact me immediately, as I am giving them away for a limited time only.

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Simply Do It!

outlookPriorityHave you ever had a day when you just simply want to go home? Or just simply prefer to paper shuffle?

I did. Just a week ago, I was avoiding making calls, just simply killing time until I felt it was an appropriate time to go home. My outlook task list had enough for me to keep checking off my list. The past due tasks were highlighted in red and buried within these past due tasks were calls to a few hot prospects. Hours went by and I simply chose to ignore making the calls – and the clock struck 4:00 pm. I felt good, just a few more minutes and I would pack up and call it a day.

Well, who motivates the motivator? I do! I told myself I could not leave until I called a three people on my list. One of the three called me back within 10 minutes of my message. We spoke; he had heard what we did for the referrals sales team and hired us on the spot.

What’s the morale of my story? Simply do it! Do it even when you don’t want to. Manage your activity! Even when you don’t feel like it, set a commitment to do some things in the areas that lead to making money. Make a simple goal for a few calls for appointments or even referrals every day.

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While independence with selling is a virtue, it comes with responsibility.

The accountability can be broken into 3 areas.

1.  Manage time in a way where you are doing high performing activities during key selling times.

2.  Monitor your activity.  If results are not where they should be, analyze what is happening in the sales process.  The numbers do tell a story.

3.  Remember the more you learn, the more you earn.  Realize that professionals, who read (especially books by experts in their field); earn more than those who do not choose to “read to succeed.”

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  • Does your business have fires that are getting out of control?
  • Are you afraid your resources are being squandered?
  • Do you have employee performance problems?
  • Do your managers do tasks that should be delegated to someone else?It is Okay to Be the Boss

We recently added a new management program called It’s OK to be the Boss based on Bruce Tulgan‘s book of the same title to the Peak Performance Solutions store (flyer).  In business today, the importance of leadership is stressed in order to empower employees to excel in the workplace and help the organization to: improve processes, cut costs, innovate, and of course profit. In the video below, Tulgan explains his background and some of the reasons why management is still important in business today. According to Tulgan, the biggest problem in the workplace today is an under-management epidemic affecting managers at all levels of the organization and in all industries.

Both his book and the training program provide a clear, step-by-step guide to becoming a strong manager that employees need. Bosses everywhere are challenged to: spell out expectations, tell employees exactly what to do and how to do it, monitor and measure performance constantly, correct failure quickly and reward success even more quickly. Tulgan conducted a work study:  “The Most Effective Business Strategy in 2009 was Increased Supervision and Management.”  Along with great leadership, Tulgan believes that good managers should use these management steps to set employees up for success as well as help them to earn what they need.

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Mary Anne Davis (aka Wihbey with  Twitter handle WebeSelling), the author of  The Sales Messenger  book  shares 3 minutes of tips on tiem management and hitting sales quotas.

KEY POINTS:  Plan your work and work your plan (from chapter 1 of book) and

Daytme is SELLING TIME, not adim time.

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Waking up feeling behind already?  Make the most of your selling and business time.  Focus on the Key Result or the High Payoff areas.    Try prioritizing your “to-do’s” for the day and then color code them.

  • Green reflects making money (high payoff)outlookPriority
  • Red reflects administrative
  • Orange leads to your long term objectives and goals
  • Blue is your own time off

I simply outline my tasks in Outlook, color code them; and if the red outweighs the green, ask yourself what can you delegate or I pick a few green items and get them “checked off”.

For more details on how the color coding system works, see my article:  Color-Coding Means Better Time Management in Business and Sales or guest post Color-Coding To Improve Work-Life Balance.

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goalDEFIf you don’t know where you are going, you may never get there!

The new year is the best time to determine what it is you really need to do so you can meet your specific goals.  There is only one way to do it and it break down your numbers into an achievable figure that is in front of you monthly, weekly and daily.  Identify your working days for the year (be realistic) and divide that by your goal. Set up your monthly tracking.

When you know what you need to do, monitor and measure it daily.  There is a science to selling and your numbers will reveal all.

Keep track of every dial, every contact, every scheduled appointment and every kept appointment. Then keep track of the number of your fact-finding appointments, how many you closed, and how many agreed to buy your product or service.  Tally this information on a form similar to the example template below.  However, this is not just another form to fill out. This information is vital to improve your sales process.



Appointments Completed Fact-Finding



You might also color code your calendar activities to ensure you are spending time doing the things that pay off.  To get a good start, focus solely for 90 days on the “key result areas” — things that will make you money.  Focusing on these key result areas might mean sacrificing some things that are already planned, but it is the only way to get control of your schedule. Otherwise your schedule will control you.

Next Time:  Look forward to our information on The Sales Process and what you must accomplish before moving to the next step.

** These sales messages are excerpted from the book,  The Sales Messenger by Mary Anne Davis.  The Sales Messenger is a back-to-the-basics guide on how to sell any idea, product or service.

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