Effective Time Management

Top 5 Tips of Effective Time Management

What if I told you that how you use your time dramatically affects your income and the level of success you achieve in your career?

Well, that’s the truth! You must take control of your time to take control of your income and career. Only then will you have the focus and energy you need for success. Here’s how you get started.

To-Do Lists

End each day with the five action items you must accomplish the following day. Four out of five of these actions must be revenue-generating.  If they are not revenue-generating, rewrite your list.

Controlling In-Bound Communication

Idle conversations with co-workers, suppliers, and customers are bound to happen. But are they revenue-generating? Are they on your daily to-do list? Probably not. Time management is about taking back control of your daily schedule and using that time to build your business. It’s not about chit-chat and instantly responding to every interruption.

  • Forward your office phone to voicemail.  Check it 3 times each day and respond only if urgent.
  • Silence your cell phone ringer and text notification. Check it 3 times each day and respond only if urgent.
  • Disable email notifications. Check it 3 times each day and respond only if urgent.
  • Review incoming mail over a trash can, pitch what is irrelevant, and save what you need to review for Friday afternoon when the pace is slower.

Allocate time for the following activities each week

  • Client research and prospecting
  • Order follow-up and “thank you’s”
  • Product research/quotes
  • Social media interaction
  • Brief check-ins with your team—CSRs, graphics, AR, referral sources
  • Face-to-face with 1-2 clients

Managing your time involves changing your clients’ expectations.  You can do this easily with a holiday “thank you” note.

“Hi Jane, Thank you so much for your business and friendship this year!  You are the reason I love my job so much.  This year, I have set aside Thursday afternoons to focus exclusively on helping you with your promotional calendar. I really look forward to kicking this off on the first of the year, and know it will make your life easier….”

Fire time-wasting clients.  You know who they are and it’s time you set them free to get better service elsewhere.

“Hi Steve, Starting this year, I have changed the focus of my business and no longer embroider the 6 fishing team shirts you buy at Costco once a year.  ABC Embroidery would be happy to help with that—here is their number.”

Most promotional products sales reps will tell you that time management is a major challenge for them. Most will tell you that it’s an area that they want to improve in. They will listen to a talk on the subject and read the handout material. However, it’s rare for a sales rep to actually improve their time management skills. Why?  They can’t keep up, they don’t have the time, they can’t get organized, not enough hours in the day, they’re working on it.

You can be the one who improves their time management skills, increases their income, and achieves greater career success. Just get started now and stick with it!


How to Write a Resume That Will Land You Any Job

How to Write a Resume That Will Land You Any Job

A resume is an ink and paper representation of your career. During the job search, it can be the key to your next job. Like most things in the business world, it’s a good idea to stick with proven best practices. Below are several time-tested rules of resume writing.

Keep it simple and clean. Your resume should be built on your experience and accomplishments. It doesn’t need graphics, artwork, or “personality”. The structure and font that you choose matter. Keep it orderly and easy to read. Nothing should distract from the content.

Include all pertinent contact information. This includes your cell phone number, personal email address, and home address. Some younger candidates include social media handles. That can be helpful but isn’t necessary for the promotional products industry.

Tell the reader what you want. This is your objective. Your objective needs to be a strong, bold statement about 1-2 sentences long. Follow this with your summary. This should be 4-5 sentences and tell the reader what they can expect to get from you.

Focus on your accomplishments, not your duties. Don’t tell the reader what you did, tell them what you got done.

If you can’t quantify it, it doesn’t exist. In the world of resumes, numbers are king. Did you grow your sales? Great. How much? You managed a team of sales reps. Cool. How many? Put a number to everything!

Many employers and recruiters will load your resume into a database immediately. They’ll use this database to search for job candidates just like you and I use Google. Take advantage of this and make sure that your resume contains keywords that make sense for the positions you want to be considered for.

Your resume is not one size fits all. You need to customize, customize, customize! Customize it for each job and each company that you are applying for.

No matter what job you are applying for you have to highlight your qualifications for that specific position. Make it very obvious to the reader that you have everything they could want in an employee.

Resumes can quickly become stale and out of date. Set a recurring reminder to update your resume every 3 months.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, looks worse than grammatical or spelling errors in a resume. It shouts “Unprofessional!” Please proofread and have two others proofread it as well.

Promote yourself! Resumes are not for being humble or giving credit to others. Own your accomplishments and SELL THE READER! Provide all the evidence needed to convince even the most skeptical reader that you will be an immediate difference-maker for their business!


8 Signs That You Work in a Dysfunctional Office

Do You Work in a Dysfunctional Office?

Promotional products offices are crazy places. They have a unique dynamic that drives the culture, mood, and productivity of the sales reps and assistants who call the office home.  The tone of the office is set by the onsite sales manager, office manager, or regional executive who is responsible for providing a productive home for all employees. Unfortunately, negative intra-office dynamics can develop that detract from the productivity and camaraderie of the office.

In other words, sometimes offices suck.

Do you work in a dysfunctional office? Here are the eight warning signs:

Whispering and gossip between employees

Closed office doors

Lack of support from your manager

Staff who say, “That’s not my job.”

Ideas and creativity are not being shared between sales reps

Flare-ups of overwrought emotions, including anger, tears, frustration, and neglect

Shared office chores aren’t completed because some feel put upon

There is no sense of common mission or team spirit

You need to be aware of these signs of dysfunction and meet with company management to address your concerns. Ultimately the mission is to serve your clients.  If your office isn’t supporting your efforts, you owe it to yourself, your company, and your clients to create positive change.


10 Tips That Will Get Your Client Presentations In Great Shape

10 Tips That Will Get Your Client Presentations In Great Shape

Big orders, career-changing orders, usually require some sort of face-to-face meeting. With so much at stake, an email will simply not do. Presentations are the way to go if you absolutely, positively must win a big order. However, standing in front of a professional audience can be intimidating. Follow these ten simple tips and you’ll greatly improve your presentation skills and your chances of winning that big order!

Preparation matters! Know your material, know your audience, and be prepared to address any questions or objections that might come up.

Dress to impress! If you don’t look like an expert, you’re already in the hole.

Don’t rely on live demos. If you’re presenting an online store, always use screenshots. The number one warning with technology is that it will always fail at the worst possible time.

Don’t rely on call-in participants. If you can’t be in the room for the presentation then butt out. Bad reception, missed calls, calling at the wrong time and loud background noise are just a few of the problems you can create when you call in.

Avoid text-filled slides. Images can capture the imagination. Use them liberally.

If PowerPoint is your game, keep it under 20 slides.

Be repetitive! Tell them. Tell them what you told them. Then summarize what you told them.

Keep your audience focused on you. You and what you are saying are the only things that matter. Handouts are a big distraction and can wait until later.

Interject your personality. Robots can regurgitate information. Be a human and make a genuine connection with your audience.

Know who the real decision-maker is and find a way to connect with him or her.

What other tips have contributed to your success in client presentations?