Your Back-to-School Sales Syllabus for a selling routine

Inside Sales Sales Excellence

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Three selling lessons to help get you into a routine and to the head of the class.

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I made the sad drive with our daughter Shea to drop her off at college. At the same time, our other daughter Maggie eagerly assaulted mom and dad’s Amazon Prime account to prep for her junior year of high school. In the weeks leading up to the beginning of the school year, I was enthusiastically surprised that they were excited to get back to the routine that comes with a regular schedule of class, sports, and all the other activities that make college and high school a great experience.

As I was driving back from that college drop-off, I began thinking about the emotional value of the “fresh start” that comes with every school year. I also thought about the comforting role that an organized routine and a packed daily schedule can play in the overall happiness and confidence of not only students but sales professionals. Think about it: It’s Monday morning in your office, and you open your Outlook calendar and see that almost every day is packed with lots of high-value activity and pre-planned client calls. The top-performing salespeople don’t say, “Ugh, I am swamped this week.” Instead, they say, “Sweet, I am swamped this week.”

In short, the busy schedule will not only produce more sales but will also make you feel more fulfilled at work. So, this month, let’s get back to school by packing our schedules with routines and habits to get us on the sales Honor Roll this semester.


Lesson No. 1: Prepare Like a Champion

Start by scheduling time this week to look at your sales territory strategically. Go through your existing client list and create a list of A, B, and C clients. “A” clients may be your top 20% based on sales, revenue, and/or profitability. “B” clients may be those who have great potential but aren’t buying much from you right now. They can also be good, midsize clients already buying about as much as they can be based on their size. “C” clients may offer smaller opportunities. They may also be good-sized clients who are amazing time drains on you, and the time lost serving them is preventing you from growing your “As and Bs,” as well as preventing you from prospecting new accounts.

After splitting them up, determine your frequency of contact, and put those sales calls immediately in your calendar. This one exercise will fill up a good chunk of your calendar as much as six months out.


Lesson No. 2: Plan to Increase Your High-Value Activity

Average and below-average salespeople who don’t plan as I described above; they just pop into their office on Monday morning and fly by the seat of their pants. Because they didn’t plan, they have few scheduled appointments in their calendar. As a result, they let what comes through email dictate all the activity they do that week, regardless of whether it’s a low-value activity or not. Don’t mistake activity for progress.

Take time to think of all the activities that make up your workday and write them down. And I mean write down everything. A typical list my students share in my sales seminars looks like this:

  • Checking emails
  • Following up on voicemails
  • Client meetings
  • Putting out fires/Service calls
  • Driving
  • Lunch
  • Inputting calls
  • Prospecting

After looking at your list, ask yourself what the most important, revenue-driving activities are. Those are the activities that should be filling your calendar.


Lesson No. 3: Prospecting Separates “A” Students from “D” Students

If you are interested in saying goodbye to the Poconos, and saying hello to the Bahamas this holiday break, you need to be very specific about what you want to sell and how much of it you want to sell each day. Pick one or two products today that you think you could sell a ton of and plan to prospect on EVERY call you make for 20 days. But before you do, think about how many of those products you would like to sell. For instance, if you want to sell seven widgets by the end of the month, I first want you to think about how many prospecting calls you need to make and how many formal presentations you need to deliver to get to those seven sales. For example, you may say, “To get 7 sales, I believe I will need to set up 14 live presentations. But to get to 14 presentations, I believe I need to prospect with 50 customers.”

Now that you know how many prospects you need to talk to about the widgets (That’s 50, by the way), it’s time to get to work. Take comfort in knowing that your competition, because they didn’t go through the above exercise, will stop prospecting after about 7-8 rejections – long before you’ve arrived at your number of 50. You, on the other hand, know that each “no” gets you that much closer to a “yes.”

Use these lessons to make the 2022 Fall Selling Semester your best one yet. By better preparing, planning, and prospecting, don’t be surprised if you find yourself at the head of your class.

Photo credit: Kurpas