So, your last call ended a bit early, traffic wasn’t as heavy as expected and now you have fifteen minutes or a half-hour before your next meeting. What to do?
With a little planning and having the right materials at your disposal you can make tremendous use of this “gifted” time and be a productivity guru.
1. Review Materials: Take a few moments and look over your presentation or materials. Is everything in order? Do you have everything you need? One last “better safe than sorry” glance never hurts.
2. Check non-urgent emails: This is the time to deal with or delete those non-urgent emails that flood all of us. Do something with them. Either create an action or delete them, don’t just leave them.
3. Read Newsletters or Articles clipped into Evernote: I am a huge Evernote fan. If you’re not using it, you should. Here is where planning is needed. As you surf the net, you can “clip” articles you’d like to read later and save them into an Evernote Notebook. (Mine is entitled Articles of Interest). Take this time to feed your brain, you’ll be glad you did.
4. Listen to an audio book: Speaking of feeding your brain, with the Audible app (another favorite), you can fill this down time by listening to a book or other motivational materials. I finished an entire Jim Rohn series while stuck in Dallas traffic. Zig Ziglar used to call this Automobile University. Enroll today.
5. Make a cold call: Hey, why not call on the business next door or down the street? I would use something like this: “I’ve got a meeting with XYZ Company and got here a little early and in order to make the best use of my time I just wanted to stop in and introduce myself.” You put them at ease because you’re letting them know you’re not staying (you have a meeting to get to). I’ve had business owners tell me, “I wish my salespeople would have that kind of initiative!” Make a contact, start a relationship. You never know where it might lead.
6. Check in with current customers: Make a few phone calls to current customers and keep your name in front of them. You’re not selling them anything, rather you are just checking to see if there is anything you can do for them. It never hurts to “touch” a customer in a positive manner.
7. Write thank you cards: More planning is required here. Have some thank you cards with you and use this time to jot down a few (handwritten) notes to customers, prospects and even other employees—anyone who you need to say “Thank You” to. You can knock out a half dozen in just a few minutes when it has all your attention.
8. Update paperwork: Fill out call reports, expense reports and other paperwork. Don’t do this when you could be in front of another prospect. Do it when you only have a few moments to spare.
9. Confirm upcoming meetings: Call everyone you have on your calendar for the upcoming week and confirm. This is one of my favorites and a tremendous use of this time. Keep your calendar and all pertinent information handy. A quick phone call is easy.
10. Visualize success: Finally, close your eyes and mentally focus on the outcome you want from this meeting. Are you here to make a sale? Is your goal to simply move them further along in the sales cycle? Whatever the case may be, visualize it—see it. Now take a deep breath and go do it!