A key determining factor for your level of success or failure in medical sales is in your pocket

After penning the title for this article, it occurred to me that some medical sales representatives probably have no idea what I’m referring to.  You might be thinking that the key to success that spends time in your pocket is:

Your car keys:  Wrong by a long shot.  What you drive has nothing to do with your level of success, although you wouldn’t know that by a few new sales reps who lease the new BMW their first week on the job!

Your wallet:  Wrong again, but close since you need to invest in your business to get the return that you desire.  The problem is that your investment won’t get you very far if you don’t have and carefully use the item I’m talking about.

Your comb and mirror:  No, that’s not it either. Grooming is important, but it’s not your stylish hairdo, your radiant smile, or your carefully applied make-up that makes you successful.

If you were to take the item that I’m talking about out of your pocket (or your purse) and allow me to look at it, I can make a reasonably good estimate of your level of success.  Seriously!

It’s your calendar.

Whether you maintain a schedule in Outlook, on a smart phone, a tablet, in a paper and ink planner, or any other planning device doesn’t matter.  What matters is what you schedule or what you don’t.

You see, your calendar reveals what matters to you most and by omission, what doesn’t matter to you much at all.

Let me remind you that the only difference between successful and unsuccessful people is how they think and how they spend their time.  Let me share some specific sales examples with you.

Look at the calendar of an average or low-performing sales rep and here’s what you’ll find:  a few appointments and a disorganized to-do list.  These are people who schedule only the things that they don’t want to forget to do, such as a scheduled appointment with a customer, getting their teeth cleaned, or having the oil changed in their car.  Everything else in their lives happens either when they get to it or when they feel like it.

What about top performers, the best of the best, the top 1%–what would you see when you looked at their calendars?  The first thing you would notice is that their calendars are full and carefully organized.  But here are three things you are likely to find in the calendars of top-performers that you will almost never find in the calendars of average or sub-par performers.

1.  Top-performers schedule time to plan each day carefully—every day!  They know that the efficiency they get from doing this allows them to get more done with less stress. They have a plan to call on each and every customer and influencer on a regular basis to stay top of mind.  They also schedule time to plan each and every sales call in detail.  I teach salespeople how to create a sales plan in about ten minutes, yet many still won’t take the time…yet they’ll spend hours or even days wondering what went wrong that caused them to lose the sale.  Duh!

2.  Top-performers schedule time for continuing education, i.e. to read, study, and listen to critical information affecting what they do every day.  They study their products.  They study their competitors’ products.  They read industry journals.  They keep their selling skills sharp by regularly reading about, listening to information about, and even taking self-study courses about healthcare selling.  You might be thinking, “I would like to do these things, but I just don’t have the time.”  Guess what?  No one is going to give you the time!  You have to create it and schedule it.  If you’re not in the top 5% of sales producers in your company or your territory, this is probably why (along with your unscheduled, helter-skelter work habits).

3.  Top-performers schedule time with the people they care about most.  Do you walk around telling people, “Nothing is more important to me than my family?”  If that’s true, then time with them is scheduled in your calendar.  Let’s face it; it’s easy for the people in your life to take a back seat to pressing business issues.  This creates relationship problems that affect how you think and perform at work.  Top-performers know the importance of solid relationships in their personal lives, so time with those they care about shows up in their calendars.

If you ever find yourself wondering why you’re not hitting your sales numbers or why you’re feeling stressed-out and burned-out, the answer is probably in your calendar.  The good news is that it’s easily fixed.  The bad news is that most of you who read this will continue to use your calendar for nothing more than to know what day it is.

What’s in your calendar?