Five Quick Tips to Launch Early (and Lasting) Success in 2015 by Jae-ann Rock

Posted on Jan 6, 2015 in Archive

Looking for ways to get the new year off to a great start? From eliminating time wasters, to accelerating the sales cycle, these tips will put  you on the path to early success in 2015. 

When reading these tips, think about which two you will commit to this year. Write them down, make them visible during your work day. Then, begin incorporating them into your daily work habits starting THIS WEEK, to launch 2015 on a path of success. Ready…? 

1.)    Focus on one thing at a time. It has been proven that multitasking does not work well. In fact, it is a drain on productivity.

  • The Research:
    • Reduced Productivity: Research has shown that multitasking can reduce productivity by as much as 40 percent[1], but that’s not all…
    • Lower IQ? New studies have shown that multitasking may actually lower your IQ. (Scary thought, huh?) According to 2014 research from the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London, study participants who multitasked while performing cognitive tasks demonstrated IQ score declines as though they had stayed up all night. Why? Because technically, your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. So, in reality, when you think you’re multitasking, your brain is really just switching back and forth from one thing to another very rapidly. NOT the best use of your time
    • Short-term Memory Issues: To make matters worse, multitasking can interfere with short-term memory. The result? If you attempt to read an email while talking on the phone, you will be less likely to retain or recall details of either later. 
  • The Remedy: Instead, organize your work life to cut down on multitasking. Take a block of time each day to tune out distractions – ignore the phone, turn off email and text alerts.  You’d be amazed at what you can accomplish when you eliminate all the “noise” for an hour or two. 
  • Create Work Sprints: Take the first item on your prioritized to-do list and spend an uninterrupted 20 minutes completely focused on that task. Do not check email or answer the phone during this time. When the 20 minutes is up, take a 2 minute break. Get up, stretch, get a drink of water. Then, repeat the process one or two more times to really dig into your work at a highly focused level. You’ll be shocked at what you can complete during these uninterrupted time blocks.

2.)    Plan your work and work your plan. Not enough time in your day? You could be wasting time and energy on unnecessary or “low priority” tasks. You can’t do it all, so you must prioritize your work accordingly. 

  • First, list all of your to-do’s for the day, then prioritize your list into “urgent” versus “non-urgent”.  Estimate how long you think each task will take and double it. (We always underestimate the length of time required for tasks.) 
  • Make the list visible… Write down key assignments on a white board near your desk to stay on track.
  • Ask yourself: What is the highest and best use of my time right now? Time wasters melt away when you hold yourself accountable in this way.
  • Reduce Multitasking – (see #1 above!)
  • Be flexible to accommodate changing priorities.
  • Avoid perfectionism – don’t spend an unnecessary amount of time on any one thing – set a timer if you have to. 

3.)    Make Meetings Count. Corporate meetings can eat up all your time if you let them. Use meetings wisely by following these tips:

  • Is it necessary? First, determine if a meeting is really needed. Meetings are a major distraction from work and should not be the go-to method to discuss, debate and resolve every issue.
  • There’s no such thing as a 1-hour meeting. Consider this: If you’re going to call six people to a meeting then that is a six hour meeting.  Ask yourself, “Is this meeting worth the six hours of lost productivity?”
  • # Attendees? If you decide you do need a meeting, how many people should attend? Bob Fritsch and Josh Peck of Bloomberg recommend the following rule of thumb:
    • – Brainstorming: 20-35 people
    • – Discussion: Fewer than 20 people
    • – Agreement/Alignment: 6-14 people
    • – Decision making: 3-6 people
  • Meeting Length? Optimal length of a meeting is 45 minutes to 1 hour maximum.  If you must have a two-hour meeting, break it into two 1-hour meetings with a 15 minute break to refresh people’s focus. (Research shows that people naturally begin to lose focus after about 45 minutes – just FYI!)
  • Always have a meeting agenda. An agenda ensures the meeting stays on track and within the time allotted for each agenda item.  It provides clarity and controls discussion flow, increasing productivity of the meeting. Assign a meeting timekeeper prior to the meeting who will be responsible for adhering to the agenda and the allotted meeting time.

4.)    In Sales, Referrals are King. To rev up sales in 2015, set a goal to secure more referrals. 

  • We all know referrals build trust more quickly than a cold lead, creating a more optimal selling environment right from the start.
  • Create a referral system. Referrals are not the same as “word of mouth” advertising. Receiving regular referrals is the result of deliberate planning. To get more referrals, you must create a system to ASK for them.
  • Set a goal to ask for one referral every week.  By doing so, you will have at least 50 referrals by the end of the year – i.e. 50 warm leads!
  • If appropriate, create a referral program to reward clients who refer new business. 

5.)    Accelerate the Sale. By accelerating the sales cycle, you will free up time to close more deals in 2015. How? Create a sense of urgency, and be sure to work with decision makers early in the process!

  • Ask the prospect, “What is it costing you to NOT implement this solution?” Identify the key issue(s) the customer seeks to resolve with your solution. Probe to uncover details of their situation to understand exactly what pain or need you can help resolve. Now, help them understand the cost of doing nothing. Translate “waiting” into dollars and cents to create a real sense of urgency. 
  • What will happen if their competitor(s) implement your solution first?
  • If they are putting off the decision to buy, ask them specifically what will change in 60 or 90 days that will bring them closer to a decision at that time.
  • Use budget cycle or quarterly deadline incentive as needed.
  • Always work with decision makers early in the sales cycle! This is critical. Otherwise, you will waste your time speaking with an influencer who will “sell internally on your behalf”, creating a L-O-N-G sales cycle that may never close. Don’t go down this rat hole. Find and work with decision makers early. (If you need a list of corporate training & HR decision makers, look no further… Mentor Tech Group has exactly what you need.)
  • Always demonstrate enthusiasm and full conviction in your solution’s ability to help resolve the prospect’s issues. Remember, enthusiasm is contagious. This alone will greatly accelerate the sales cycle!   

Which Two Did you Choose? 

Challenge yourself to adopt at least two of these principles this year and then:   

  • Write them down and make them visible throughout your work day. 
  • Pin them to your bulletin board, tape them to your desk, and make them a recurring “to-do” reminder. 
  • Start each day with these in focus.

By doing so, these will soon become a habit, leading to a more productive, successful year!  


If you are selling and marketing to corporate training & HR, here’s a tip just for you… 

Don’t waste one more week of your precious time. Get 2015 off to a great start — take a few minutes to check out Mentor Tech Group’s market intelligence database of 34,000+ corporate decision makers in corporate training and HR. 

See what clients are saying about MTG’s data:  

“We needed a RELIABLE list resource to provide us with accurate, up-to-date corporate training and HR decision-maker contact information.  Mentor Tech Group has far surpassed our expectations, providing us with highly accurate information, four-month updates, and regular marketing tips and ideas to make best use of our list. 

Our reps no longer waste time trying to hunt around to find the right contact – Mentor Tech Group has done all the hard work for us!  I highly recommend their list services to anyone marketing to corporate training and HR.”  

Melonia da Gama

WW Sales Enablement and Director of Product Marketing, Learning

Kenexa – an IBM Company

Isn’t it time you found out about the MTG difference? Learn more about our unique Job Codes and how we hand-build our lists, making MTG’s data the most accurate available in the industry today. 

Commit to having a discussion with your Mentor Tech Group sales rep this week, and start your year off right. Contact us today at: 651-457-8600, Ext. 3.

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[1] Rubinstein, Joshua S.; Meyer, David E.; Evans, Jeffrey E. (2001). Executive Control of Cognitive Processes in Task Switching. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 27(4), 763-797.

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