Pinnacleceo's Take

Experiences put to paper…

Archive for the month “April, 2013”

Get SMART With Your Time!

There are a lot of great articles, tips, insights and concepts when it comes to time management and I will be the first to confess, that I need all the help I can get.  I’ll be honest; I am not the best person at details. I am one of those guys who like to get out there and stay out there and for that reason; I have a lot of help from those whose talents I am very thankful for. Because of this, I really have be focused with my approach to time.  I have learned that there is no approach to time management that will be of any value if it is not an approach that I unconditionally believe to be something that will help me, and that it is something that I will commit to adhering to for the long haul.  If these elements do not exist, then, well…I’m just wasting my time!

So to help you with the approach you should take regarding your time, let me begin with a question.  Ready?  “What must you accomplish today that will bring value to those you serve and to yourself and…how will you make it happen?   Your approach to this question will determine how SMART you are regarding the precious commodity of a 24 hour day.

For those who have read any of my previous posts, you know I am big of VALUE.  It is not just a word to me.  In my business, if I want to stay alive, I must provide value.  If I fail to do this, my business life will die. I must be viewed as separate, result driven and I must deliver on every promise I make to the best of my ability every day.  And, just like you, I am awarded 24 hours of everyday.  If your livelihood has anything to do with running a business or sales practice, or managing people or taking care of your family or…on and on (get the picture?) in order to bring VALUE to all, you must be SMART with your approach to handling time.  Okay, enough of the intro. Here is the SMART approach to time management.

When considering a time management approach, ask yourself if the approach effectively meets the following criteria:

S: Systematic:  Does the approach have specific steps and processes that can be followed.  Is there an actual system or roadmap to dealing with and/or avoiding a chaotic day?  My systematic approach involves specific steps to allocating, delegating, concentrating and motivating tasks to an efficient end result.

M: Manageable: Does the approach have the component of control and offer something you can actually use? I’m not talking about just a planner or a calendar to manage your day. I’m talking about how to manage resources available to you that you can utilize and monitor to provide value at its most efficient output; for example; people, special skills or even technology to help accomplish your goals. If your approach is not something you have control over, if it is hit-n-miss, don’t waste your time.

A: Accountable: Does your time management approach have a measurable end result? A risk or reward for performing or not performing the task? There must be a point where you end the process or complete the task.  If you never hold yourself accountable, never have a deadline, you will find more and more ways to put the task off, especially if it is something you do not look forward to doing! Accountability is perhaps the most important element to achieving a valuable, productive day.

R: Repeatable:  Are the applications to your time management approach effective time and time again? A great measure of success to managing time is the ability to put in place concepts or habits that maximize your efforts. Examples of repeatable events include how you divide your day into getting prepared, what you do when your business doors are open and even how you take time for yourself. 

The point to the “repeatable” is that we need to develop great habits to our approach to time management.

T: Transportable:  The final component to being SMART with our time is the element of transportability; can our approach work in all phases of our life.  “We have never been busier than we are now!” I know you have heard this or even said it yourself.  I have.  I thought when my youngest son left home things would slow down…WRONG, they just changed.  A great time management approach will provide concepts and tools that you can use in any phase or stage of your life.

So there you have it, a Systematic, Manageable, Accountable, Repeatable, Transportable (SMART) approach to time. While it is not rocket science, it is important to understand how special time is and how each of us needs to cherish it to bring value into this world every day.  It is my sincere hope that each of us will strive to use our time so WISELY that we favorably influence the lives of every person we come in contact with…and because we do, WE are the better for it!

An Old School Approach Part 2: When Seeking the “Yes”, Search for an Audience, Not an Answer

Early in my career I spent countless hours going over prospect files and analyzing how I knew them, what they might need, what they might already have and how many times someone else had already approached them. Once I made this highly ineffective analysis I was not too eager to move forward to analyze yet another prospect file in order to get closer to a positive prediction of the coveted yes.

Does the above scenario sound familiar?  If so you are not alone. Look, I know selling can be difficult.  We lay it on the line every time we pick up the phone, knock on a door or send an introductory letter and it would be great if we had a way to predict which of our prospect files would reap the “yes”. Unfortunately…we don’t.  So now that we have that out of the way and if you are struggling with the above scenario regarding your prospecting efforts, allow me to share some wisdom with you…seek an audience, not an answer.

If you are always looking for a way to predict an answer, then I want to challenge you to change your entire approach. Instead of trying to determine what might or might not be said, look for an audience, an opportunity!  This is all we are given, a chance to demonstrate what we do and how we can help.

I have discovered in my latter years of selling my services that if I can master the fundamentals of great selling skills, be genuine and transparent and put the needs of clients first and deliver a high quality service ,then what I really need to be successful is a consistent flow of audience participation and the “yeses” will take care of themselves.

I felt compelled to share this because I am finding so many sales folks of late trying to sift through prospects, talking themselves in an out of making contacts rather than gaining personal appearances  Now I know it is important to qualify your prospects.  I know we need to maximize our efforts. That is not what I am saying. I am saying believe in who you are and what you do so that all you need to be successful is someone to see.

Believe me; I have had my share of “no’s”.  I know that not everyone will say yes. So what keeps me going is the constant drive to gain an audience for my next opportunity.  So now when I hear “no” I immediately look for the next opportunity for someone to say yes, and the next and the next…get the picture?  The sooner you grasp this concept, the more successful you will be.  Speaking of success…

None of us are entitled to success; we are entitled to pursue success and that comes with opportunity and how we handle failure.  When I fall short of my goal or when things don’t go as I planned, the only way to change my course is based upon what I do, not someone else.  I spent a great deal of time and energy prospecting in a particular industry and after contacting all my initial prospects, it became clear there was not a match for what I offered and what they needed. To be truthful, they could get what they needed regarding training for free…a price I could not compete with. Rather than blaming or giving up, I simply found another industry or audience to prospect to and it has worked out quite nicely. I have found many more since!  I think you get the point; seek the opportunity, seek an audience. Nothing fires me up more than someone saying yes to seeing me and jotting it down on my calendar! When they agree I don’t immediately try to predict how the meeting will go,  I get ready for the opportunity because I know if they have a need or if I can create the desire for what I do, more times than not, they will say…you got, YES! Every day that has an appointment, has an opportunity!

So as I wrap this up, I want to encourage you if you are experiencing what I did early in my career, grasp the concept of seeking an audience rather than trying to predict an outcome, consistently seek the opportunity and the “yeses” will come. Finally make your day everyday by sharing with someone who you are and what you do because it does not get any better than that.

Successful selling everyone!

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