April 30, 2021 Comments Closed

Stop Using A ‘To-Do’ List and Start A ‘Have-To’ List

Posted by:CLIFTON WARREN onApril 30, 2021

Do you ever find yourself constantly recalling some tasks you need to attend to, when there are others you might forget for days or weeks, or even forever?

You are probably not alone.

People regularly ask me for tips on how to manage those items that scream for your attention and keep jumping up to the front of the line, squeezing out important tasks and those that are important and urgent.

Worse still, the tasks you don’t get to, and those you leave incomplete, such as business development, have a way of reverberating in your head.

Many professionals use to-do lists, where they log everything they must accomplish. To do lists have been around for ages, and you can have versions for computers, diaries, and notepads.

For a salesperson, though, and for anyone else with a responsibility for client revenue, the to-do list has a major flaw.

It gets too big.

And when that happens, big, important clients and business development tasks can easily get lost in the list.

All professionals have a choice between two options: they can either spend their time in ‘business’ or just in ‘busy-ness’, where their time is not focused on what really needs to be done to drive business.

Top professionals don’t have ‘to-do’ lists; they make ‘have-to’ lists.

The Four Have-To Lists You Have To Have

Replace your to-do lists with these four have-to lists:

Targets of attention. These are your top 20% clients, who contribute 80% of your revenue. This list would also include your mega accounts, which you cannot afford to lose. List the names of every one of your top 20% clients and the next actions that you have to complete to retain these clients.

Targets of opportunity. This list contains existing clients who have new needs, and target competitor accounts that you would like to acquire. List the names of these accounts and the next actions that have to be completed to grow your revenue.

Targeted prospects. This is a list of prospective clients for your potential new business pipeline. It includes suspects to qualify and convert into qualified prospects. This prospecting task is the next action you have to take, to fill and maintain an overflowing pipeline of qualified prospects.

Targets of influence. On this list are all your non-client referral sources – the ideal number to have is 10 – and your existing clients, for you to follow up and ask for referrals. You should also list the next action steps you have to take to generate 80% of new business from referrals.

Together, these four target lists represent the relationships and marketing factors that require your attention and action. Remember, every action represents potential new business and new growth opportunities.

When you plan your day, review these lists. Choose four to six important things you have to do and schedule them in your diary.

At the end of the week, spend a further 10 to 15 minutes reviewing your lists. Cross out completed actions and add new ones as they become apparent. You can easily maintain your lists on your phone, computer, or tablet with Apple Reminders, Evernote, or OneNote. If you prefer, pen and paper also work very well.

That’s how you integrate and balance pro-active marketing with the needs and demands of your existing clients. It works.

By following these steps, you can avoid the ‘busy-ness’ syndrome, and focus on ‘business’ – and the important things required to drive your business growth.

It’s not a ‘to-do’, a ‘should-do’ or a ‘gonna-do’. It’s a have-to.

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