You are hardworking, smart, believe in yourself, have good leadership skills, and genuinely are interested in your clients and your products. All good employees are all those things and one more: they are organized.
Being organized is a critical ingredient in your success, whether you’re in real estate or insurance or marketing. Being organized enables you to use your resources, your staff (if you have any), and your time wisely.
Here are some pointers to help you fine-tune your organizational skills:
Recognize and minimize nonrevenue-generating activities. Answering emails and Facebook posts and slogging through paperwork may seem productive, but you can easily get mired in these time-consuming activities and lose track of time—and productivity in the end. These tasks almost always don’t generate revenue directly and should be delegated or minimized.
Draw up a schedule around obstacles. There will always be roadblocks to a smooth-flowing workday. A roadblock or obstacle prevents you from prospecting, attending to your clients, and simply being productive. A lunch meeting is one such obstacle. The way to get past obstacles is to work around them with a properly devised schedule. That means batching your tasks, phone calls, and appointments (scheduling in time for interruptions), so that the prime part of your day (about three-fourth of your time) is spent actually doing the tasks that make money.
Track customers and biggest projects. Keeping a list of current clients and significant projects on a spreadsheet such as Excel enables you to have an efficient system for tracking and doing regular follow-ups. If you don’t know Excel, try any of the excellent, easy-to-use to-do list creators available on the Internet. Weave, a mobile app from Intuit Corp., is not only one of the best out there, it’s also free.
Devise a system for your paperwork. You should have a regular way to process your paperwork (or emails for that matter). For the paper stuff, try a step file sorter and, for highest efficiency and those pesky emails, make the following folders: Do, Awaiting Answer, Read, Consider, File and Refer.
Create a reading file. Start a reading habit by creating a reading file. Reading gets you up to speed on your business and on industry matters. Everything—feature articles, reports, studies, emails, blog excerpts, etc.—that’s relevant to your sales work should go into this file. The file can be a physical file, such as a collection of paper folders, or a digital file (like Evernote), which is far more convenient because you can have it on your mobile device and access it wherever you are. A reading file is one of the best ways to reduce desk and mental clutter.
Make a list. Making a list and checking it twice is not only for Santa but also for all who make calls, especially sales calls. Before charging out the door every morning, consult your list to make sure that you have everything you need with you and that everything’s in order. It’s no fun finding out while you’re already on the freeway that you left Mr. Salinger’s contract in the drawer.