One of the worst things you can do in sales is to hurry. Sure, there may be times when circumstances force your hand, but the truth is that most people who are always in a hurry find themselves in such a state because of poor planning. Years ago, when I did some work for a security company, I had the good fortune to work with a very tough, but wise man who taught me a great deal about people and management. He said to me one day, ‘We’re never in a hurry. Even when we’re in a hurry, we’re not in a hurry.’
He went on to describe how people who are in a hurry fail to notice important details, make mistakes, and get into motor vehicle accidents. I took this to heart, and it was really then that I became much more meticulous in how I planned out my days. Since then, I’ve tried to make an art of it, and though schedule planning will vary according to your own business needs, these basic rules might help you out:
1. Have at least 3 routes you can use to get to any meeting. Sometimes, even then, traffic can get you, but it’s always best to avoid the snarls that can be avoided.
2. Prioritize your more important tasks, and eliminate procrastination by putting at least 5 minutes into the task before attempting something else. Usually, if you can work at something for 5 minutes straight, you’ll get into a rhythm and you’ll be able to just get it done.
3. Give yourself an hour between meetings if you can. I use this time to do side tasks, write a blog post or two, catch up on paperwork if needed, or make followup calls. No matter what you use it for, make sure you have a plan for each between-meetings block.
4. Prepare thoroughly. If I have a meeting in a week, chances are I’ve got everything ready within 3 days of the meeting. If I have to travel to it, I plan so that I arrive early.
5. If a meeting is in my office, I clear my desk and bring other tasks to a halt when it’s 15 minutes to the meeting. This gives me a chance to check my notes, make final adjustments, and relax a bit. When the client or prospect walks in, I’m not just ready, I look like I’ve got everything under control, because I pretty much do.
6. Become a student of the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule. Essentially it states that 80% of our results come from 20% of our effort. Conversely, this means we have a tendency to spend a lot of time doing things that are either unnecessary or even counterproductive. In time, you can reduce that 80% to the point where you’ll find it easier to make time for everything that you do need to get done.
If you follow these simple rules, and some of your own making, you’ll soon be able to hurry less and produce more.