In sales it’s very easy to get caught up in the day. You have your calls to do, inbound calls, requests to manage, prospects and clients to visit, and meetings to attend. Before you know it, Friday rolls around, and you realize you’ll need to push quite a bit to the next week. You tend to lose sight of the big picture, and you may find it difficult to hit your targets as a result. I’ve written previously (you can find the article here) about how important it is to plan your day. Here’s how to take it to the next level: plan and organize your week to drive those sales through the roof!
Just a quick point before we begin: it can be very useful to split your target into weekly increments. This confronts you with the magnitude of the challenge you’re facing, but it also breaks that challenge down into manageable chunks. If you don’t hit target during a week, you know exactly what’s missing the next, and can plan accordingly.
I personally find it excessive and sometimes demotivating to split the target into daily fragments; some days can just be off, and they can be challenging to recover from. Instead, focus on the week or month (or even quarter or year) as a whole. By doing so, you’ll be able to plan for recovery of those days, and won’t be demotivated by one small stumble.
Monday mornings tend not to be the best for sales, though I’ve found Monday afternoons to be all right. This may differ for you, so go with what works. In my mind, this is due to two factors:
- It’s Monday morning.
- People are catching up on all the emails from the weekend, and are preparing for the week ahead.
The first point requires little elaboration: Monday mornings are nobody’s idea of fun. The second point, however, may. The people you’re trying to reach are decision-makers and C-level executives. You can be absolutely sure they’ll be swamped with emails on the weekend (as well as every other day, of course), and will have many, many meetings they’ll need to fit into their busy schedules during the week.
Instead of jumping right into calling (and hence rejection), you might want to consider doing the following:
- Evaluate the plan you made on Friday morning. Modify it if necessary.
- Prepare the activities you have planned. If you’re planning to start on a new territory or account cluster, research it.
- Prepare and/or execute an email campaign. First thing Monday mornings are fairly good for this, since your prospects will still be somewhat unencumbered.
Once again, if your prospects have no problems speaking with you on Monday mornings, go ahead and dive right in! There’s no time like the present to build that pipe. Just don’t forget the last thing to do on Monday: make a plan for Tuesday.
Tuesday through Thursday have always been my best days for calling prospects and closing business. Make a point of powering into and through the day. Keep the energy up, stay positive, and don’t forget to take breaks.
The key here is not to worry about anything, but just to remain focussed and positive. If Monday was low, that’s okay. If Tuesday isn’t working out so well, don’t worry about it. It’s just Tuesday; you have most of the week ahead.
This is the day to take stock of the week so far. Set aside some time (30 minutes to an hour, preferably just before lunch) to examine your performance so far. If you’re on or over target: awesome! If you’re not, you still have time to balance it out. If you feel like you need to take last-minute emergency measures, it’s better to have that feeling on a Wednesday, when you can still do something about it, than on a Friday morning.
Check how you are doing against your own targets, not only the ones handed down from on high. Make sure you’re achieving against those as well; campaigns executed, for example, or people visited. If you’re behind, use the following days to balance it out.
The purpose of the Wednesday tally is twofold:
- It’s better to become aware of deficiencies early, when you can still take corrective action.
- Done regularly (and rigorously), you’ll come to understand your own capabilities.
This second point is vitally important; in sales, you should have a very good understanding of what you’re capable of, both in terms of regular work and when you push yourself. When you’re given a target, you must be able to quickly judge whether you can realistically meet it or not. You should know immediately if the coming month will be challenging or not, and plan appropriately.
Furthermore, you’ll require this knowledge in order to push yourself and to grow. You can plan your own training and skill-building around it, and see how far you can go.
I’ve always been confused by Thursdays: they feel like Fridays even though they aren’t. Regardless, this is the final ‘golden’ day in the week, so make use of it. Don’t be distracted by people wishing it were Friday already; Friday will roll around soon enough, and you want to make sure you’re exceeding that target. Remember, in sales everybody does their own work.
Remain positive and power through!
Like on the Monday, you’ll spend some time planning the following week here. However, first you’ll power through the morning. In my experience, Friday afternoon is terrible for calls or visits; prospects are distracted, and are probably thinking of the weekend. It may just have had to do with my patch, though, so take that with a grain of salt.
The important thing to do on Friday afternoon is to plan the coming week. Do another analysis of where you stand, and give yourself a pat on the back for a week well done. Take stock of how you’re doing against the month, and plan next week. Make sure to include flexibility in there; meetings have a habit of simply popping up.
The final thing you want to do on Friday evening is to send out your email campaign. Emails sent on Friday evening have a high likelihood of being read on Monday morning, and will usually end up being among the first to be read.
While it may not seem necessary, taking the time to properly plan the week can bring you huge benefits. Especially when combined with a good degree of self-analysis. While you won’t entirely avoid the whole ‘getting caught up in it’ of your day-to-day, you’ll be better able to prioritize and execute your work.
The result is a better understanding of what’s required day-to-day and week-to-week, and a clearer idea of why you’re hitting targets (or failing to). You’ll understand the big picture, and will be able to adapt to changing conditions (whether internal or external) with significantly more fluidity.
As ever, I wish you all the best!
Do you agree with what I wrote here? Disagree? Did I miss something? Could I have done something better? Please let me know in the comments!