Sales Management Magazine recently published a study that indicates the average sales and marketing professional spends approximately 80% of their time on trivia. Activities defined as trivia include managing paperwork, spending time on the computer, focusing on the minutiae and mundane and not investing in the activities and services necessary to reach out into the marketplace and spend more time with prospects and clients/customers.
In order to get off to a fast start as a leader or advisor at this the beginning of 2016 and be more effective, ask yourself, knowing what you know now, what you would have done differently in 2015? Be honest with yourself and then…
Use these rock solid tactics to make 2016 year you’re most effective year yet:
- From day one focus on the future, not on the past. This will help you set priorities. Your highest priority is the things that you are going to do, not the things that you’ve already done.
- Focus on creating opportunities, not just handling problems. As an example, 47% of executives are in the office by 7:30 a.m., 78% are in by 8:00 a.m. By making it a priority to start your day earlier, you will have more time to focus on growing the business not just running it.
- Aim high to make a difference. By thinking about your vision and what you are trying to accomplish in the long-term, it will help you to set priorities and take actions that move you ahead in the short-term. Your goals for tomorrow will dictate your efforts and plans for today. Keep your eye on the future and the opportunities.
- Assess what it will take in effort to successfully hit your goals. Often when I speak at conferences many advisors and leaders will tell me about their business growth goals. I then ask, “Do you know how many calls you must make, how many people you must see, how much marketing and prospecting effort you must put forth daily to reach your goals?” Unfortunately, the answer often is, “I’m not really sure.” Assessing what it will take in personal effort in 2016 is essential to achieve your goals. Otherwise those “goals” are just pipe dreams.
- Keep things in order; organize yourself. If organization is not easy for you, stop using it as an excuse. Get an organizational tool today (online, standalone software, or even a paper activity log) that will help you to stay on track and move yourself forward. Organization will allow you to maximize your time and make sure that your efforts and priorities don’t fall through the cracks.
- Be willing to risk. Most leaders and advisors mentally hold their businesses too small because they have been told to set “realistic” goals. Forget about setting realistic goals! Instead, increase your own expectations, and set realistic time frames to achieve what everyone else thinks are unrealistic goals.
- Deal with the consequences of your behavior. In 2015 I spoke to over 100 women who had started their own companies and had built very successful organizations each generating in excess of $5 million per year in revenue. When I asked them what they felt was the key thing that helped them manage their efforts and break through the glass ceiling, the overwhelming response was that they were aware of the consequences of their own behavior. Remember, whether you do or whether you don’t, there is always a consequence.
- Stay flexible to maximize windows of opportunity. It is essential as you begin to execute your 2016 plan for growth that you build in flexibility. This prevents you from getting locked into a rut and being placed in a situation where you are not willing or able to be responsive to the marketplace.
- Be sensitive about the best use of your time. Is it really productive for you to pick up your dry cleaning during essential time? Is it really moving your business ahead to come in late once or twice per week? Would it make better sense to get an early start by having breakfast with a client, prospect or center of influence so that you are off to a fast start and energized at the beginning of the day?
- Set deadlines for yourself. Practice the behavior that Thomas Edison did to be effective in managing his efforts and to avoid procrastination. He committed himself to a deadline on every single project. This forced him to make better decisions and to push himself to achieve more in a shorter period of time.
- Avoid the things that knock you off-track. You know the things that are knocking you off-track – long lunch hours, under-preparing or even over-preparing for presentations, etc.
- Spend 20-30 minutes each evening reviewing your game plan for the next day. Kent State University studies have shown that by implementing this tactic you’ll increase your effectiveness significantly. It will help you get you off to a fast start every day as you execute your 2016 growth plan.
As a leader, marketing rep or advisor you have the ability to convey and deliver value to your community. This clearly is a gift. Implementing these rock solid tactics you will be much more productive in 2016 – a high priority for each of us because to dream of the person you want to be and not do something about it is to waste the person you are.