You don’t understand!” Jim said, sounding frustrated. “I can have the most elaborate plan. Then I come into the dealership, the phone rings and my plan goes down the toilet.”
“So you’re really busy,” I said.
“Now you’re beginning to understand,” he responded.
Jim was right. I have traveled with enough salespeople to know how busy they can be. I have also seen how much time they waste.
Here’s a fact to consider: Planning is for busy people. If you’re not busy, what do you have to plan? Planning allows busy people to get the things done that need to get done.
The No. 1 successful behavior. This is why I list planning as the first of the successful behaviors in my book, P.A.S.S. C.A.L.F.: 8 Behaviors of Sales Success in an Agricultural Dealership. Without proper planning, you would not have time for the other successful behaviors.
Successful behaviors do not, of themselves, create sales. They can swing the odds in your favor to give you better
opportunities to create more sales than the average salesperson.
In my book, I call this No. 1 behavior “Plan Your Day.”
What happens if you don’t plan? Not much. Salespeople who start with no plan spend endless hours chasing their own tail, reacting to situations and customers and putting out fires. Lacking a specific direction for the day, these salespeople will drift aimlessly while trying to stay and look busy. I have seen this behavior firsthand. They are constantly checking to see what they can or should do next.
Make it simple. One of the problems with planning is that salespeople sometimes think they have to plan every five minutes of their day. Instead, they should leave enough “elastic” time to get the unplanned things done. There will be many activities that must get done that were unplanned. The ideal plan allows time for these so they do not pile up and make a shambles of future plans.
Many years ago, I attended a seminar on the use of the Franklin Planner. This is a very useful tool if you use it correctly. Maybe it was just me, but I simply could not understand it well enough to derive much value from it.
I looked at many other planning systems as well and could not find anything that suited me, so I developed my own. I don’t recommend that salespeople use only my system as long as they use some form of planning.
My system. I use a yellow pad. Each Friday evening or Saturday morning, I plan the entire following week. I use one page for each day. Each page is divided into four sections:
nAppointments—Everything else is built around the appointments I have for the day.