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What’s the Priority

April 25, 2010
Mary Jane Copps

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Hmmm … one of the posts that came in this past week vanished somehow and that’s a disappointment because it is the inspiration for this week’s topic. The person who wrote in was having trouble getting their calls done because of some organizational issues. Well, I can’t claim to be living the in height of efficiency myself (I’ll be working on my taxes every evening this coming week!), but when it comes to my company’s growth … I’ve always understood that I must put revenue-producing activites first. Debi Hartlen MacDonald is also a great champion of this notion. For those of you that have attended any of her Boot Camps, you know that she tells you to categorize your daily activities into revenue producing and non-revenue producing. Why? Well the harsh truth is … an entrepreneur without revenue is no longer an entrepreneur – they are simply unemployed. So if you know that cold calling is essentail to the growth of your business, do it first. Be on the phone by 8:30 or 9 am and get those two or five or nine daily cold calls done. Sure there will be days when events or meetings get in the way, but once you put this discipline in place you may find that you’ll schedule the rest of our day around it. When you get this process started, you do need to keep track of who you’ve called and when to call them back. Every computer already includes a way to do this in Outlook, so you don’t need to immediately invest in client management software. (but it is a worthwhile investment when the time comes). Also, you can use the very old-fashioned but totally accuarte system of index cards and a recipie box. Seriously – it works! Take some tabbed cards and number them 1 to 31 for the days of the month. Then take some tabbed cards and indicate all the months of the year. At this moment, your tab for April would have behind it 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, followed by May and the tabs for 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. etc. Tomorrow you pull out all the cards behind the 26 tab, call them and record if you left a message (then you’ll file it behind 28, when you’ll next follow up) or if they told you to call back in 3 months (you’ll drop it behind your July tab). This system works beautifully. I used it in my former company, Media Link for 12 years. Prior to computerizing, we had 13,000 index cards and prospective customers that always asked what system we were using, because we were so good at follow up. So you don’t have to make it complicated, but you do have to put the revenue first. Finally, whoever you are going to call, leave their information on your desk the night before. Maybe you’ve torn out a magazine article with the name of a potential customer mentioned. Or you met someone at an event you should follow up with. Leave their business card or that magazine article on top of your keyboard the night before. Make sure you start your day by easily being able to pick up the phone and make things happen!

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