This post was written by John Rampton, founder of Calendar.
Calendars have long been used to organize and manage our lives. Have a birthday coming up? Mark it in your calendar. Need to have a project completed by a deadline? Put it in there. Going away for a week? Block it out.
However, your calendar is more than just a reminder tool. You can also use it to boost your productivity and manage your time effectively. That’s because it ensures your time is accounted for, as opposed to waking up every morning and just winging it.
That makes a calendar an indispensable tool for anyone. But an efficient calendar is even more valuable for anyone involved with sales or who uses sales meetings on a regular basis. That’s because your calendar can also help you sell more.
Here’s how a calendar can help you sell more:
It ensures you don’t waste time during sales meetings
There’s a saying in sales, “Time kills all deals.”
This means that a sale is less likely to happen as more time passes. In other words, you need to close the deal as fast as you can.
It can be pretty tough to move your prospects through the sales funnel, however, when you’re stuck in a pointless sales meeting. Instead of losing significant time that could have been spent closing a deal, here’s how you can spend your time more wisely during sales meetings.
Schedule fewer in-person meetings.
This may not be applicable for everyone, but in most cases you may be able to save time just by taking fewer meetings. Instead, schedule a brief phone call to get all the info you need and make your pitch. It not only saves time but also allows you to control the structure and flow of the meeting.
Have an application process.
Before you block out time to meet with a prospect, make sure they’re worth it. Have an application process, such as a survey they complete on an opt-in page.
If you planned for a 10-minute sales call, and you’re at eight minutes, politely inform the prospect that there are only two minutes left so you can conclude the call on time.
It automates scheduling
Again, time is money. If you want to be respectful of both your and your client’s time, then start automating your schedule.
You can do this with a tool like Calendar.
Just share your calendar with a prospect via email or link. They can then see when you’re available and pick a date and time that works for them. The event is then automatically added to everyone’s calendar.
Because Calendar uses machine learning, it can even make smart suggestions on when, where, and how your meetings should occur.
This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a simple sales hack that can improve conversions since it puts scheduling on autopilot.
It gives you time to prep and debrief
When you sit down to watch your favorite sports team, do you think they just showed up for the game unprepared? It would be disastrous if they just winged it.
The same is true when selling a product or service.
You need time to prep for your presentation. This means learning about the prospect so you can let them know how you can help them solve a problem or make their lives better. It also means getting your presentation in order and reheating it so the meeting goes at a steady pace. You also need 15 minutes before the meeting to get in the zone and make sure everything is in order.
You should also plan for debriefing time. This could be the small talk you and the prospect engage in after your presentation. It’s a quick way to build rapport and trust.
The only way this is possible is by setting the appropriate time in your calendar. For example, if you scheduled back-to-back meetings, you may not have that 15 minutes of prep time before meeting with another potential client. You may also have to fly out of the meeting, leaving no time to debrief.
If you had your calendar in order, you wouldn’t schedule meetings so close together. As a result, you’d have enough time to prep and debrief.
It fills your time with the right activities
Think about those weekends when you don’t have anything planned. You probably wander around aimlessly. The next thing you know you’ve been watching Netflix all day. That’s not exactly the best use of your time.
When you have an efficient calendar you have scheduled time for the right activities, such as:
- Following up on email/phone calls
- Targeting and retargeting
- Planning effective CTAs and landing pages
- Marketing yourself to your target audience
- Creating and managing social media sales funnels
- Analyzing your KPIs (key performance indicators), Google Analytics, or heat maps on your landing pages
It creates time for you to enhance your skills
“If you want to become a great salesperson you need to put in the hours,” wrote Max Palmer in a previous Calendar article. “All too often we hear about the quick tips, hacks, and one-off strategies that will help you close more deals. While those strategies may work every once in a while, they won’t do you any favors in the long run.”
That’s excellent advice. But it’s only possible if you have the availability. After all, how can you put in the hours if you don’t actually have the time? A calendar ensures you can make the time because it keeps you disciplined and consistent.
Additionally, you can block out time to invest in education, such as reading or attending a workshop, and find a mentor. Both of these can help you strengthen your skills and identify your weak areas.
It boosts your productivity
Finally, a calendar can make you more productive, which in turn can help boost sales. This is because:
A calendar helps establish priorities.
Let’s say a colleague asks for your help as you’re prepping for a sales meeting. Your priority should be the meeting. You could offer to help when you have the availability. Your calendar can let you, and your colleague, know when you’re free. This way you’re not jeopardizing your priorities.
A calendar sets your schedule.
Your calendar can be used to block out specific times for specific tasks. This way you can focus on your priorities, complete tasks, and spend your time wisely. Your schedule is also built around when you’re most productive. This way you can hustle when you have the most focus and energy.
Set theme days and batching.
It’s been found that when we jump from one task to another, it takes our brains around 20 minutes to regain focus. Theme days and batching solve this problem. For example, you can create themes like “Marketing Mondays” or “Follow-up Fridays.” As for batching, I block out time to complete similar tasks, such as looking at all my email after lunch.
John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, and startup enthusiast. He is founder of the calendar productivity tool Calendar.