EmilyEvans's avatar
Continually Growing Your Business

The journey to becoming great at anything is an adventure that is not to be undertaken lightly. It should be done with intention and deliberation, but it hardly ever is. Usually we think we'll become the expert on something overnight, with little to no effort. Not that we have any experiences to back that up, quite the opposite really, but that's our thought process nonetheless. Today I’m talking about being great in sales by continually bringing on new clients.

The biggest struggle is to maintain consistency. Just as we get the ball rolling getting clients on board, selling things left and right, it seems like all of a sudden we complete what we're working on then BOOM everything stops. What happened? In most cases we have failed at one very important thing. Continual prospecting. (We're not talking about how to prospect this time, that's a totally different post!) How do we keep the cycle going and avoid the peaks and valleys?

Plan your time and have the discipline to stick to it.

Sounds easy enough. Then life happens. Things take us off track and all of a sudden the day, the week, the month, the YEAR have gone by and we haven't accomplished everything we wanted to. Why did this happen? Because, in many cases, we didn’t have any plan to start with or if we did we didn’t adjust it when things happened. What can be done?

A good friend of mine once asked me who my most important client is. When I responded, “They’re all important,” he gently reminded me that wasn’t true. “Your most important client is your future client,” he said. This reminder was perfect to help me re-frame how I was thinking about building my business. You must set time aside every day for finding those new clients, and if you’re not, you may not be in business much longer. The best place to start is to figure out where you’re spending your time.

Why do I bring up how you spend your time when talking about building consistency in sales? Because if you don’t know where you’re spending your time, it’s impossible to see where you need to make a change. I’ve seen it time and again. You start with a heavy emphasis working to get new clients, that shifts to taking care of those new clients you just gained, then once done you start all over again with trying to get more new clients. It’s a cycle that is very difficult to correct, especially when you don’t know it’s happening! How do you correct it?

Time blocking is where I started. I took my calendar and dedicated set times to do stuff. It was … ineffective to say the least. What I ended up seeing is that the time blocks I randomly set up were hard to stick to because I didn’t put enough thought into how much time I actually needed for things. However, it did help me understand how I was spending my time and realize where I needed to make adjustments. If you’re just starting out in business, how much time you’re spending working to gain new clients is going to be disproportionally higher than if you’ve been around for a while. The struggle for me was/is continually adjusting my plan to figure out how to keep finding new clients in my day.

Here are 5 ideas on how to help keep your business going:
  1.  Social media posts. These are easy to do during the times of day that you can’t be in front of your clients.
  2. Focus how you’re spending your time and be present. If you’re at a networking event, an expo, a fair, or whatever, be there. Don’t be on your phone checking email, texting, checking voicemail, etc.
  3. Help train your existing clients that this is not a 24/7 world we live in as small business owners. Have a standard time you return voicemails, emails, etc. so they know that – although you aren’t answering their call right then because you’re being present while doing something else – you will be getting back to them and they know when.
  4. Referrals. The goose that lays the golden egg. Invest your time in events and with people who give you the best ROI for your time. If you’ve not built your network of advocates who are out there talking up your business to potential clients for you, it might be something you want to focus on.
  5. Show value. A great way to do this is to share information about things happening in your industry that impact your clients. Information that impacts their industry makes it relevant and makes them want to share that info with others. (AKA your potential future clients)

All in all, it’s about making sure you're spending time effectively. Being focused while you’re working on something, attending a meeting, or being with your family. Don’t let distractions derail you, but when they do … and they will … make sure you have your plan handy so that you can get back on track easily.

As another of my great mentors has said, “Stop seeking perfection. Stay busy and course correct often. Perfection is the enemy of progress.”

Thanks to Jonathan Whistman, author of Sales Boss, for helping me re-frame who my best clients are and to Joe Buzzello, author of The CAP Equation, for helping me realize a plan doesn’t have to be perfect to work. I will never forget all you’ve done to help me in my career and work to pay it forward daily.

(p.s. Speaking about not being perfect … number of times I got distracted as I wrote this article: 9)

Thanks for reading; until next time. Emily

Emily Evans has been running her own business as an Independent Agent for Aflac since 2011 and has been an active member of the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce since around 2013. She is passionate about helping people live the American Dream; from helping small business owners growing their businesses with strategic positioning of employee benefits, helping their employees be more productive and better protected, and individuals looking to live the American Dream with their own business as an Aflac Agent. Emily is an alumna and mentor of Gilbert Leadership (Class XXV), a member of the Small Business Committee, and is part of the marketing committee for the Gilbert Historical Museum. Please contact her for additional questions by emailing her at emily_evans@us.aflac.com or by calling her office 480-535-4998 and scheduling an appointment.