Energize Your Sales Planning and Focus

By: Susan Boydell | sboydell@barlowmccarthy.com

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra

I want you to think about your average week in the field. You’re in your car driving from one office to the next. Some visits go as expected, others go better than expected, and then there are those loser visits. When you get to the end of the week did you accomplish what you planned to accomplish? The answer is probably not. It’s funny how things happen on Monday’s that completely derail what we planned the rest of the week. If this is you (I believe it’s the majority of us!), take yourself through the following three steps to assess where you are and what you can do to be more effective, more productive and overall more successful in the field each week. One little tip… it requires complete honesty to really make a difference!

Step 1: Dust off your pre-call plan

Oh, the dreaded pre-call plan. If you’ve gotten out of the habit of doing one now’s the time to re-engage the discipline. Part of your self-assessment is understanding where you are with each of your physician targets and to ensure each interaction with them is progressing toward the desired outcome. A simple pre-call plan forces you to proactively think about just that.  It also helps you understand just how successful you are at completing what you intended each week. If you are completing 65-70% of the visits planned you are doing well. If you are less than 50%, you have an opportunity to tighten that up. Keep a log for 30 days that highlights distractions. Note internal requests, physician issues that required immediate follow-up, personal interruptions – anything that pulled you in a different direction. This will help you identify what you can do differently and what might require help from others. Focus on the items you can do differently.

Step 2: Dig into your activity report

This step will help you recognize stagnant physicians or if you are spending too much time on the doctors that are just easier. We all have easy doctors and on a tough day we love them because they love us. Start by running your physician target list by the number of visits in the last 6-12 months. You will easily see those who had the most visits and those who had none. For those with the most, evaluate whether the relationship progressed or it is stuck. Then make plans accordingly.  Spend some time assessing those in the middle. Which of those physicians are solid targets that you can proactively advance? Dig into the physicians on the bottom and create a list of prospects. The key is to set a personal goal to hit 1-2 prospects each week. Include it in your pre-call plan!

Step 3:  Plan for the next three visits

This is about thinking beyond the next visit. You’ve done a good thorough analysis of your activity reports. Now, let’s take 5-10 target physicians with whom you believe you can make a difference. Get a good mix of physician targets that include those you have strong relationships with to those you have never visited. Think and plan out the next three visits. Each visit should set up the objective of the next visit. What will you do different in an office you regularly visit?  Script it out. If it’s a new office, think hard about how you will get past the gatekeeper. Think about where you hope to be at the end of the third visit and then track in your activity report how effective you were.

Time flies by and before you know it another month or quarter has flown by. Stopping just long enough to reassess how we are doing personally is a discipline we could all benefit from. Give it a try and we invite you to share with our other followers what worked, what you learned and any other tips that helped you stay focused in the field.