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Would you give your clients or even your employees control of your personal banking account? For most people the answer is a resounding, "No!” Money is a valuable resource and one that we’ve been taught to guard and spend wisely. Yet, it’s not even our most precious resource.
You can make more money. In many ways it is unlimited. You can spend it and replace it. Time, on the other hand, is limited. You have 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. You can’t make more time. And once you’ve spent time you can’t replace it. If you begin to think of time as a savings account that can't be replenished, you're less likely to let other people decide how to spend it for you.
By far, time is the most valuable resource you have as a person and as a business owner. Yet, it’s often given away, without a lot of strategic thinking about how you’re spending that time. In business, this can cause a lot of issues, but one business activity we see suffer the most is prospecting.
In many businesses, prospecting is something that gets forgotten, scheduled over, and shuffled until it’s something that needs to be done, but somehow there isn’t enough time. To test this in your business, open the calendar of anyone on your sales team. Look at the next 4 weeks. How much time is dedicated to prospecting?
In many cases, prospecting activities are not even on the calendar. Which means prospecting doesn’t happen as often as it should. And it all comes down to how you view and manage your most precious resource; your time. Your business needs a certain amount of dedicated time to prospecting. If the business doesn’t carve out that time, sales will suffer. Yet, it’s easy to let other activities eat into the time that should and needs to be dedicated to prospecting.
In our Inspired Action Series, Prospecting in 15 Minutes, we cover the step-by-step process for changing the way that your business treats prospecting time. We encourage any business that needs a boost in sales to look into this program. In the meantime, here are two tips your business needs to adapt when it comes to prospecting.
- Carve Out Time - Make prospecting an important activity in your business. Don’t let it be something that happens when there’s time. There’s always time, IF you plan for that time. If it’s not already scheduled, determine the amount of time each position needs to prospect and ensure it's scheduled in their calendar.
Remember, time is limited. For most positions there are 40 hours a week. Carving the time out of their schedule is very similar to setting a budget. It sets a focus and intention for each position to know how much time they should be spending on different activities for your business.
- Set the Expectation - Once prospecting time is set, you have to keep that time as it’s scheduled. This is harder than it sounds. It requires a shift in your way of thinking.
Imagine what would happen if you had prospecting time scheduled and, during that time, one of your biggest clients called with a question. Would you postpone or reschedule that prospecting time? Most people would reschedule. It’s a dangerous habit to start. Because it sets the expectation that prospecting time isn’t that important.
Now, imagine that you had a client sitting in your office when another one of your biggest clients calls with a question. Do you take that call? Chances are you don’t. Face-to-face time with clients is often protected. Very few interruptions come during those meetings. And it’s all because the business has set the expectation that you don’t interrupt a client meeting. Prospecting time should be treated the same.
Set the expectation that prospecting time only gets interrupted or rescheduled if you would interrupt or reschedule a client meeting. It’s a simple, but very effective guideline that changes the importance of prospecting within your business.