Structure your day to make the business-development, sales-funnel, and work time.

What’s the first thing you do every day? I bet you can’t wait to get to your email, or check Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. What time do you surface from all this activity? Some of my clients tell me, “lunchtime.” I don’t really think that’s accurate, but the truth is we waste hours every day on activities that don’t contribute to business development. These are hours spent on activities that don’t deliver a return on your time investment.

Here’s my rule: I do what’s “closest to cash” first—every day. It could be writing a proposal, following up on a referral, returning a phone call, scheduling a meeting with a sales prospect, or chatting with someone about introducing me to their contact.

I used to clean out my Inbox every day. No more. If an email or other activity doesn’t contribute to building my business, it’s not worth spending my valuable time during prime business hours. I can research, read, and listen to podcasts and webcasts if, and when, I have time.

Sales is not about making a list and checking off as many things as possible. Top sales people focus on developing business first. Do what’s “closet to cash” every single day (But make time to take the dog…and you…for a walk.)