How to Get Your Telephone Selling Focus Back on Track

Have you ever had one of those days when you feel like you worked your butt off but when you look back you realize that you’ve sold nothing or sold very little; that you didn’t send that proposal; that your cold calling never happened; that you forgot to return that important call; that some key e-mails have not yet been answered?

If this happens every now and then, it’s no big deal. It was an off day.  But if you find that these days are occurring more and more often, you need to take action because they have a direct impact on your sales success.

Here’s a neat little tip to keep you on the track, do more and achieve your selling goals. Let me explain further …

Why We Lose Sales Focus

One of the primary reasons why we don’t sell as much as we could or should is because we lose focus of those activities that lead to sales success.

We come into the office with good intentions but we get side tracked on any number of issues. True, some issues are important and urgent and can’t be avoided but you know as well as I do that many issues are unimportant and lack any urgency (yet we still feel compelled to deal with them).  And while some issues have a degree of urgency attached to them (a ringing phone or a blinking voice message light) many end up being unimportant (the call was from accounting and they wanted you to complete Form 501D by the end of the week and the voice mail was from Ben asking if you knew who was eliminated off the island last night).

The point is these distractions assault us throughout the day and if we become victims to them then we lose focus of those things that really matter: thing like sales.

How to Regain Your Focus – The 2MR

Look, distractions are always going to occur but you can help minimize them.  One way to do that is with a technique called “The 2MR” – The 2-Minute Review.  Here’s how it works.  At the end of every hour stop whatever you are doing and take two minutes to:

  • Review what you are doing now
  • Review what you had planned to do
  • Review what you’ve done so far
  • Review what you need to do

Deceptively simple, eh?

You’ll be stunned at how effective this quick little assessment can be to help regain your sales focus.  You’ll discover that somehow you’re working on some trivial task and you’ll ask, “Why in heaven’s name am I doing this now?”  You’ll then look back further and realize that the last ten or fifteen minutes (or more) have been squandered and that your task of getting out that critical quote has taken a back seat and that your deadline for submission could be in jeopardy.

While as distressing as your evaluation may be, it does get you re-oriented and re-focused. You stop the idiotic chore and hunker down to the quote.  Mission accomplished.

5 Steps to Making The 2MR Work for You

First, have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish.  List your specific goals or areas of focus for the day such as cold calling, follow ups, proposals … all those things that lead directly to sales success.

Second, schedule those tasks and activities by blocking out time in whatever calendar system you might be using. You don’t need every single minute scheduled. Work in chunks and leave space in your day for responding to voice mails, e-mails, meetings, the odd emergency, and for ‘free time. But have the biggies scheduled and blocked.

Third, use Outlook or your smart phone or watch or whatever to set an alarm at 2 minutes to every hour. (Repeat: every hour)  Something … anything… to alert you to the moment.

Fourth, when the alarm goes off, gauge the situation as described above.  Reflect. Ponder. Evaluate.

Fifth, re-focus if necessary.  Do what you should be doing..  Do what NEEDS to be done. Ignore the rest. Don’t worry: when you have free time you can get back to the ‘other’ stuff.


The true thief of our selling success is distraction. Distractions derail our selling focus and impact our sales results. The 2MR can help change that.  By investing a mere 16 minutes every day you’ll become more effective and managing your time, your sales and your success.

BTW, this concept of an hourly review is masterfully described by Peter Bregman in his book 18 Minutes- Find Your Focus, Master Distraction and Get the Right Things Done.  Visit his website by going here.

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