I’ve always thought sales has a lot in common with entertainment. Salespeople start their day a bit like Saul in “Better Call Saul” (concept originally from the film “All That Jazz”): https://youtu.be/ZydkosBjpI8 .
It’s very important to start your sales day in the right frame of mind and with a plan. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you arrive?
Here are four habits that help me get my day started…
20 Minutes of Silence
This is the most important thing you can do to get your day going. You’re most likely not going to get the chance later on as you’ll be working your plan and responding to others, so do this first. If I have an early morning meeting, I’ll get up 20 minutes early to make sure I have the time to do this.
There are a lot of different ways you can use your gift to yourself of 20 minutes of silence:
I use my 20 minutes for meditation but I have friends who do one, or more, of the others. I view this time as a ‘mental reboot’ for de-cluttering your mind to be more productive as you start your day. Try it and you’ll see the difference.
Read/Listen to News (national>local>industry specific)
I was in an early morning breakfast once with some clients when one asked my opinion of a story that had appeared in that morning’s Wall Street Journal…a story that was very relevant to our breakfast meeting. I hadn’t read it as I was rushing out of the house to get on the freeway to make the meeting. I learned a valuable lesson that morning…make sure and read, or listen, to the top news stories…from national to local to business.
As a salesperson, you want to be viewed as a resource by your customers. If you are a true partner with them, they’ll want to know what you think about a particular subject, whether a national news story or a new trend in your business or industry.
The three ‘must-read’ daily news sites for me are the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and (since I live in Southern California) the Los Angeles Times. You should substitute your own local news website for the LA Times depending on where you live. All of these have very good editorial products and easy-to-use websites and apps. Going through the top news and business stories in will prepare you for the day’s internal and external work conversations and, oftentimes, will give you a new idea. Some of these sites also have a daily podcast that you can listen to on your commute; ‘The Daily’ podcast from the New York Times is well worth the 20-minute investment…and there are many other strong news podcasts, too.
Finally, think about your own industry and make sure to read, at least, the headlines of your own trade journals. For me, Automotive News, Digiday, Mashable and Ad Age are important news sources.
Review To-Do lists
I like to have my “To-Do” list on my note taking app since it is then on my laptop as well as my mobile devices. There are many great note-taking apps and I find that Evernote works best for me.
My To-Do list usually has about 10 items listed in order of importance. The previous evening, I will have reviewed the list, changed the order, and added/deleted items from the list. We’ll talk more about creating the list in the next blog, “PM Sales Tips.”
I want to work through the list in order but be flexible to respond to ‘fire drills’ that happen during the day. However, I always want to come back to the list because I need to work it to prevent the list from ballooning from 10 items to 20 items. If you’re always ‘reacting’ to situations then you won’t be ‘proactive’ in accomplishing your goals for the day. Remember, your To-Do list is not carved in stone but is more of a living thing that will change often during your sales day.
Contact someone to re-connect
A good friend of mine gave me this tip and I love it. I try, every day, to reach out to someone that I haven’t seen or spoken with recently. I’ll go through my contact list, or LinkedIn, and send a note, or call, to get together for lunch or coffee. If you’re successful in sales, you are a people person…and this is a great way to catch up with your friends and acquaintances. Not only will you reconnect with these people but you will benefit from learning what they are currently doing as they may have new jobs, interests, and activities. As a side benefit, you may also learn about new sales or career opportunities.
My next post will look at some habits that are great for ending your sales day…and preparing for the next day.