Calendar Blocking: The Salesman’s Best Friend
How to improve efficiency and productivity by creating blocks
Probably one of the most useful things I have learned to do over my sales career is to block off “me” time on my calendar. Calendar blocking will prove to be one of your most valuable tools for productivity, efficiency, and in driving more sales and exceeding quota. We’ve all seen him or her before: the rep that walks into the office phone in hand, on a call first thing in the morning, coffee in the one hand, in the other hand with a pen trying to write down something as they walk into the room. Completely frantic, and not in charge of their time, or their day. Don’t get me wrong, I love the buzz of a packed sales day, no time to breathe, e-mail hummin’ and phone constantly buzzing. But the reality is, to be successful there are things you need to do during quiet time.
Because I’m easily distracted and the fact that I’ve always been an early riser, I find the quiet time of early morning some of my most productive time. You may like the end of the day, lunchtime, or some other block during the day, but you owe it to yourself to set standing time blocks for specific sales tasks. My block is typically an hour and a half in the AM and an hour at lunch:
- Social media. I can just hear the old reps laughing at this one. I believe it’s part of every sales rep’s job to become part of their organization’s social media and digital footprint. I make it a goal to start off every day by reading something new about my industry, my competition, or sales in general. I post every day on LinkedIn and/or Twitter, and even in my executive positions I have taken the time to share every day and contribute to our corporate blog. Why? For me it fine tunes my sales skills. If I can talk intelligently and get the attention of just one prospect it’s well worth it. In addition, writing and expressing thoughts about your industry and product only gives you better interactive skills and the ability to talk intelligently with any prospect. In addition, Twitter is an amazing source of information and if you use it right it will become your morning newspaper and information source. Read our post on social sales techniques.
- Review existing opportunities and tasks for the day. I leverage a portion of my block time to come up with my battle plan for the day, how I will spend my time, and prepare for my meetings and calls. It gives me a clear view and helps me put some sort of structure to the chaos of the workday. In addition, I do some opportunity hygiene and dive into the CCRM to see where I stand with all my opportunities for this month the next month and beyond. I call this my gut check: how hard do you need to work to meet your goals? I find this representers my attention and forces me to be honest with what needs to happen today, tomorrow, and beyond.
- Emails and call downs. Next all make sure that all my follow up emails have been sent for the previous few days. We all know when days get super busy and you’re tired sometimes follow-ups get delayed and I never want to miss a meeting follow up. I’ll also send emails to those prospects that I have not talked to in a while. Then I usually time my blocked calendar space to end with a call down of current opportunities and priorities.
- Prospecting. No matter how hot your inbound leads and how fast the geyser is flowing, always find time to lay down some track for the future and prospect. It may be 10 emails, 10 phone calls, 10 in mails on LinkedIn or talking to 10 people at a happy hour but never stop prospecting. Block off specific time every day to do this basic sales function. I typically do this right after lunch and go into goblin mode, put my head down and just get it done. I love reaching out to all different types of people on LinkedIn, downloading a list from a list source, looking at lost opportunities and touching base to see if they’re happy with their product or trying to expand into an existing account. Get creative but block time for this critical function every single day.
- Digital networking. Take some time during every day to expand your network. Put effort into finding a buddy that you can refer leads with, someone in your industry that can be of value to you and your efforts, or even an alumni that may be in the same field or work for a possible partner. everyone that you touch and that touches you expands your dragnet and gives you another point of entry for an even wider network and exposure for add on sales. Here is a great way to work grow your sales network.
Block it today, and you will see the results.