Working From Home

With things being what they are, we all need to get more intentional in what we are doing, especially those of us in sales. We’ve talked about how we are all hunkered down, and how we can’t get out to see customers. We’ve also talked about what we can do in the meantime:

  • Communicate through emails
  • Do research and find potential customers on LinkedIn
  • Use social media
  • Contact former customers
  • Send out frequent news flashes

That is all good stuff, and I hope you are all doing it. But we need to do more. We need to be focused on first of all getting through these hard times as intact as possible, but most importantly being ready when this is over… and yes, rest assured it will be over.

But, we also know that it will not be over in an instant. We will not wake up at six-thirty on the morning May 12th and this thing will be done. Nope, common sense says this is not the way it will happen. It will take time. Just like the way this virus swept around the globe in a wave coming to a crest, it will leave the same way, it will take some time, and we all need to not be overwhelmed by false, or should I say premature optimism, But, as we discussed last week, we need to be prepared, we need to plan right now to returning to life the way it used to be.  Certainly, we’ll be talking about that in the next few weeks. Today however, I’d like to talk about what you can do right now, this morning, as you read this, to not only be more effective in your business responsibilities, but also to stay calm, collected, and most of all sane, during this unusual and difficult time.

This is for all of you salespeople who are hunkered down in your homes trying to get through this. Most people in sales (most, not all) are gregarious, outgoing people. Most of us are people-persons who love communicating with our peers and our customers and yes. Just about anyone we meet.  This means we are especially affected by this lock down we are going through now. I get it. I have heard from some of you that you don’t even know how to work from home. Oh, you know how to work out of your car. You know how to operate effectively on the road. But, staying locked in your house for an indefinite length of time, now that is something you don’t know how to deal with.  So, for the sake of your sanity (and your family’s) here are some tips for working at home that I hope you will find useful.

  1. Set up a home office. If you don’t already have one, set one up. Create a space in your home where you can work comfortably. If you are lucky enough to have a room with a door you can shut, all the better. If not, then find a quiet space to set yourself up in.
  2. Communications system: make sure you have a phone, and a computer for conference calls and make sure they work well because you are going to spend a lot of time on them over the next few weeks.
  3. Keep to a schedule: This is critical! Pretend that it is a normal day and that you are getting in your car and going to work. The only difference is that you are not getting in your car, and the commute is much shorter. Here are a few hints for your “at home” business day:
    • Get up at the same time you would normally get up to go to work
    • Shower and dress like you would be going to work (nobody looks or feels professional hanging around in their pajamas!)
    • Plan your day. In fact, it is a better idea to plan your week, breaking the week down by days and then days by the hour. The most important thing you should do when you quit work every day is to make a list of the things you want to get done the following day.
    • Set your goals for the day and do all that you can to accomplish them. There is nothing more satisfying than making a written list of things you have to accomplish during your workday and then crossing those items off as you complete them.
    • Set up your day in blocks of time. Allot a set time for emails, and phone calls, and writing reports, and doing research and most importantly calling customers and making cold calls. I know some people (successful salespeople by the way) who set a goal of talking live to five potential customers a day, and will not quit until they do just that, no matter how many calls and voicemails it takes, they  only stop for the day when they have made those five live calls, in short, don’t quit for the day until you compete your list of thing you wanted to accomplish.
  4. Develop a daily routine and stick to it: If you don’t have a routine, with a schedule and a “to do” list, you will get lost in the quagmire of what I call a “Day without Corners”, a day where you just meander all day long with no set times, no set goals, and in the end no sense of accomplishment. You know what I’m talking about. You see recently retired people walking around in a daze with no sense of direction now that they don’t have an office to go to. Nope! Don’t let that be you. Put some “corners” in your day and you will not only be more effective, but more content and satisfied as well.
  5. And finally protect your psyche at all costs. Turn off the news for starters. We get it! It is awful out there, people are dying, people have the virus, we get it! We don’t need to hear it 24/7. Take a walk or a run; read that book you’ve been wanting to read; watch television there is great stuff streaming right now’ stop talking about the Virus, you’re not an expert, heck the experts are not experts! And finally enjoy the time with your family. This is a special time, you are all together, all at home, having family meals together, how often has that happened! How often will it happen when this is over? But most of all keep busy and productive and this will keep you in the right frame of mind, ready to face another day. 

It’s only common sense.

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