It’s that time of year again; when we clean out the old to plan and make room for the new.
“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” –Leo Tolstoy
This applies to a variety of things in your personal life like clearing out your closets, renovating an area of your home, or planting new seeds in your garden.
Similarly, however, this applies to a variety of activities in your professional life like clearing out your files, revamping your sales approach, or planning the next steps of your new social selling strategy.
In both cases, you are really doing three things: Decluttering, Organizing, and Cleaning.
And guess what? There are many psychological benefits to spring cleaning of both kinds. It:
- Increases productivity
- Increases happiness and sense of satisfaction
- Reduces stress
- Increases focus and attention
- Stimulates creativity
To help you leverage these benefits in your professional sales life, we are sharing 5 spring cleaning tips to help you become more focused and productive while also increasing your ability to prioritize the right sales activities and opportunities.
#1: Concentrate On One Thing At A Time
It’s tempting to try to do everything all at once because multitasking seems efficient on the surface, but it isn’t. Studies show that multitasking can reduce productivity by as much as 40%.
Whether you’re cleaning your house or your file manager, focusing on one room or file at a time will help you work quickly and be more productive.
Applied To Sales:
When you have a lot of competing priorities, especially accounts or prospects who need to be followed up with, it can feel overwhelming.
As you’re creating your prospecting or account follow-up plan, try to stay focused on one account at a time, and dedicate your full attention to it. You’ll be more in tune with that particular client or prospect, and will likely ask better questions and create a more meaningful conversation.
#2 Clean Up Your Desk
This is pretty self explanatory, but it’s worth mentioning because there are many productivity benefits to having a clean and clear workspace. It’s easy to let a messy desk or computer desktop slide, but tidying it up can help you to organize your thoughts and work more quickly.
Applied To Sales:
Sales has a lot of moving parts and requires a certain level of creativity and imagination.
If you’re living in a disorganized environment, the stresses of lost or hard-to-find items short-circuits our ability to think creatively.
Organization creates a state of order and calm that allows us to find solutions to problems more easily and opens new avenues of thinking.
On the surface, it may not seem like cleaning up your desk would help improve your sales results, but when you’re more organized, you are less likely to feel stressed, which means you’re able to work with a clear and open mind.
#3 Redesign Your Work Space
In other words, spruce up your space to create an environment that makes you feel inspired, comfortable, and motivated. This goes hand-in-hand with the tip we mentioned above, but with slightly different benefits.
You can personalize your cubicle or home office by adding plants, a few photos of loved ones, or your favorite inspiring quotes.
Incorporating these items can help counteract any feelings of negativity or exhaustion you may often feel when working that 9 to 5.
These personal momentos will remind you of good times and help you feel more energized to keep going.
Applied to Sales:
The ups and downs of selling can have a serious impact on your perspective.We all have a reason to work and make money outside of the office. Having a reminder of that is a good way to keep you inspired throughout the day.
You can also get motivated by giving yourself something to look forward to.
Set a goal. Write it down. Hang it up where you can see it. And then look at it every day and be motivated to continue working toward your goals.
For instance, if you’re passionate about taking a family vacation every year, hanging up a map or family photo from a past vacation could be a good reminder of what you’re working toward.
#4 Revisit Your Priorities
If you’re trying to clean your entire house, that can feel like a tall order, however, it’s likely that is not necessary.
Ask yourself, “what’s the most important thing I need to do?”
By prioritizing the tasks that you absolutely have to accomplish and then dedicating your time and effort towards completing them, you’ll make more progress on the things that actually affect your bottom line..
Applied to Sales
Let’s think about this in terms of your pipeline. When is the last time you did a “deep cleaning” of your pipeline and truly took an unbiased look at the opportunities filling it?
Let’s look at a sample scenario:
You’re cleaning up your pipeline and you see an open opportunity that has been in the pipeline for over 6 months. Your average sales cycle is 30-60 days, so you decide to take a closer look at the account history.
As you dig deeper, you find the opportunity has spent 60 days in the ‘Presenting’ stage and you’ve had no recent communication. Historically, deals you win only spend an average of 7 days in this stage.
Should you keep the opportunity or toss it?
Before you answer, think about one of the guiding principles of selling: The longer a sales goes beyond its normal sales cycle, the less likely it is to close.
In other words, given the sample scenario, toss it!
If your pipeline is filled with opportunities scheduled to close this quarter or this year that are actually stale or dead, your forecasts will be so skewed that you’ll have no real way of predicting whether you’ll hit your quota.
Review every single open opportunity and look for signals to help you determine whether it’s worth your time or not.
Also, although we think of “spring cleaning” as an annual affair, you should be reviewing and purging the opportunities in your pipeline at least twice per month.
#5 Sharpen Your Tools
This can apply in both a physical and psychological sense.
If you’re literally cleaning your kitchen, you’ll want to sharpen your knives and polish your kitchen utensils. This way, when you’re ready to cook up your next meal, you’ll have tools primed and ready to go.
Mentally speaking, you can also sharpen the tools that are always available to you like your cognitive skills and attitude by trying something new or learning a new way of doing something you’ve always done.
Applied to Sales
As a sales professional, you likely have a wealth of resources available to you.
Whether that’s your CRM, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, or your internal LMS, these are the tools \you physically use and need to become familiar with in order to enhance your understanding and leverage your usage more effectively.
If we look at this in a more psychological way, your sales pitch is also a tool that needs to be refined and sharpened.
With so many competing products, services, and solutions in the market, it is often difficult to get your unique selling points across to your buyer.
A clear value proposition will not only strengthen your sales pitch, it will boost your confidence in the solution you are selling.
To help you do that, the next time you conduct a demo of your product or service, record the meeting. Then, go back and listen to it with an open and curious mind by asking yourself some of these questions:
- Did I spend more time talking than listening?
- Did I really capture what the client or prospect was looking for?
- Did I show them the right features and did I explain the benefits in a way that personally resonates with them?
- Why did I go through the demo in the way that I did? Is there a better way to start or end the meeting?
When you’re ready to take an objective look at your sales pitch, consider these questions and remember to ask yourself ‘why.’
Spring Has Sprung
Now that Spring has sprung (well at least in some parts of the world), it’s time to get cleaning!
Using these five tips will help you declutter, organize, and clean up your sales act in no time.
As you get started, keep in mind that everyone has a different definition of what clean or organized means to them, and that’s okay.
Take comfort in knowing that things don’t have to be perfect. The key is to find what works best for you to be your most efficient and productive self.
Just like cleaning, Digital Marketing applies to sales in many beneficial ways that will help you develop your skills as well as the ability to think differently and creatively about common problems you’re solving for. Take your sales development a step further and download our eBook.
About Steve Bookbinder
Steve Bookbinder is the CEO and sales expert at DM Training. He has delivered more than 5,000 workshops and speeches to clients all over the world and has trained, coached, and managed more than 50,000 salespeople and managers. Steve continuously refreshes his training content to reflect his latest first-hand observations. Through him, participants in his trainings learn the best practices of today’s most successful sellers and managers across industries. Steve understands that sales is a competitive game. To out-perform competitors and our own personal best results, we need to out-prospect, out-qualify, out-present and out-negotiate everyone else, not merely know how to sell. Through his specialty programs in Prospect Management, Personal Marketing, Great First Meetings, Sales Negotiating, and Sales Coaching, Steve trains sales teams to master the skills they need to overcome the challenges they face in today’s world… and keep improving results year over year.