“I believe any success in life is made by going into an area with blind, furious optimism.” -Sylvester Stallone
How do you keep yourself motivated?
We can get so bogged down with emails, texts, social media and servicing our existing clients that it’s easy to forget to focus on the next sales opportunity. When everything is going well with your clients or after you launch a big new client, do you sit back and forget about what’s next? Ending your day short, starting later or taking major breaks throughout the day can quickly become habit. It can take a crisis-a large client leaving or some major change- to kick one back into the sales hunting mode.
I’ve never been one to be fine with the status quo. I remember signing a $3.5 MM deal in my early twenties. I didn’t even think to celebrate. The next day I set a target to close an even bigger deal, which I did two years later: 4 million smackaroos. Once one goal is accomplished, I’m on to the next bigger goal. I’m not saying it’s good practice to not celebrate the wins, but I feel it is very important to keep myself motivated to keep looking for the next deal. And what better time to try to get new business than after a big win? I’m happier, more confident and have contagious energy that prospects can sense.
I’m a very structured person. Ok…a crazy intense structured person. I plan when I workout, shower, eat, do my hair, floss and go to the bathroom (not really but almost). Knowing this, I keep myself motivated to seek out new clients by structuring my days with very intentional activities.
Here are the five ways I keep myself motivated everyday to seek out new clients:
- 2 – 4 hours of dedicated prospecting time: I block out time in my calendar every day for prospecting. When I first started in sales, I blocked out six hours a day. Now, given my other management duties, I block out 2 – 4 hours a day. This time is set in my calendar. I do not take meetings or allow for interruptions. I research, write emails, text colleagues to ask for introductions, send LinkedIn messages and, sometimes, I send various and sundry fun items via snail mail. I like to spend time prospecting on Sunday afternoons. I have a very high response rate on Sundays because prospective clients are on their computers preparing for the week. They get fewer emails on Sundays so mine really stand out.
- 1 hour of reading time: I think data and research are two of the most powerful tools in sales. I spend one hour each day reading ePublications to find interesting stories and information that I can send to prospects that will be timely and relevant. I also set Google alerts for my top prospects so I will be aware of any noteworthy news or changes that I can use to my advantage to show how my print software might be beneficial..
- Whiteboard top 10 prospect list: I was in charge of the Young Innovators Conference in early June of this year. At the kickoff happy hour, I was talking to the CEO of a software company that I respect. I asked him for his best sales tip. He said he has a whiteboard in his office. It lists his top prospects with notes and information that he has collected about them. Looking at the white board every day helps him keep the prospects real and relevant. Subsequently, I bought a whiteboard and pen for my office. I now look at my top 10 prospects daily. If I have the information available, I list their current print provider. I’m constantly thinking about how I can offer prospects different and better solutions.
- Be around positive people: I made a rule three years ago to cut negative people out of my life. I have since discovered that eliminating negative people is impossible (unless one is in the mafia). My new resolution is to minimize my exposure to and influence from said negative people. I now try to avoid (at all costs) our annual Thanksgiving with my extended family. Are all families this weird? I believe that having a positive attitude is one of the most important factors to achieving success. If I’m having a difficult day, or if I am forced to attend the family Thanksgiving dinner, I text or call a friend. Hearing a note of reinforcement reinvigorates me. I also get a lot out of being an uplifting person to my peers. It makes me feel good and motivates me.
- Gratitude notes: Each night before I go to bed I write down two things that I’m grateful for. It helps me to take my mind off the day and I like going to bed thinking about something positive. It reminds me to put things in perspective and not to sweat the small things. Gratitude notes also help me remember that many things happen that are out of my control and that I need to focus on what I can control. I put my gratitude notes on my computer so I look at them the following day.
I recommend that you make a schedule with intentional activities that work for your goals and lifestyle. The key is coming up with something that is sustainable… gratitude notes, a Whiteboard top ten list, and/ or a reading time might be a good place to start.
I’ve been told that it takes 30 days to make or break a habit. If you get in the habit of making it a habit to stay motivated then you may just close more deals. Warning: closing deals can be habit forming.
“I’m always looking for a new challenge. There are a lot of mountains to climb out there. When I run out of mountains, I’ll build a new one.” – Sylvester Stallone
This article first appeared in the Print Solutions Magazine produced by the Print Services & Distribution Association (PSDA).