What Matters...Now.

There's something really significant about the close of the Labor Day Weekend. It all gets serious and focused now. The beach stuff gets put away, school's back in session. And as a seller, you're staring right down the barrel at your fourth quarter...and at how Q1 will begin to take shape. Indeed these are a really critical couple of weeks ahead and - feeling somewhat overwhelmed - many of us will come out of the gates fast, generating a flurry of activity: phone lists, batches of email, tearing into anything that feels like an RFP.

My advice is to push back on that urge. The seller who lets emotion drive his decisions at a time like this is bound to conflate activity with progress. I feel busy, ergo I must be getting someplace. But feeling busy is to productivity what grunting and sweating is to physical fitness: just a showy manifestation. At critical times like this, the good ones get really calm and focused on just a handful of really important themes.

Shorten Your Stroke. Volume is not your friend right now. Rather than getting a lot of plates spinning all at once, make a conscious decision about which 4 or 5 accounts offer the biggest gettable yield. Look at their decision making process, your own penetration with the account, your level of visibility and how important it is for them to spend significantly (with someone) around a fixed set of calendar dates. Now put together a quick action plan around each and then spend 60-70% of your time pursuing those 4-5 plans.

Don't Cover Your Ass. It's easy to worry too much right now about what management thinks. You'll focus too much on checking boxes and making sure you've "turned over every stone" instead of executing a coherent strategy. Take your manager aside and explain your focused plan and the decisions you've made. Then move ahead.

Choose Generosity Over Fear. This is going to sound a little new age, but stay with me. When you start to feel anxious about where the next dollar might come from, that fear can become an anchor that pulls you to the bottom. At the exact moment you start to feel it, do something generous. Send something to a client... reach out to a co-worker and do something simple that might contribute to her success... be a little more curious and read a little more deeply than you might otherwise. I don't know why it works, but I know it does.

Want to add to this list for others? Contribute your own strategies for a successful re-entry below.