In this very first CAP Equation Blog for 2015, (for our complete library go to: CAP Equation Blog Archive) we are going to challenge you to turn PROFESSIONAL by having a FULL calendar.
This article is less about time management and much more about calendar management—more about making a decision of what your calendar is going to look like each week.
If you are in sales or leadership, (especially commission sales or network marketing) you’ll have to make a decision, at some point, if you’re willing to do what’s necessary to jump to the other side. In my upcoming book, The CAP Equation, A Foolproof Formula for Unlimited Success in Sales, I dedicate a chapter to a discussion about the odds—an explanation of the Pareto Principle. You’ve probably heard of this as the 80/20 Rule, or the Law of the Vital Few.
The “other side” that I’m referring to is the 20%.
For our needs, this Pareto Principle will suggest that the top 20% in sales share 80% of all the commissions and rewards. This means the inverse is true…the 80% have to fight over the 20% that’s left over.
Nobody in sales would admit to being satisfied being a cellar dweller, the 80%, groveling over the scraps. However, if this is true, why do so many of the 80% have indifferent calendars? Why do so many otherwise talented and well-meaning sales people have calendars that don’t enable them to get to the other side—the 20%?
It’s my opinion that most amateurs never turn professional; never get to the other side, because they haven’t settled on one, very vital TRUTH…
…if it’s not in your calendar, it doesn’t exist!
A lot of sales people wander, ill-fated, into their work week unemployed—with very little knowledge of how the pros build their calendars. They enter their week with great hope that qualified appointments will magically appear in their calendar, but as you may know…
…”HOPE” is not a strategy!
Underachieving salespeople have no crystalized knowledge of what their calendar and work week should look like. They operate a FOOL’S calendar, a hit-or-miss calendar where any distraction can easily take over and fill up their work day.
The “fool’s calendar” came from a conversation with a mentor early in my career. It really wasn’t a conversation. It was more like a browbeating. It went down in a Denny’s restaurant after an early Monday morning breakfast meeting. I opened up my paper calendar and he glanced at it and saw the lack of appointments. He yelled out, “Oh my god, I’ve gone snow blind!” I asked him what he meant, and he pointed at my spiral bound calendar. “From all the white in your calendar…I’ve gone snow blind!”
As walked to the parking lot he established that I had ZERO confirmed appointments for the week. I’d wandered into the week with a lot of hope and no plan. The public dress down inside Denny’s was bad enough, but when we got to his car, he said this:
“You’re either going to have a FULL calendar or a FOOL’S calendar…and I don’t mentor FOOLS, so you’ll have to decide which it’s going to be.”
My mentor and I had some additional conversation that morning, but his message was quite clear. I would have to maintain a FULL calendar each week or he wouldn’t continue coaching me.
The questions I’m often asked pertaining to this subject—what a calendar should look like—usually revolve around the stimuli to do the things that are tougher to do in sales. The questions are phrased like:
“How can I inspire myself to get out and prospect more?”
“How could I persuade my team to set more appointments?”
Of course, these questions spin around the very nebulous concept of external motivations. Worse, the way these questions are asked indicates that the person asking them actually believes that prospecting or setting appointments are tasks that happen because we FEEL a certain way at a certain time.
Excuse me, but, B___ SH__!
The way your calendar gets FULL and stays full is that you decide up front what your calendar is going to look like. Then, you make a solemn commitment to yourself to build it that way. It really comes down to settling on which type of calendar you’re going to have and then hard wiring your priorities for the upcoming week.
In an earlier CAP Equation Blog we learned that there are only 3 TOP PRIORITIES for most sales people. If you haven’t had a chance to review that article, please click on the link below:
Your priorities may differ slightly, however, in the referenced article we implored you to keep your prime time FULL of the things that you consider priorities.
I have to warn you, even if you enter the week with a plan, a whirlwind of crap will still fly into your face. Stuff that seems important will make its way into your schedule involuntarily. This can happen hourly, even by the minute, if you allow it. However, if your calendar is already full of the right things and you’re committed to staying the course, you won’t have time to engage in these low value undertakings. You’ll be following your calendar and…
…managing yourself inside of pre-planned, high priority blocks of time!
If you hard wire and FILL your calendar with priorities for the upcoming week, then you’ll have a conscious plan that you can work unconsciously. In other words, if you come into the work week with a structured calendar, then you don’t have to think about what you’re going to do, or worry about how you FEEL at that moment.
You can turn off your faulty emotions, switch on your autopilot and simply let your calendar be the boss!
If you or the people you manage have to FEEL a certain way or be MOTIVATED or INSPIRED to cold call or set appointments, you are screwed!
Let’s assume I’ve sold you on the concept of having a FULL calendar. Let’s go one step further and commit the process to a foolproof checklist:
FULL CALENDAR CHECKLIST (Weekly cycle)
- First – Make a conscious decision to have a FULL calendar
- Sunday – Set aside time to carefully plan your upcoming week
- Identify your TOP PRIORITIES for the week: (example)
- Writing or fulfill an impending order (a pending sale/enrollment)
- Presentations to decision makers (appointments you already have set-up)
- Prospecting (blocks of time for cold calling or follow up)
- HARD WIRE those PRIORITIES/appointments into your prime selling time
- Monday – Turn OFF your emotions and begin doing the work in your calendar
- REJECT distractions (only do low value tasks on non prime time)
- Wednesday – Do a MIDWEEK check-up (ask your coach for help if needed)
- Friday – REVIEW your week (note corrections/adjustments for following week)
- Sunday – REPEAT the process (Set aside time to plan your NEXT week)
Top earning sales professionals are fanatical about their calendars. Their calendars are always FULL unless they’re on vacation. The 20% know that their income is dependent on staying attentive to the things that matter.
True sales professionals enter their week with airtight calendars. They have a conscious plan and then they do the work in their calendars unconsciously, devoid of how they feel at the moment.
Pros don’t let the white noise win…
they win because they have FULL calendars!
At the beginning of this article I mentioned that I was going to challenge you to turn PROFESSIONAL by having a FULL calendar. It starts with a simple decision and can be accomplished using the checklist.
Consider yourself challenged.
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