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How the envelope planning system gives focus to your day

Print sales people need to plan their priorities

When you are starting your day it’s important to know what you should be concentrating on. What goals do you need to achieve over the next few hours?

Some people rely on complicated spreadsheets or just hope for the best! Fortunately, for print sales people there is a system to help that is much less complicated than a spreadsheet. It also gets much better results than just hoping!

Introducing the envelope planning system

One envelope can set your day on the right trajectory

I call it this because I always use an envelope from the previous day’s post. The purpose of the system is to plan out your day. In theory, you may have already done this on your calendar. However, your calendar planning will almost certainly be moved around during the week as chaos happens.

Therefore, I like to write out how I plan to spend my day. Some people like to do this at the beginning of the morning. Personally, I prefer to do it the evening before. This lets me focus on priorities as soon as I sit down at my desk. It also helps close my mind down from work for the evening.

The system itself is very simple. I simply write down my plan for the day on the envelope. I include all the conference calls and meetings that I have planned. I also write down chunks of time for chaos, carrying out my daily task list and also time for any other projects that I am carrying out.

Here’s a live example

Today, I planned two mentoring calls at 90 minutes each. I also had a sales call booked for 30 minutes and a business development call for an hour. I allocated a 90-minute blogging timeslot and 90 minutes were set aside to carry out my daily task list. I also had a block of chaos time and some time for my lunch.

Writing this down on my envelope took me less than five minutes. However, it gave me a focus to my day. It let me think about when I would like to achieve certain tasks, although I had to fit these around my planned calls.

Naturally, things do not always go to plan. Some things take longer than one thinks. But these are often balanced out by achieving some tasks more quickly than planned. For example, I always allow 90 minutes for a 60-minute mentoring call. This allows me to deal with the planning and the admin after the call. But I don’t always need the extra 30 minutes. Generally things balance out.

Bear in mind that the envelope planning system is designed to be rough and ready. It is a quick tool that gives you focus. It will not be improved by lots of extra fine tuning!

There is a good reason for using the system

Sometimes we are too optimistic when we plan our days. In the example I gave you, everything could be fitted into my normal working day. However, sometimes I count the number of hours and realize that not my day is going to work. Then it is necessary to work out what is going to have to give way in order for me to have a successful day.

Envelope planning is a very simple system. It is also one of the most effective systems that there is. I always cover this on my sales and time management training courses. It is often one of the things that trainees say is most useful to them.

Try an envelope planning session today. You will find it very useful.

This is just one of the many practical sales strategies I cover in “How To Succeed At Print Sales”

My new book covers:

  • Understanding your current sales
  • Setting the right sales targets
  • Carrying out the right day-to-day sales activities

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PS Are you looking for other simple but effective strategies to help you connect with today’s buyers? Download this essential resource. You’ll also be signed up to the “Views From The Buyer Community” at no cost, where you receive useful resources, tips, rants and stories three time a week

Download your free copy of “Ten Common Print Selling Errors And What To Do About Them” (worth £19/$29) right now


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