I am an avid list-writer. People who know me well know that I will eventually sit down with a pad and pen and write a to-do list. Sometimes time stops until I start checking things off my list, but the upside is that I’m capable of accomplishing a lot.
My daughter now writes lists, and when I talk with my dad on the phone he runs through the list of things he’s done that day: “I woke up and went swimming around 7 this morning, then I met my friend for breakfast and then I came home and turned the air conditioner on because it was so hot and then I emailed your cousins and then it was time for lunch.” I guess list-making is hereditary.
Now that my book is out, I am making tons of lists — lists of every contact who can help get the word out, lists of people to send the books to, lists of people to invite to my book launch party, lists of press, lists of family members . . . and because I end up dreaming about these lists it feels as if I am working on them continuously. But at some point, I know I’ll have to stop making the lists and start using them.
And that’s the sticking point for many people. An inside sales manager I met recently told me that he’d just hired 10 new sales development reps. When I asked him how he would be filling their lead buckets, he said that their first task would be to build their own lists. Whoa! I’m not sure this is a good idea.
Building lists (analytical, research, logic, curiosity, detailed, organization) and actually reaching out and making things happen (courage, motivation, risking rejection) are completely different skill sets. Most salespeople will happily create lists until the cows come home, but it’s much harder to get them to put those lists into action.
Managers: Go ahead and let them build their lists, but put a short time limit on it. Then motivate them like crazy to get out there and start contacting leads!