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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

Get Organized

I haven't observed many disorganized salespeople. Even if you aren't a person who is normally highly organized, if you are successful in sales it's because you have worked to compensate for any inclination to be disorganized. But if you are looking for ways to become more organized, you might find the following discussion helpful.

Disorganization actually starts as a state of mind. Disorganized people tend to be comfortable with disorganization, seeing it as inevitable. They may even wear it as a badge of honor. Unfortunately, others may perceive them as being ineffective, even if they aren't.

How does disorganization become evident? First and foremost is the desk, work area, cubicle, home office, or car. These are the most visible to you and offer stark feedback about how organized (or disorganized) you are. I've found that it usually takes a lot less time to clean up an area than I think it will. And once I do clean it up, I find that I feel much more organized. When you look at your desk or work area and it looks disorganized, you subconsciously think, "If I can't control my own desk, what can I control?" When you feel you don't have control, your stress level goes up. So one of the best ways to lower stress and be more productive is to clean up your work area.

The quickest way to clean up the work area is to get some boxes and take what's on top of the desk and place it in the boxes. Label the boxes "desktop as of [date]." By doing this, you'll know where everything is, but things won't distract you on your desk. You can leave on the desk anything that is an active work project. The best thing is to put those items into vertical trays, not horizontal stacks. If your car is stacked with papers, do the same thing. The key is to ask when was the last time you used the papers, and pack them in the box if you can't remember. The rule is that it always takes longer to find something than it takes to file it.

The second way that salespeople sometimes get disorganized is not planning for appointments. This is one of the three most common mistakes that salespeople make (see page 52). Fortunately, this is correctable with some good planning strategies.


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