This article originally appeared on Sales Hacker.
The last hour of work is my favorite. And no, not because I can’t wait for work to be over.
Much ado has been made about the importance of a strong sales morning ritual, but did you know an end-of-day sales ritual can be just as powerful? The reason I have a set schedule for the end of my day is not only to help me stay organized, but to achieve my ultimate goal in sales: driving agreements. Keeping my workflow efficient and systematic has empowered me to focus on that goal, leading to a successful career in sales. This all began 14 years ago, when I started my sales career selling alarms door to door in Southern California. One of the many sales lessons I learned in that role is that the last hour of the workday should be your most productive.
In our office, we called this the “golden hour.” Our manager promised us that if we would push through until the very end, we would talk to more people and be more successful, and he was right. There were many nights where our coworkers were waiting in the car while we were closing the final deal of the day.
In the B2B world, the last hour of the day does not have the same meaning as it did knocking on doors. However, it is still my favorite part of the day because I get to look back at all of the hard work I put into the day, and plan for the next day.
Creating and maintaining a schedule is important for everyone, and especially important for people in sales to be able to focus on the main goal of creating more agreements. On my calendar I have the last hour of the day blocked off from any other meetings. During this hour, I take the time to step back and do the following things each day:
- Review The Day – First, I look back at all of the meetings I had that day. I think about what was accomplished, what I owe my prospects/customers as far as information, and what next steps I will take to progress the discussion further. This is a key time to evaluate what went right, what went wrong, and what I can do to help push the needle further toward achieving my goals. I also take the time to review my team’s needs: how their meetings went, and if there’s anything they need from me.
- Review The Next Day – After reviewing what happened today, I look forward to the next day to see what is coming up. I prepare for my meetings taking place that day by doing research on new prospects, preparing information and pricing for calls, and deciding if I need to add any additional meetings internally. This is another point where I look at my team’s needs—if there are any meetings I need to join or any materials they need from me.
- Update CRM – Whether it’s Salesforce or another CRM, one of the most crucial things that gets missed in sales is keeping consistent notes and next steps updated in your CRM. This will help you remember each conversation you had with a prospect for future calls and later follow-up. Many deals that don’t get closed the first time can reappear in a year or two if the prospect isn’t happy with the solution they bought, and it’s helpful to be able to accurately recall how the conversation went. Keeping copious notes and next steps will also help you forecast your deals more accurately, which will make happier managers.
- Send Follow-Up Emails – Reviewing your pipeline and following up with your prospects should be a daily habit. This does not mean you email each person each day (because that is very annoying) but you should have a sequence of follow-ups that happens on a daily basis. My days are usually packed with calls and meetings so this last hour is the time to make the follow-ups to help progress deals. Make sure your whole team is also following this sequence so that all prospects are given the same attention.
- Clean Email Inbox – I am inbox zero all the way. Keeping a clean email inbox not only helps keep you organized, but it really helps to prioritize the emails that need to be followed up with quickly. I have a folder system for all emails and at the end of the day I have either replied to every email or put the email in a folder to follow up as soon as I have the information I need. I have to attribute a large amount of my sales success to email so this is very important to me. Staying on top of emails and replying promptly builds trust with prospects—they can always rely on hearing back from you, no matter how small of a question they have.
- Review Contracts – It’s important to know what stage a contract is in—whether it’s waiting for a signature or up for renewal. Taking some time to look through the inbox of the contract lifecycle management platform ensures I know when I need to send a reminder for a signature or set a meeting to discuss the renewal. Features such as deadline alerts help me stay on top of renewals, and notifications help me stay on top of what I need to do to get a deal across the line; whether it’s accepting edits, responding to comments, or putting my signature on a document.
With so many things to do in the day, taking some time to pause and evaluate is a great way to stay on top of things and ensure nothing is falling through the cracks. Here are three ways to get started creating your own end-of-day ritual:
- Put a block on your calendar. Make it official, and hold to it. If people try to schedule meetings during that time, reschedule them unless it’s absolutely urgent.
- Make a list of your daily “close-up” tasks. All roles are slightly different, so personalize your list so that you never miss a step. It’s also helpful to go over your team’s lists to ensure they aren’t leaving anything out.
- Stick to it and re-evaluate. Set a check-in with yourself and your team a few months down the road. What are the most successful parts of your last hour? What isn’t working as well? Is everyone still on track and holding to this schedule? Take some time to step back and make sure this plan is still working for everyone.
Hopefully, this will help you look at the end of the day differently, find more success, and smash that quota!