How to Deal with Unnecessary Disruptions and Increase Productivity

Years ago, the telephone and the occasional drop-in visitor were the main sources of interruptions for a manager. Then email came along, followed by cell phones, instant messaging, etc. Now managers are inundated with beeps and bells and ring tones. Sure there have been productivity improvements as a result of these tools. However, due to misuse and abuse, often they actually hinder productivity.

Too many managers today just blow with the wind. They may come to work with a list of things to accomplish that day, but typically the list just grows as managers drift from one interruption to the next. The only way to make a dent in their to-do lists is to put in extra hours. Extra work time breeds resentment and eventually burnout, resulting in a whole new set of problems.

Smart phones, social media, and instant messaging are not evil, and they are most certainly here to stay. They can be extremely helpful if used in the right ways. The following are a few tips to help avoid the pitfalls and improve your effectiveness.

1. Set Aside Time for Disruptions

Since you know that, sooner or later, at least one of your colleagues or customers is going to interrupt you when you’re doing something, set some time aside specifically for them and their needs.

 

2. Try to Postpone Non-Emergencies

Once you’ve identified an interruption as something that needs attention and not just a waste of time, try to postpone your involvement.  Take a moment to understand what the distraction involves. Is anyone dying? Is there a deadline being missed? If it turns out the situation is not an emergency, postpone your involvement or delegate as much of the work to somebody who is available.

 

3. Turn All Counterproductive Electronic Devices Off

Before embarking on an important task, turn everything off! This will eliminate the possibility of a distraction killing your productivity. The key is to concentrate on the work at hand.

 

4. Turn Off All Notification Devices

Resist the urge to answer your phone or email notification every time you hear a beep. Finish up what you are doing, then retrieve your voice mail or email message and act accordingly. Follow up is critical, but following up within 3 seconds is not.

 

5. Avoid Getting Swept up in Reactive Mode

It’s an easy trap to fall into. It can be quite exhilarating “fighting fires” all day. Jumping in to solve crises is rewarding and addictive. Being needed is feels good too. It’s also much easier to bop from one task to another than to take time to think, prioritize, and plan.

 

6. Divide Your Day up into Targets

Distractions are most dangerous to the person working without short-term goals. You can keep yourself out of the danger zone by setting goals throughout the workday. Make sure these targets are Smart: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

 

7. Think Before You Interrupt Another Person

This way you won’t be contributing to the problem.  By taking responsibility to minimize other’s interruptions, you can greatly improve workplace productivity.

 

Managers will always have to deal with interruptions. How they deal with them is a major factor in determining their effectiveness. In today’s world, the proliferation of interruptions caused by productivity tools has made it increasingly challenging for managers to do their jobs well. Learning how to use the tools effectively, which sometimes means turning them off, is critical to achieving success.

Minimize disruptions by investing in a customized CRM tool that fits your business needs. Download our 30-day free trial here. No credit cards and long-term commitments needed.

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8 Prospecting Voicemail Mistakes to Avoid

We’ve all heard horrible, boring and pointless voicemails, and if you’re like me, you do one of two things. One, you delete them before they’re done, and two, you remark to yourself how the person leaving it has no tact. Here are 8 things to avoid when leaving voicemails to prospects:

 

1. Telling Lies

Pretending to have called before and spoken to someone in the office when you have not is bad practice in the business world. You will not win over customers. Instead, do some research so you have a grabber value proposition that the prospect cannot refuse.

2. You’re Missing the Point

Talking about your products, instead of finding a compelling solution to a painpoint your prospect is experience, is a sure fire way not to get a call back. Avoid this, as well!

3. Short, But Not Sweet

Leaving a message that’s too short does not give the prospect a good enough reason to call back or pick up the next time you call. Go through the 5Ws and 1 H in 1 minute or less. Focus the voicemail on what you can do to help the prospect resolve their issues.

4. Playing Hard to Get

Passively waiting for a call back will not make the prospect respect you more. You are trying to reach them and show them that what you are offering is compelling. Do not wait around for them to reach out to you. Put a follow-up action in place using a CRM tool and follow through.

5. Giving Up

Giving up after only 2 or 3 attempts. Most prospects won’t return your call until you have tried to reach them more than five times. Use your Contact Management System to track the calls you make in order to avoid bombarding them.

6. Failing to stick to one topic per voicemail message

You can’t mention every business issue or trigger event you could address. Choose one for this call. Save the others for future calls or followups.

7. No Referral Mentions

If someone referred you to the prospect, make sure to say that in the first 5 seconds of your voicemail. A prospect is more likely to call back when they know the person/business was referred to them by someone they know.

8. Lots of Stutter

Leaving a voicemail with lots of verbal pauses (like “ums” and “ahs”) makes you sound less confident, and less credible.  If you know you are nervous and may stutter, write out the script or practice what you are going to say beforehand. Review message, if applicable, before sending.

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7 Characteristics of Productive Sales Reps

We surveyed 100 sales managers who recently purchased one of our CRM Software package. Here are 7 characteristics that they believe all productive sales reps should have:

 

sales-productivity

 

1. Plan Your Day

The surveyed sales managers suggested planning daily activities the night before, which would allow you to get the ground running earlier each and every day.

2. Get Enough Sleep

The average time a sales manager sleeps is 7 hours. Several sleep studies cited in a recent WSJ article have also argued that seven hours is the optimal amount of sleep when it comes to various cognitive and health markers.

3. Drink Coffee

Over 50% of our surveyed sales manager stated that they relied on coffee in order to get into their daily routine. According to FDA, 200-400 mg of coffee is safe enough to drink for the everyday adult. Too much of it can cause restlessness, tremors, irritability and insomnia.

4. Embrace Mobile

Mobile devices are the key to modern sales productivity. Over 75% of sales managers surveyed listed Evernote and their CRM tools as their most used productivity tools.

5. Leadership

Respect and trust are easy words to say, but much harder to earn with customers. A great sales rep will practice what they preach- they inspire those who matter to them and to whom they matter to through example.

6. Take Initiative

Sales reps don’t wait for orders. They’re go-getters and take matters into their own hands. Being disciplined like this helps salesmen to stay on track. If something has to be sold, there is a way to do it.

7. CRM

All our sales managers agreed that their CRM tool was important and helped them become productive. The tool helped them organize their prospecting efforts, manage and share tasks, record details about specific customer calls and more.

To be successful in sales, you need access to a powerful tool that will enable you to measure and maintain your sales pipeline management. You need a tool that will allow you to quickly calculate such things as Number of Leads, The Average Cost Per Conversion and Drop Off/Win Rate. That’s InfoFlo! Click here to learn more about InfoFlo CRM.

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10 Traits of the Worst Sales People

10 Traits of the Worst Sales People that you should always avoid:

 
bad sales experience
 

1. Lateness

Not being punctual for meeting and customer phone calls is a big no-non in the sales world. First impressions are also the lasting ones.

 

2. Poor Presentation

Presentation is the first thing that a customer sees. Make sure your shirt is tucked in, your top button is done up and your tie in the right place. As well, you want to make sure your tie is long enough to hit the belt line and your belt line is in the middle. Forgetting to put on a belt may cause your pants to fall too low, which also affects your presentation. As well, keep your files organized in a duo-tang or binder. Take them out only when needed.

 

3. Bad Temper

Good sales reps know how to control themselves. Bad sales reps, on the other hand, lose their temper over every small thing. Sales environments keep people on edge, with lots of pressure coming down from the top to hit sales quotas. A good rep is able to take that pressure that comes down from above, and put a positive spin on it while encouraging, and supporting their staff members.

 

4. Focus too much on making the sale

Bad sales representatives focus too much of their attention on the product or service they are selling and not enough on the particular needs and wants of the potential and existing client. No two customers are the same; each solution you propose must be customized to their needs.

 

5. Poor Organization

Sales people without organization will fail. They cannot inspire others, motivate performance, or create sustainable value to their team. The best place to find help in keeping yourself and your tasks and schedules organized is a On-Premise CRM tool.

 

6. Focus on Themselves Only

If a sales rep doesn’t understand the concept of “service above self” they will not win over the trust, confidence, and loyalty of their customers. Any sales rep is only as good as his or her customer’s desire to buy the products they sell.

 

7. See Experience as Tangible

Experience is definitely important, but when it doesn’t translate into better skills, better performance, and greater achievement it is useless. Experience that just “is” is a waste. Saying “I have more experience in sales” is like saying “I don’t need to justify my decisions or actions.”

 

8. Failing to Admit Mistakes

Failing to admit responsibility or mistakes should not be in the vocabulary of sales rep. Making sales for your business is hard. We’re human and we make mistakes too. When we make mistakes, it impacts everyone. There is nothing wrong with apologizing and moving past them.

 

9. Confusion

One of the worst things you can do in sales is not know when to close a sale. It’s not just a common fault, but a lethal one as well.

 

10. No follow-ups

Not following up on a hot prospect is bad practice in sales. It is courteous and good for business to see if the customer is still interested, wants to renew or is satisfied with the product/service they received.

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How To Pitch a Story to a Journalist

Journalists are very picky people and for good reason. You would be, too, if you had hundreds of people a day emailing you and asking if they could feature your story….Especially when every caller is thinking that their story is more important than the last person that called or emailed you.

Try implementing the following 5 tips to help build relationships with key journalists and boost the odds of getting coverage.

Write a catchy subject line. If you want to break through the clutter, you need to stand out. It also helps to noticeably indicate that you are sending a release or pitch, so the recipient knows it’s not an email that is meant to be in the junk box.

Personalize it. Avoid mass emails with no personalized messages. Research the journalists who cover your area and focus on what they want to hear. Target your pitch to the individual journalist and make reference to their individual work. Don’t overgeneralize.

Get to the point. Your pitch is going to a journalist, not the readers just yet. You don’t need to quote each person or list every source. Offer them the general summary (abstract); the journalist will decide what to feature and what not to.

Timing can be everything. Try to time your pitch with the relevant news of the day. If you are launching a snow-removal service, don’t start pitching in the middle of summer. For example, no one wants to be pitched about Christmas in March.

Be story focused.  Focus the story on the facts, rather than the opinions and speculations. If you want to add an opinion, put it in quotations. Follow the 5W AND 1H rule.

Sales people should also pay attention to these tips as they are applicable to those who do email marketing campaigns. InfoFlo is an on-premise CRM tool that offers an email marketing add-on to all interested enterprises looking to build their customer base this way. Each user with email marketing access can easily create professional email marketing campaigns and email templates, manage subscribers, and send to unlimited contacts all for one flat fee of $49/user.

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7 Big Communication Errors Leaders Must Avoid

Here are the 7 communication errors that we find leaders in sales are making before they CRM Software implementation. By the time they’ve embraced InfoFlo, they’ve learned how to avoid them.

 

1. Schedule Back-To-Back Meetings

When a leader has no breaks in between meetings, they have little or no time to prepare or follow-up. To prevent this, you should schedule no more than two meetings a day; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Give yourself 1 hour between the time you walk into the office and the time you enter the meeting.

 

2. Failure To Plan Thoroughly

Point number 1 brings us to point #2. Poorly-prepared presentations, reports, emails and meetings frustrate your audience and, over time, damage the reputation you worked so hard to build. This is why it’s important to prepare and plan your communication carefully and thoroughly before being broadcast for the world to see.

 

3. Too Irrelevant

Irrelevant communications have given rise to what email marketing gurus dubs the “deletist consumer.” In 2014, over a third of Canadians were deleting or only reading the title of emails or text messages from companies.

No communication is better than some communication. Messages you sent out often have content that your recipients don’t need – pointless tips, outdated promotions and bulky paragraphs that don’t get to the point. To avoid customers or prospects from disengaging, brands have to ensure they’re sending the latter the right message at the right time and via the right channel.

 

4. Too Selfish

Communication is not about you and what you need. It is about what your customers need and believe in.

Take Steve Jobs, for example, he was not able to convince people to use iTUNES because he felt the product was good for them. People started subscribing to iTUNES because they believed Steve Jobs wanted to make it easy for them to purchase music and synchronize all their data under one umbrella.

It’s therefore not about what you want; it is always about what your customers want. Your objective should always be to improve your customers’ businesses and providing them with what they really need.

 

5. Failure to Deliver Bad News in Person

Written communication channels don’t permit you to soften convoluted messages with nonverbal cues (i.e., body language) and they don’t allow you to deal immediately with the emotions that come after the bad news is shared. If you have to deliver some bad news, do it in person.

 

6. Failure to Try New Things

In a time of need, leaders must adapt and be willing to adapt quickly, to embrace new ways on the fly and to use problem-solving techniques never before thought of. And they must act without show signs of fear.

 

7. Overaggressive Selling

Customers are tired of the conventional, self-focused, product pusher who only cares about getting the deal signed. It is very common today for prospects to become immediately defensive or suspicious of business owners because of the way they have treated them in the past. Overaggressive selling has caused tension and problems with customers and must be replaced with helping the customer do what is best for them and in the time frame the customer wishes to make a decision. Provide useful information not a sales pitch.

 

What are you doing to improve communication? If you feel like you need to work on productivity, contact Carmel Vision.We have just the right solution for your business needs. It is our belief that change does not always have to necessitate breaking the bank.

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8 Tips for Beating Procrastination

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Having  a hard time completing tasks on time due to a lack of motivation? Here are 8 tips for beating the biggest productivity killer – Procrastination.

 

Sign to beat procrastination

 

1. Get Rid of Distractions

How often have you finally gotten to start a difficult project, only to be interrupted the minute you get to it? Turn off your mobile phone, access to social media (unless it is for work, television ad do some work.

 

2. Use Headphones

Cancel out noise and distractions by listening to some music. Very often, I create an extensive play list on YouTube that plays the music non-stop for 2-3 hours. That way I don’t have to touch anything or switch tasks to put on a new song.

 

3. Set a Time Limit

Commit to working for the time you have set. You will also know when it’s time to take a break. I encourage you to take on the Pomodoro Technique, which has you work in four 25-30 minute intervals and take 3-5 minute breaks in between the intervals. After 2 hours have past the technique encourages its adherents to take a 15-30 minute break.

 

4. Know Your Energy Cycle

Work only when you feel peppy and awake, not when you’re exhausted. That regularly means not starting a new task 30 minutes before home time. It may be wise to start the task the next morning on a clear mind.

 

5. Be Accountable

Ask a family member, friend or co-worker to remind you of your task if you get distracted or off task. Have them keep you in check and don’t forget to return the favour if they ask you.

 

6. Reward Yourself

Take yourself out for lunch or coffee break when you’re done the hard task to reward yourself for staying on task. Feel good about your accomplishment and feel the large strain off your back.

 

7. Ask For Help

This is one of my most useful secrets to productivity. Why is this so hard? I could never understand. But whenever I have trouble getting started because I don’t know exactly what to do, and I ask for help, I’m amazed at how much it benefits me and my team.

 

8. Set Macro Goals & Micro Quotas

President Eisenhower once said “plans are worthless, but planning is everything”. Motivation for doing things is inter-woven with what goals you make as well as the plans you build to achieve them. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that abstract thinking about goals can go a long way to help with disciplining yourself. Your goals should be the large scale things that you hope to accomplish, but your quotas are what you must get done everyday to make it happen.

 

What are you doing to stop procrastination? If you feel like you need to work on productivity, contact Carmel Vision.We have just the right solution for your business needs. It is our belief that change does not always have to necessitate breaking the bank.

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5 Life Hacks To Improve Weekend Productivity

The weekend has arrived, and whilst it might be tempting to simply sit back and do ‘nothing’, it will only leave you wondering why it went by so far. Here are 5 ways to improve weekend productivity, in ways that boosts energy, helps you tap into your creative synapses, and prepares you for a productive workweek ahead.

 

1. Wake Up Early

It’s vital to keep your schedule on the weekend consistent with your schedule during the workweek. Not having to work on the weekend does not necessarily mean you should spend half of your day in bed. Sometimes excessive sleep causes a hangover-like feeling. Your body follows a natural clock and after you’ve got used to waking up at 6 am each day, waking up at noon or later on the weekends will upset that routine and your mood.

 

2. Take Naps

If you do wake up early and find yourself feeling groggy as a result, it may be a good idea to take a short nap. While some people view naps as a sign of laziness, they are actually a productive way to enhance performance and restore alertness, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Keep in mind that a nap is an art and not all naps result in the same goals being met:

10-20 minutes:For a quick boost in energy levels and alertness.
60 minutes: To improve memory for facts and faces.
90 minutes (a full sleep cycle): To improve creativity and emotional and procedural memory

 

3. Plan for The Upcoming Week

Every Sunday, I make a list of what I have to complete during the workweek using a CRM Software tool I purchased. I allot a few hours to get the tasks done. I also save the last 30 minutes of each workday to creating a plan for the next day with two priority tasks. I also use that last 30 minutes to finish up tasks and read the rest of my emails. This makes early mornings so much easier!

 

4. Leave Time for Items on Bucket List

Weekends are great for exploring and relaxing. Make a list of activities you would like to try within one-hour distance of where you live. Maybe it’s biking around your neighbourhood with your children or partner. Perhaps it is camping in a nearby park. Whatever it may be, remember that life can’t just occur on vacations once a year, so invite in some serendipity.

 

5. Set Goals

It’s all well and good being productive with your time on the weekend, but to what end if you really don’t know how to allocate your time properly. Most people spend their time and energy trying to be more efficient without having measurable goals in place — in other words, they don’t focus on the things that are most important to them and their goals. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you will know exactly where to concentrate more. Having set goals can also be a good motivator.

 

Looking to become more productive on the weekend? InfoFlo CRM Software and its various productivity-enhancing features is a good place to start. Click here to download free trial.

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5 Tips For Capturing The Attention of Audience

What makes a person and their message memorable? They know how to create a connection with their audience. We’ve written a productivity booster blog highlighting 5 proven tips for engaging and capturing the attention of your audience:

 

1. Break It Down

A decade ago, one paragraph would take up an entire page if printed. Today it is recommended to have no more than 4 sentences long. That’s because no one likes to search for a message hidden in bulky texts. This applies to emails, PowerPoint presentations web content, promotional materials and the like.

 

2. Pace Yourself

Group your information under headings and pace the flow with bullet points and spaces in between. Force your audience to pay attention and don’t give away the punchline too soon. Perhaps add audio and video clips in between.

 

3. Stay On Topic

You would think this is obvious and that you’d never make this mistake ever. I see some of the most intelligent and brilliant speakers and email blast writers talk about what they’re interested in rather than what the audience is interested in. The biggest names in the Silicon Valley became successful not because people believed in what they did, but because they believed in their cause and why they were doing it.

 

4. Tell Stories

Every presentation expert extols the power of stories. There’s evidence that people are prone to listen to stories. When you say “ I’ll tell you a story about…” your audience will turn their heads. Your stories should of course reinforce the point you’re making. Keep those stories short, especially when you are addressing it in emails and podcasts.

 

5. Add Video Clips

Insert short multimedia clips. A well-produced video is a sure way to capture the attention of your audience. It provides variation in the format and allows the audience to see remote facilities and hear from different people. The video may include customer testimonials, a special message from the CEO or a promotional corporate message, to name just a few IDEA.

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5 Productivity Hacks for Successful Sales Managers

Need to help to become more efficient at work? Do you have enough time to get all your tasks done? Here are 5 productivity hacks all successful sales managers should consider:

 

1. Turn Off Alerts

It’s extremely easy to be diverted from your important tasks by phone alerts from social media channels, emails, text messages and the like. It is a wise idea to shut those notifications off while you are at work and focus on the critical tasks at hand. Your productivity will skyrocket once you tell your phone you are not interested in what it has to display.

 

2. Drink Water

The majority of us do not drink water as much as we should be. Our bodies prosper on drinking water – it gives us more energy, keeps us hydrated and gives us an excuse to get up and take a break from the chair we’ve been sitting on all day.

 

3. Make the Most of Lost Hours

Talking on the phone while driving is illegal in many parts of the world, so we would never suggest this to anyone. What we do suggest is to download industry-related podcasts on to a tablet or phone and listen to them on the way to work and on the way back home. Waiting at the doctor’s office for your turn? Maybe catch up on industry news and blogs.

 

4. Allot times for emails

Checking and responding to email is one of the biggest time-sucks. If you don’t believe us, try to monitor your email usage for one whole day and add up all the minutes you spent on this task. A new study by McKinsey & Company found that workers spend 28% of their day reading and answering emails; the second most time consuming activity in a work day. Resist the urge to answer every ping you get. Set times throughout the day in which you will check emails and resolve issues.

 

5. Have a Day Plan in Place

If you’ve ever come home at the end of the day with that sinking feeling of “I didn’t get anything done today,” this productivity tip is for you. It’s easy to get bogged down in the cycle of responding to situations, people, and other emergencies. But rather than letting others dictate the course of your day, have a plan (task management) in place for proactively completing projects and tasks.

Everyone is of course different in the way that they set up their day. We’ve shared  with you an infographic that explores the hacks LinkedIn Influencers use to save time and increase their daily productivity.

Productivity Hacks from LinkedIn Influencers

 

Source: LinkedIn

Download your CRM Software free trial today. We’ll help you become proactive and productive in no time.

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