By John Chapin
What are the daily rituals and habits of successful businesspeople? While the exact schedule varies from person to person, there is a general outline that works for me—and can work for just about all salespeople, business owners, and entrepreneurs alike:
6:00 a.m.: Wake up, drink a cup of coffee (if desired), and have an 8 oz. glass of water. Thinking of three things to be grateful for will help clear the head and help direct focus to positive thoughts. Grab a sheet of paper and write down a big personal or professional issue, then work for 15 minutes to come up with 20 or more solutions to it.
Read, listen to, or watch either something positive, something about business, and/or something sales related for at least 30 minutes. Write and review personal goals, then go over the major items (usually about six) that need to be accomplished during the day.
Do some kind of physical activity—walk, run, or bike—for 25 minutes.
7:15 a.m.: Eat breakfast. Mentally rehearse and picture a positive outcome to all upcoming calls and meetings. Shower and get dressed. Practice positive affirmations while showering and dressing to further increase enthusiasm to tackle the upcoming day.
8:00 a.m.: Check email, voicemail, and prepare for the first calls of the day.
8:10 a.m.: The selling day begins. It is time to be in front of the customer or prospect, or on the phone with them. If there are any unpleasant tasks to be handled—such as breaking bad news to a client—do them first to get them out of the way. From 8:10 until about 11:45, spend time on time-critical, client-related tasks, such as prospecting, presenting, and closing.
11:45 a.m.: Check for messages; return calls, emails, or other communications that need to be taken care of.
Noon: Eat a light lunch; eating too much can cause an afternoon slump.
12:30 p.m.: Return to prospect/client time-critical tasks.
4:45 p.m.: Check for messages and return calls, emails, and other communications that need to be taken care of. Do a general wrap-up of the client-related, time-sensitive tasks of the day and a positive and objective review of the day's events.
5:30 p.m. into evening: Exercise, eat a good dinner, relax with the family.
An hour or so before bed, work on non-time-critical tasks such as paperwork and follow up on emails, communications, proposals, etc. Read motivational or sales-related material, do some mental exercises (such as positive affirmations), plan the following day, and check messages one more time.
Those who are just starting out in sales or business may start earlier and end later. When I was starting out it was not uncommon for me to be in the office at 7 a.m. and leave after 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Friday was usually 7 to 5. I was also working for four hours or so on Saturday and a couple of hours on Sunday. The bottom line: You know what kind of effort you need to put in and what needs to be done. Work the hours to get it done.
Finally, stay positive, work hard and smart, and concentrate on results, not on being busy. The goal is to develop habits and rituals that lead to success—and that is done with a set, daily schedule.
Chapin is an award-winning speaker, trainer, and coach and the primary author of the gold-medal-winning “Sales Encyclopedia.” Find him at completeselling.com.
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