As a cook, I have  never been very good at following recipes. I typically read the instructions once, get a general idea of how it should to come together, close the book and do it my own way. As I think about my life in general, that’s usually  been my approach to things. I kind of listen to the rules and do it my own way.

This tendency to ignore rules has been a sticking point over the last few years with my sales coach Matt Nettleton. While he encourages me to internalize the rules and rewrite the dialogue and questions in a way that sounds natural for me, he is a stickler on one ingredient in a sales recipe:  The sales phone call. And although I love talking on the phone in general, I hate making sales calls. I have fought him and fought him and fought him on the requirement that I make a specific number of calls each day. But the truth is the business “tastes better” when I make the calls every day.

So every morning, I take out a blank sheet of paper and make a list of the people I will call that day. Sometimes it’s a list of former clients, other times it’s a list of people who have attended seminars, or people I’ve worked with years ago. I call friends,  former referral sources and occasionally even people who don’t know me at all. I typically send these folks an email or post card to warm up the call. There’s always someone to call

It never ceases to amaze me that when I plan out my calls in the morning and make a few throughout the day, it really isn’t all that hard.  And the really cool thing is that particularly when they are former clients and friends, the conversations are fun and I enjoy the connections and sometimes I even sell things. Maybe even things that I haven’t expected.

My cooking hasn’t really improved over the few years. I still follow recipes the way I want to follow recipes. But when it comes to my business, 10 calls a day is one part of my sales recipe I never change.