To Do or Not To Do – 5 Steps to Staying Productive

Being productive has never been an issue for me.  I have been told I am very productive and as my last post showed, I’m also very focused.  Of course everyone tells me that I make it look so easy.  Here’s the secret, I need to make it look easy to me in order for me to be productive.  Does that make any sense?

When I first began working in the self-employed arena, a lifetime ago,  I had no choice but to make things happen.  I had children to support and had to make the most of the hours in the day…and night.  I would make sure that before I went to sleep every night, the house was in order, clothes were picked out and my To Do list was ready.  Once morning came, there would be very little time to try and organize my thoughts about what I needed to do to be productive that day.

Everyone that knew me, laughed at my To Do list. It was a pink pad and was always full.  However, they also knew that if you made it onto my pink pad, whatever was listed would be completed before the night was over because I never carried anything over to the next day.  How could she possibly do that you are thinking? I was VERY strict with myself and that allowed me to be productive.

So how did I do it? I will share with you what I started to do many years ago and still continue to do.

  1. Get a pad…ok that’s easy but make it different from all the other pads you use-mine was pink
  2. Write EVERYTHING you need to do on it and I mean EVERYTHING.  My list begins with wake up… if you get my drift.
  3. Check off the tasks as you complete them-you have no idea how great that feels.
  4. Review the list often-when you see those check marks, you will have a different mind set.
  5. See what “chores” are left before lunch-by putting everything on your list, you should be able to check 90% of your tasks off by lunch time.  Do you know what is left? The 3-5 tasks that are the most important.

Why does this work? If you look at your list and 20 items are completed and there are only 3-5 left, your mind will play a trick on you.  It will register as having only a few left but look how many I completed.  It works every time.

Try it, what is the worst that can happen?

Do We Really Need Two Separate Training Programs??

Every time I am speaking about the differences between men and women in the workplace, I find that more and more people are becoming aware that the differences can be advantageous, if we understand them.  Since women are now responsible for 86% of consumer products purchasing, including insurance, cars and appliances, you would think everyone would want to learn how to capture this amazing market.  Sometimes though, I am asked “Do We Really Need Two Separate Training Programs?”  Knowing that men and women communicate differently and have different priorities when it comes to buying and selling means you will need to alter your training. However, it does not mean you need to separate the sexes. In fact, both genders need to know how to relate to each other, unless you also plan to separate the customers along gender lines! Therefore, it is important that companies create a specific training module that addresses gender differences

I came across an article that I believe will give you the statistics you might need to see just how important this segment of the market is and will continue to be.  In the next few weeks I will also give you some tips on communicating with women….and that is important whether you are male or female.  Stay tuned.

“Qualifying on the Phone”: Part 4- Building Relationships

Here are some realities about the distinct ways men and women approach selling. Men tend to be more direct on the phone. They call a prospect and go straight into the sales presentation. They tend to be driven to get the job done. They will then repeat the process and the system is easy to duplicate. The purpose and result of making calls is different for a man. They have closed the deal on the phone and the only reason they schedule an appointment is to pick up the check and complete the process. Generally, there is no focus on building relationships, either short- or long-term.

Women have a knack for developing strong relationships. Their desire to build a relationship begins on the phone and continues at the appointment. They sell the way they want to be sold, and that relationship begins when they pick up the phone. Women want to cultivate that beginning relationship in person, rather than over a phone. They will schedule the appointment on the phone and continue the relationship when they meet. As we have discussed, men and women think differently, work differently and shop differently. It is much harder to build a relationship on the phone than it is in person. Selling the appointment and agreeing to a face-to-face appointment begins that process. Don’t continue talking when the sand runs out.

Having said that, here are some of the top preparation tips before you get on the phone:

  • Before you begin dialing and setting appointments, make sure you have identified the target number of sales appointments you want to make during that telephone session.
  • Set a specific number as a goal for contacts (or appointments) for this phone session and do not stop until you have reached that number. Be specific!
  • Have set times when you plan to be on the phone, and do not procrastinate. Block these times out in your schedule. This will give your business both discipline and structure.
  • Organize your prospects (best first) before making calls.
  • Call during prime calling times—mornings for business calls, evenings or Saturdays for kitchen table calls.
  • Make sure your phone script is in front of you for easy reference.
  • Be on the phone every day but not all day!
  • Call every name on the list. Do not skip names.
  • Attitude is important. Be enthusiastic! The next call will be a “yes.”

As for Tips while on the phone:

  • Always smile when you talk on the phone. It has a positive impact on how the prospect receives your call. Sound happy and fun to be with.
  • Use the name of the person who referred you whenever possible.
  • Be excited about your service. Prospects will let you come over just to find out what you are so excited about.
  • Have a sense of urgency. Fill the next opening on your schedule even if you have no appointments in your book.
  • Never hang up the handset. Push the button and make the next call.
  • Record your numbers and results daily so you know your statistics and can make them work for you.
  • Continue to increase your goals to challenge yourself. Always try to do more during your next telephone session than you do at this one.
  • Always give a choice of appointment times.
  • Do not sell your products over the phone—sell the appointment.

So what comes next? Well, the next step is creating a rock solid phone script.  The good news is I have just the tool you are looking for, but I’m not going to post it here.  I asked Gail Goodman from PhoneTeacher to put together an example of a call script that illustrates many of the topics we have covered over the past few weeks with this series and she happily accepted.

So how do you get it? All you need to do is click here now to head over to my other site Selling in a Skirt and find the box that says ‘Sign up for the free newsletter”, and sign up!  It really is that simple. Access to the phone script will be provided in the next newsletter scheduled for delivery next week!  Aside from the phone script, the newsletter is full of actionable sales tips, information on upcoming events, and other exclusive content.  I don’t send the newsletter out too often, or on any set schedule for that matter. Having said that, you can’t afford to miss the content it contains! Click here to head over to Selling In A Skirt and sign up now!

Qualifying on the Phone: Part 3- What Not To Do

This post is part three of a series on “Qualifying over the Phone”.  If you missed any part, click here now to catch up!

Chalk this one up under ‘Case in Point: In-Person Appointments Reduce Confusion’

A trained sales professional of more than 25 years came to our company. He was going to show us how to do this business easier and how he could better understand his potential clients on the phone, schedule more appointments and close more deals.

I wasn’t going to burst his bubble, so I sat back and watched.

After a 40-minute call, he finally hung up the phone. I’m not sure how many times that egg timer would have had to be turned over. The only thing I remembered hearing was a discussion about the screw in a pair of eyeglasses.

Here is the conversation:

Me: Why were you discussing a screw in the eyeglasses?

Him: She asked about vision.

Me: Why were you talking about vision?

Him: I told her we covered vision and dental.

Me: Why were you talking about dental?

Him: We talked about x-rays and testing.

Me: Why were you talking about testing?

Him: We were talking about hospital coverage.


Him: I decided to go over the plan on the phone so I was sure she understood it and then would be picking up a check.

Me: Did you get the appointment?

Him: No, she was confused.

Had he been in front of her, she may not have been confused. Had he been in front of her, he could have seen the confusion in her body language and facial gestures and addressed that. Had he been in front of her, he may have been able to help her.

Do you see the value of that egg timer yet?

Communication Between Men and Women….

Is there really a difference?  Why is there so much talk about this? There are studies upon studies confirming that there are differences in the way we speak, the way we hear and the way we listen. One of the strategies I talk about deals with the male/female communication styles. It’s always funny when “selective hearing” enters the conversation.  Recently when I was speaking to a group of executives about this very topic, a man had an AHA moment…in the middle of a thought.  His comment was, “I just figured out how to talk to my wife!” This was a win-win situation for everyone, especially his wife who was not present.

I came across an article  that I thought I would share with you.   Enjoy it and let me know some of your experiences with not communicating effectively or not being listened to correctly. Below is a sizable excerpt from the original article (which can be seen by clicking here).

The Horse-Human Connection

By Jane Sanders, GenderSmart® Solutions, 877-343-2150,

Horses, like humans, are a blend of masculine and feminine behavioral and communication styles. One significant difference separates us, however. Humans struggle daily with misperceptions, misunderstandings, and rampant confusion as to how to communicate effectively with the style opposite from their own. Horses also struggle when trying to understand us, but, in their world, they naturally and easily adopt a masculine or feminine style as the need arises.

So, horses demonstrate ideal style flexibility. Both men and women would be well served to use each other’s communication style – in moderation – when the situation calls for it. By no means should women use a masculine style exclusively, or vice versa. A horse never tries to be something it is not. It’s important to learn how to communicate with a horse in a way it understands or

you won’t get what you want from it.  As famed horse clinician Pat Parelli said, “If your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question, or you asked the question wrong.”

The following (and this is the first in a series of several issues) are communication and behavioral tips for both men and women that will help improve productivity, working relationships, and chances for advancement. As I explain each style tip, many of which are mentioned in other editions, I have interpreted it through the eyes of a horse for your interest and entertainment. Please note I am not implying that men or women are like horses – just that our communication styles have some similarities and therefore opportunities for interesting learning. I think you’ll find it fascinating how horses respond to either a masculine or feminine style,  depending on the situation. Just like us humans! No better teachers exist than our equine friends.

TIPS FOR WOMEN COMMUNICATING WITH MEN (or feminine style to masculine style)

  • Be succinct, to the point, but not abrupt.  Men, or people with a masculine style, are bottom-line oriented and usually less interested in detail, so conciseness is important. And no one, especially women, appreciate being dealt with in a short, rude manner. Comparatively, horses will lose trust and respond negatively to harsh or rude behavior. Unlike dogs and more like people, they do not love unconditionally. Also, hold details for back-up purposes. Horses get bored and mentally tired easily. Give them only exactly what they need at any particular moment during a training session or ride.
  • Avoid tag questions, apologies, disclaimers (“This is a good report, don’t you think?” Better would be, “Good report.” “Well, this is just my opinion, but…”  Better would be “I think we should…”). Just like people, horses need clear, direct, yet gentle communication to be successful at following your leadership. They do not respond to indirect or weak communication. (Unless they have worked with you extensively enough and love you enough to read between the lines…sound familiar?) If gentle doesn’t work the first time, dial it up a bit. If that doesn’t work, add a bit more pressure. (Voice, then tap with heels, then squeeze.) But be sure you’re asking clearly, in language they understand!

Radio Interview: Today’s Community

Last week I was invited to sit down with Shelia Tucker on her radio program ‘Today’s Community” about my company (and ebook) ‘Selling in A Skirt’.

If you are new to this blog, or the Selling In A Skirt universe in general click on the link below, take a listen, and let me know what you think.

(Click Here)–> TC- Judy Hoberman

Image by njum

Introduction to ‘Qualifying on the Phone’

When speaking with a prospect on the phone, many sales people will get appointments that are unqualified. Having appointments is great; having appointments with those that can actually afford your product or service is better. The last thing you want to do is waste your time seeing people who will never be able to buy from you. Or do you? One of the biggest problems salespeople face is that they don’t see enough people. If that’s the case, why qualify? In all industries, qualifying and scheduling appointments is a must. Whether your company schedules them for you or not, it needs to be done.

A portion of the posts over the next few weeks here on ‘Growth is Optional’ will focus on the art of Qualifying while on the phone. In addition, we will be sharing what we call the ‘Snag Free Call Script’ exclusively with readers of our newsletter. Not signed up for our newsletter? Click Here to Sign Up NOW!

Image Credit: Darwin Bell

Hear Ye Hear Ye

Click here to listen -> Selling In A Skirt Interview

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Radical Success Coach, Doreen Rainey. She wanted to know about ‘Selling In A Skirt’ and why it is important in today’s marketplace. In less than 20 minutes I share about the ‘Selling In A Skirt” background, philosophy, and even some sales tips that you can implement today whether you are new to the sales arena or a seasoned sales pro.