Success: everyone wants it, but not everyone gets it. What distinguishes successful people from everyone else? Maybe they’re better, richer, or braver. Or maybe they know something others don’t. I talked to some successful sales reps and learned a very important lesson. How your day ends up depends on how it started out. Here are some tips on starting a successful day that sales teams can start using right now.
Take Time to Make Time
Each of the reps I spoke with emphasized the importance of routine and preparation. Routines help with efficiency and lessen the need to make decisions. Successful, productive people like routines. “I like routines,” explained one rep, “[because] I do not like to rush. A rushed, hectic morning to get out of the house usually leads to disorganized day. Routines and preparation will help you do and give your best.”
Another rep echoed this sentiment, saying routines streamline the morning process to keep him on track and on time. Your morning sets the tone for your day. When you start the day behind, you never truly catch up (even if you technically do) because the tone of the day is already set at harried, frenzied, and off-kilter. Set a routine to help you maintain efficiency, timeliness, and sanity – all keys to success.
How early do you start your morning? If it isn’t before you go to bed, it’s not early enough. It turns out you don’t have to be a morning person to have a good morning. Successful sales reps set themselves up for a good morning the night before.
Prepare for your morning routine with a nighttime routine. Use your nighttime routine to both close out the current day and set up your next one. For instance, cleaning out your inbox every night before going to bed makes it easy to peruse new email in the morning. The clean slate also provides a sense of accomplishment and finality that helps calm your mind and welcome sleep after a hectic day.
Gather any materials needed for the next day—papers, brochures, directions, contact information. Lay out clothes appropriate for the day’s meetings. Set up the coffee maker and put it on a timer so it’s already made when you want it. Have your lunch packed and ready to go. A good day starts with a good morning; a good morning starts with a good night.
Make the First Move
A good sales rep knows the importance of preparing for and anticipating their clients’ needs. A great sales rep takes that one step (or more) further by proactively anticipating their own needs. From morning alarms to closing bells, be proactive in all things. Don’t wait for someone or something else to determine your day. Set time aside each morning to evaluate and anticipate your day’s needs before you set foot outside your home. This will be a lot easier if you’ve gathered your important documents and made note of pertinent meetings the night before. Try adding these to your routine:
- -Somewhere between hitting the floor and hitting the door, check your email for a quick refresher and any last minute items.
- -Skim Google Alerts for your company, your competitors, your role, and your industry, as well as any other industry-specific boards you monitor.
- -Reconcile your personal and work calendars so you can physically and mentally map out your day.
Speaking of maps, don’t let lane closures, wrecks and bottlenecks slow you down. A bad morning commute can completely derail your schedule and your success, if you let it. Tune in to morning traffic reports or use apps like Google Maps and Waze to check traffic patterns and determine your best route before you get behind the wheel. Making time to plan your day keeps you in the driver’s seat.
Keep an Open Mind
Now that you have your schedule neatly laid out, crumple it up and throw it away. Okay, not really, but do leave yourself plenty of time and flexibility to be able to navigate any detours along your day. Successful sales reps keep an open mind and are ready to roll with the punches.
One way to stay ahead of any stray one-two combos is to check the rearview. Recap and assess the previous day both on your own and with others. Use general and industry-specific software to monitor personal, company and competitor progress. Go over sales numbers, lead generation, meetings, closures, and other pertinent information before meeting with your team. After completing your own review, open up dialogue with others.
Two-way communication with colleagues and customers is vital in any interpersonal market, and sales is highly interpersonal. Start your morning with a quick huddle in person or virtually around a project management software to keep everyone on the same page. Short, regular check-ins help your team share and receive valuable insight that will help everyone stay on their toes. You never know, what happened yesterday might completely alter today’s priorities.
You Do You
Each rep I spoke with had their own particular routines and rituals, but one commonality stood out: no one needed prompting to remember how they start their day. They all knew instantly what they do each morning. Don’t try to fit into someone else’s niche. You have your own needs; you just have create a routine to accommodate them. Get to know yourself and the routine that’s right for you. Success will be just around the corner.