Business owners: For better sales efforts, do each of these 30-minute tasks just once a week–but do them every week.

Feeling overwhelmed? The mere thought of everything you think you need to do can keep you from doing anything.

I am a huge fan of leverage and efficiency—or, as I think of it, getting more out of less. I also believe in the power of intentional habits.

So I am going to give you 4 new habits—only 30 minutes a week for each—that will change both your life and your revenue growth.

1. Talk to one client for 30 minutes

I’m not talking about the kind of shallow cocktail party conversations that we have too often with colleagues, customers and even competitors.

Don’t talk about what you are doing now for them now, and for God’s sake, do not conduct a check-in customer survey. (“Hi, I wanted to let you know that you are an important customer and I wanted to make certain we are exceeding your expectations.”) This type of blather doesn’t generate deep relationships, create a sense of partnership, or grow revenues. It’s expensive maintenance and demeans both of you.

Instead, let me give you a few suggestions:

  • DO talk about the future of the industry, competition, market conditions and economy as it relates (from their perspective) to their company and potentially to your work together.
  • DO talk about their business outlook for the next six months. What are they excited about or concerned about? Is there anything on the horizon that they think will cause a big shift?
  • DO ask their advice on any general business issues that you are considering—new products, markets, technology or ideas. Then praise them for their answer and thank them for it.

The reason you are doing this is to change the very nature of your relationship as senior executives/owners/decision-makers. Few things will generate more business opportunities than changing the nature of your relationship in a positive way. Think of it: You can intentionally increase the quality of dozens of key business relationships within months. First make the time, then change the conversation.

2. Talk to one key prospect for 30 minutes

You may be getting your prospects through your sales people, marketing efforts, personal connections or promotions. It doesn’t matter. You need to be talking to at least one very qualified prospect every single week.
What should you talk to them about? THEM. What is their business issue, what are the problems that they are having or are trying to solve, why are they talking to you? These are all great places to start.

Look, you are probably not going to do hard-rock mine prospecting—you don’t have the focused time or persistence to do it. You may do some networking, sure. But if you want to enhance your market understanding, connect more directly to the market needs and create some remarkable new client relationships.  This approach will give you 52 opportunities in a year.

3. Talk to one industry leader for 30 minutes

It’s really easy to become the smartest person in the room for your market and industry. Just talk to all of the other smartest people.  It’s not hard.

Schedule a 30-minute call with the smart people in your industry to talk about what they see as the future of the world. Then ask good questions and pay attention to their answers.

Who are these people?

  • Industry trade association board member
  • Blogger or thought leader
  • Article writers
  • Suppliers, researchers, platform technology companies

These people are interested, for their own purposes, in connecting with you. They are connected to EVERYONE else; connecting to them will connect you to whom they are connected.

4. Talk to one key sales person for 30 minutes

If you have salespeople, manufacturer’s representatives, dealers, distributors or brokers, spending 30 minutes per week with these people is invaluable.

Again, I stress, stay away from the transactional call. Don’t dive into the specs of current deals, hassles and issues you are already managing. You want these conversations to be strategic, future looking and expansive.

With all four of these guidelines, I am pushing you to position yourself and the person with whom you are conversing in a very different relationship context: strategic, aligning, forward-thinking and opportunity-exploring.

If you follow these simple guidelines for just 90 days, you will have 50 combined business-changing conversations that very well may generate more revenue than a thousand prospecting calls.

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