Once you have your general mindset under control, it’s time to look at how you prepare your week. Be organised, be clear on your structure, focus areas and priorities.
(1) PREPARE YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Even though a customer can’t see your workspace, they can still notice when you’re distracted. So, set aside an area of your home to make calls from, and make sure it’s clean, tidy and clutter-free. Then set clear boundaries with your family or flat mates, and ensure they understand to not interrupt you when you’re on the phone or at your computer.
Define an office space in your home.
(2) PREPARE YOURSELF FOR WORK AS NORMAL
Yes, you’re at home, and you are working – so tell your brain ‘it’s work time’. Perhaps you used to have breakfast each morning, put on business wear and leave for the office, then have a cup of tea once you got there.
Maintaining a routine is critical for achieving a level of performance right now. For years you’ve been following that ‘pre-work’ routine and those events triggered your brain each day that ‘it’s time to work’. In Neuro Linguistic Programming we call this chain of unconscious behaviours ‘anchors’. Now those anchors are gone you need to replace them with others.
You need to follow your old routines as closely as possible so you can switch your brain from ‘non-work time’ to ‘work time’ even if that only involves moving from the couch to the dining table.
Create a positive routine to anchor the start of your workday.
(3) STRUCTURE IS KEY TO ACHIEVING MORE
Plan both your day and your next few weeks. Clear structure defines who you are going to speak to and what about. It creates clear priorities, focus areas and deadlines. Those that plan effectively are 3 times more productive, they know what they have to achieve and by when. When thinking about the best time to ‘call’ now, more than ever, you need to be strategic and flexible in your approach. The times your clients used to be available at, are likely to be different now. You need to be open to calling at all sorts of times. Most clients will be attempting some ‘rhythm’ to their day so be prepared to be ultra-flexible and maybe call out of ‘normal’ hours.
Structure and flexibility are your best friends.
(4) DO THOROUGH RESEARCH
Before you dial, make sure you’ve read your client’s website, company profile and LinkedIn page at least. Try to do enough research so that you have a good understanding of them and their likely pain points. Get enough information together for you to feel confident in striking up a meaningful conversation with whoever picks up the phone.
Build up a solid background on your client before you call.
(5) PRACTICE ALL VARIABLES
The number one thing that has the biggest effect, is also the number one thing people overlook. Practice.
If you don’t practice, then when on the phone to a client you’ll risk your mind wandering, distractedly searching what to reply or ask next. This prevents you from being ‘present’ with your client and they will sense that.
Think ahead about what you are going to say, think about what the client may ask. Speaking aloud practice pitches in the shower, in the car or walking about in your home. Get familiar with the words. Practice allows you to really ‘walk through’ and ‘talk through’ different scenarios and check if it’s understandable, makes sense, is clear and lands the way you want. Does it succinctly explain the message you want to convey?
If you prefer to ‘write out’ (script) what you intend to say, remember that the written word is not designed to be spoken out loud, so it sounds unnatural in a conversation. Instead, put down key words as prompts so that your conversation remains natural. Again, practice so well that the sentences are ingrained, and you won’t need the prompts.
Practice makes perfect.
(6) EAT SMART AND HYDRATE WELL
It may sound strange to talk about food in an article on sales skills. But what – and when – you eat affects your blood sugar and brain chemistry. You don’t want to feel sluggish and tired when you speak to a client –nor do you want to be frenzied and manic. So, get into the habit of eating small, healthy snacks throughout the day, and stay hydrated to keep on an even keel.
Eat frequent healthy snacks and drink plenty of water.
(7) DON’T EVER CALL A CLIENT WHEN YOU FEEL DESPERATE
If you call a customer in this mind state, they’ll be able to hear your neediness on the phone. You might even find yourself discounting heavily ‘just to get the sale’. If you start feeling desperate, step away from your workspace, revisit the general mindset techniques in the first section. Get back into the right frame of mind before picking up the phone again.
Always call when in a positive mindset.
Once you’ve prepared extensively for the coming call. You’re in the right mindset, and you know everything possible about your client.
Part 3 covers 18 ACTIONS THAT GENERATE RESULTS.