The way to be productive is to have a plan and work to make it happen.

There are three types of people: those who make things happen, those that watch things happen and those who wonder, "What happened?" To be successful in selling you must be in control of your life and the selling situation. Here are a few ideas to become more productive and creative:

Set goals for yourself and your sales area.

Set goals and write them down at the beginning of each year, month and week. Keep these goals with you and refer to them to keep yourself on course. Determine how you will reach these goals and where you are in reference to your final objective. Always make your goals obtainable but a stretch.

Goal setting should involve not only your professional life but your personal one as well. Some goals might be, getting so many leads or making five cold calls per week, improving your closing rate or making more appointments.

Take a close look at your presentation.

What does your presentation look like to a buyer? Ask a close friend or your spouse if they would buy the product from you. You'd be surprised the input you can get from a good friend.

What kind of impression do you make?

I really believe in asking questions. Be objective and don't get upset by the answers. You can't have a poor image or impression and be a good salesperson. The impression does not only mean the way you talk or present yourself; it could also include the way you dress. Conservative dress for either a male or female is required to be successful.

Make a list of why customers buy from you.

This is a list that every salesperson needs. Examine why each customer bought from you and keep the list with you. Prior to each call, review it, keeping fresh in your mind why you are successful.

Eat as many meals as possible with customers.

Eating alone is a waste of time. Spend this valuable time with a prospect or customer. It's a relaxing time while cementing the relationship.

Network where your prospects and customers gather.

Join civic groups and associations like the chamber of commerce, fraternal organizations and any other group that will allow you to increase your prospect base. Ask others in your organization to evaluate your performance. Ask, "How am I doing?" and listen to the responses.

Join speaking groups like the Toastmasters International.

It will give you the chance to speak in public and get an evaluation of your skills. It is a great way to have fun and improve.

Every day, learn something new about your company, a product or how to install them.

Take time to learn something new about the things you sell. Learning something new keeps you fresh in your selling ability. Keep track of things you learn in a diary and check to make sure that you are using these new facts in your presentations.

Make a tape of one of your presentations.

Listen to yourself and be honest - would you buy from a person like the one you heard on the tape? Make the changes necessary to make your story believable and honest. Tape your presentation, especially when you are not closing like you should or have in the past.

Everything we do costs us valuable time. When we are not prepared to make an effective presentation, we waste prospects' time. Use your time wisely; set goals that are obtainable, but a stretch; review your goals to make sure you are on target; make a plan daily and work that plan.