Ninth in a series

Distributor owner and swag sales coach Josh Frey answers frequently asked questions on a wide range of sales topics.


I know I am in sales, but I find myself distracted by everything but sales—checking emails, dealing with factories, meetings and so on. Any suggestions on how to better focus and get into a sales rhythm?

Thanks for your inquiry. The answer to your question lies in the very word you used… focus.

In this same column in December, we discussed why it’s important to plan your work, then work your plan. For March, we talked about finding yourself an “accountabilibuddy” to hold yourself accountable for what you said you would do. These are all foundational tools and strategies to position your swag biz for growth.

If you’ve made it this far, then you are well prepared to crush your sales in 2022 and you are hopefully already enjoying the fruits of your labor into Q2.

So now it’s time to dial it in and really focus. What are you doing on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to get sales rolling? Are you working efficiently, effectively and successfully? How much time do you spend on actually selling and building relationships?

For me, this all starts with time blocking, managing my distractions and staying hyper-focused on revenue-generating activities, especially during the times of the day or week when I know my customers are available.

I use a weekly sales scheduler, a calendar which breaks down what I am doing every day into hourly time blocks. It helps me focus and get back on track when I fall off the rails. It helps me drive my schedule and—because I’m on schedule—my sales. You can create one for yourself pretty easily.

On a recent “Distributors Helping Distributors” show, my business partner Michael Mahoney and I hosted Stephanie Zafarana, executive coach and time management expert, who provided us with some great tools and tips for driving our schedules, and improving our productivity. 

Zafrana shared some examples of how decision making fatigue and a lack of planning directly impede our success and even the fun we should be having in this business, along with ways we can all counter these challenges, by taking charge of our sales efforts, and schedules.   

Here are three key takeaways to help you drive your sales and get better results:

Plan the night before. Plan your work, then work your plan has always been a strategy we deploy at The Swag Coach, and the same applies to planning your time and your schedule. Consider organizing yourself the night before your big workday and simplifying your to-do list to the three most important things you will accomplish beginning in the morning.

Block off time. Most of us want to block out chunks of our day to focus on sales or a main objective, but inevitably get sidetracked or stuck reacting to our emails, client requests, employee interruptions and more.

When are you most productive? Take that block of time, two or three hours, and use it to get hyper-focused on those one to three key objectives you have for the day. Plan your schedule around this time block, not over it. If you can discipline yourself to stay the course and protect this time block on your schedule, you will find each day to be more productive and fulfilling. Try it for a week and see if it makes a difference in your business.

Create stop-doing lists. As Zafarana says, “time is the thing we waste most and wish we had more of.” Do you even realize what you are wasting your time on? 

Try this exercise: Each day for two weeks, list out the activities and tasks you completed for that day. When those two weeks are up, you will have a comprehensive list of what you are doing on a regular basis. Separate out these activities or tasks into two columns: a to-do column and a stop-doing column. Focus on the to-do list, which should be revenue-generating activities, and hand off the stop-doing tasks that get in the way of your productivity. You will be way more effective, and you’ll have a ton more fun.   

If you are looking to get into a productive sales routine that will yield the results and take-home dollars you have set out to accomplish in 2022, then consider leveraging these tips and tools for your own swag biz.   

Frey is founder of Falls Church, Virginia-based distributor On Sale Promos and the Swag Coach Program. He is a 25-year industry veteran and front-line sales coach. Visit to register for his next Distributors Helping Distributors show and learn more about his promo coaching programs offered.