Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford


Weekly Schedules - September 26, 2015

Nothing can be more damaging to the success of a sales person than flying by the seat of your pants. All too often I encounter sales people that do not have a grasp of their weekly calendar, their schedule, or their “to do list”. I find it hard to believe they can claim success, as a sales person, when they don’t know what may or may not close, or who they are meeting with next Thursday at 10:00. And, what is even scarier to me, is that many don’t seem to have a worry in the world.

I’ve been a career sales person for well over 20 years, and in the span of my career I have met hundreds of ‘A’ level sales people. One constant I’ve found among them is their skill of managing their weekly schedule. And, it is a skill.

The best sales people manage their entire lives, personal and professional, in plain view for their peers to see. They make sure their calendar is kept up-to-date or in-the-moment. There is never a question of time availability. Because of this willingness to be open about their schedule, they are never pressed or unavailable.

The ‘A’ level sales person, with their weekly schedule in check, has the inept ability to plan and forecast for sales meetings with their clients. They can track week-over-week, month-over-month, and year-over-year, the trends that will come with sales. They will know how and when to look for seasonal spikes, or when the client budget process will impact their own meeting requests.

As I mentioned, managing the weekly schedule is a skill, but one that can be quickly learned. The first step is to be willing to log your personal life into your publicly viewable calendar. This offers others, that may be reliant upon you, the view into when and when not to attempt adding something to your calendar. Moreover, this also ensures you have both your professional and personal responsibilities in check. Second, lock into place your regular sales-related activities, such as team meetings, prospect calling, etc. Third and finally, add each of your activities that come on an as requested basis, whether you are being asked or you are asking, which would entail each client or prospect meeting.

Getting a grasp on your weekly schedule will have many benefits. You will become more organized and efficient. You will have an outlook on your upcoming plans so you can be more accommodating to those that want your time. And, you will be less likely to run into scheduling conflicts, which will lend to becoming more efficient. Stop flying by the seat of your pants!

Thought Leadership - September 19, 2015

Of all of the overused, corporate jargon out there, none is more prevalent than thought leadership. In fact, I’m at the point where I can’t stand hearing those words anymore. But, for the sake of this post, I’ve also come to grips that many folks may just not understand what the term thought leadership means.


Yes, practically anyone can be a thought leader, as long as they understand what those words mean. At the core a thought leader is someone that can provide clear and concise information on a specific topic, such as a service or product, because they are considered to be an expert at some level. And, what is most important, they are deemed an expert by their company, their peers, their competition, but not just by themselves.


So, if we use this definition of thought leadership, then an ‘A’ level sales person can certainly be a thought leader. You may now be asking yourself, “so what?”


Going back to many previous posts about referrals and inbound lead generation, being considered a thought leader on your company’s services and/or products should drive business to you, and certainly will drive business to you assuming you are found. How do you get found?


Becoming a thought leader can be somewhat straight forward. First off, you should put together an agenda or list of topics that you can write (or record – as in video) about, and a schedule for getting this information out to the public. Second, determine the various methods for getting your messages out there. My recommendation is to cross pollinate, as in find more than one way to share your information. For example, you must absolutely use your own company website or blog to share your knowledge. Then, find other industry resources, such as trade publication websites, to offer your content. Trust me, trade publication websites are always clamoring for good content, especially when the burden is on someone else to do the writing. Third and finally, share, share, share. Use your social media connections, and your connections connections, to get the word out. Sharing your content across social media can have the biggest impact when it comes to driving lead generation. The more people who become familiar with your name, based upon your thought leadership ideas, the more opportunity you have for referrals and inbound lead generation.


You are not a thought leader because you claim to be a thought leader. Provide real substance to your market and your market will define you as a thought leader.

Personal Time - September 12, 2015

Being a father of three very active children alone can be daunting, but coupled with my career responsibilities, and wow can life get very hectic. Coming off of a very fun and relaxing Labor Day weekend, I am reminded that we, as sales people, need to pause every so often and have a little personal time. Sales, for the ‘A’ level person, is more than just a job, it is a life altering commitment. You never truly get a day off because someone (or a situation) seems to always require some sort of your attention.


So, with the reality of “always on your game”, you must find personal time. Here are a few ways I take a moment or two to myself that help me maintain focus with my career so I can feel “always on my game”.


1 – Look for one moment each and every day, including weekends, to reflect on what you have going well in your life. It may be just 5 minutes sitting in your car before a meeting, or taking the dog for a morning walk on a Saturday, but this time is an opportunity to remind yourself that your career as a sales person impacts others in many positive ways. It may seem like a personal feel-good, but you must remind yourself that others are depending on you.


2 – Exercise is a sales persons release from stress. Between boss, company, client and peer expectations, not to mention everything you have going on at home, a sales person can feel a level of stress not found in other professions, especially when your livelihood is dependent on commission and/or bonus. You don’t always need a gym membership or going hard & heavy on the free-weights constantly, nor do you need to run a marathon every month, but you should have an outlet for removing stress, and exercise will certainly help. Not to mention, sales people tend to eat out more than others in their organization, so a little exercise can help with this aspect too.


3 – One treat per week is another rule of thumb I try to apply to my routine. A treat can take many forms, such as a new micro-brew beer I’ve been wanting to try, or indulging in a TV show that I would otherwise not have the time to watch. I try to find one, non-work related, way to treat myself each week.


4 – Provide someone else at least one treat per week. This tends to be a little bit easier, with kids, because I can kill two birds with one stone. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my kids, but also taking them out for ice cream or some other treat during the week reminds me that my sales career is what is affording me such an opportunity.


A successful, ‘A’ level sales person knows that the constant go-go-go pace of the sales career can be exhilarating, but demanding as well. Finding a little personal time does the mind and body good – and will make you a better sales person in the long run.

Labor Day - September 5, 2015

Like you, I need a break every so often, and so this week I would like to wish all of the ‘A’ level sales people out there a Happy Labor Day. This is a weekend that should provide you a break from the hectic schedules we so often must manage. It is a time to relax a little bit before the push toward the end-of-year is upon us. And for those of us in the norther climates, enjoy the last part of summer, because you know the white stuff will be in the air sooner than we’d all like. Have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend with your friends and loved ones.