Benchmark Business Group

Color Coding Your Wins

November 21, 2017

This insight is Part III in a four part series that will be released through the month of November.  At the end of the article there are additional links to the remaining insights.

Color Coding Your Wins
This month, we've been discussing creating sales "wins" through activity and intentional imbalance. For every sales person it's important to know what your wins are and understand the intentional imbalance your schedule needs to have to meet those wins. Yet, we know that for many sales people scheduling their time to create true wins is difficult. 
The number one disruption to a sales person's time management seems to be face-to-face activity. If a client or lead calls and asks for your time, you're probably going to make it happen. It's not surprising as most sales people enjoy the human interaction side of their job. It's what you excel at, it's fun, and it leads to you getting paid. Saying "yes" to a face-to-face appointment clearly isn't negative, but that doesn't mean it can't have negative side effects. Especially if you think about the small "wins." If you say yes, it means whatever you planned to do won't get done. Again, the easy out is to rationalize this and think, "Yes, but I'm making a sale." 
We have two words: Peaks and Valleys. If you keep disregarding your time, you'll end up with few closings, an empty pipeline, and an uphill battle to finish the race and hit your goal.

The good news is, we're not fans of "either/or" thinking. We are fans of "and" thinking. It's not:
"I have to either meet with this client" OR "spend time prospecting." 
Instead, the way of thinking has to change to:
"I have to meet with this client AND I need to accomplish my win today by prospecting."
There is a simple way of managing your schedule so that your plan doesn't go to waste, and you're also free to be flexible to meet the demands of your clients and leads. This happens by making a small adjustment in how you see and monitor your time. It's not about hours or closings. Productivity is a must, but we can all be busy without creating a win. Instead, you must make a switch to monitor your time in relationship to what your win needs to be that day.
Every day there are certain activities that are set in stone such as: face-to-face meetings, personal meetings, and internal meetings. There are other vital activities which may never be set in stone, such as: prospecting, networking, and even follow up. It doesn't always matter when these get done and there is flexibility in scheduling the activities, but they must get done. The problem becomes, many of these items that are flexible are the exact activities that will create your true wins. If they don't get done, you won't reach your wins or goals. They are the activities that are easy to push off to tomorrow, to next week, to "when you have time," and thus you start to get behind on your wins.

The small adjustment most salespeople can make to improve their results, is to understand what they need to reschedule. This allows you to switch from "either/or" thinking to "and" thinking. We suggest a simple color coding on your calendar to help keep your wins a part of your calendar.
  • In red, you might schedule any meetings or activities that you absolutely can't reschedule unless it's an emergency (a true emergency where calling 911 is involved). Or things you must attend, but don't have control to reschedule: conferences, training, and even networking events.
  • In blue, you schedule the small wins. The activities that you have to complete to achieve a win (prospect calls, number of contacts, etc.). The rule with anything scheduled in blue is simple; it can be moved within the week, but it can't just get skipped or cancelled unless you've hit your win for the week.
  • In pink, you schedule anything that can be skipped, cancelled, or scheduled over. It's VITAL that these cannot be any activities that are considered a "win." The trick here is to know what is truly pink. Some items such as follow up might be a "pink" this week, but "blue" next week as they can no longer be pushed off.
The rules to this time management system are also simple, but HAVE to be upheld in order to get results. They are as follows:
  1. Color coding is always followed and whatever goes on your calendar has a color. 
  2. You must understand what a "win" is each day. And know how to tell if a week is a "win."
  3. Pre-planning is a must. If you're planning this by ear you'll get to Friday and be disappointed that you're too far behind to catch up and a whole week will be gone without reaching your wins. 
  4. Make a commitment to yourself.
  • You will not go home until the wins are reached. 
  • You will work Saturday if you miss your weekly goal.
  • You will take Friday afternoon off if you meet your wins by Friday morning. 

Color coding your wins when you plan your week makes it easier for you to practice intentional imbalance. If a prospect requests a meeting and you agree on a time that already has a blue activity on it, you know what to do. Schedule the meeting and move the blue activity somewhere else in your calendar. It's important to not just cancel the blue activity, but intentionally move it to another time in your calendar (unless you have accomplished your wins). With this mindset, it becomes much easier to react in a way that is beneficial to your wins.

Next week, we'll wrap up with the importance of your schedule. But just remember, with intentional imbalance and color coding, your focus is always on creating wins. It's not about being stuck or limited. Instead, it's about freeing you up to get the best possible results with the least amount of work. 

Creating Sales Wins Series

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