Is time management really possible in a chaotic sales environment? Meetings, events, training, proposals, contracts, and the list goes on and on. Then, as if that’s not enough, you’re hit with the last minute “stop everything and deal with it” issues. At the end of the week, reviewing what you did, once again you’ve failed in getting crucial prospecting activity completed. Why does this keep happening? More importantly, what can you do about it?
Every single long-term top producing salesperson and/or manager that I have dealt with has mastered time management in some fashion or another. They fully understand that all activity is crucial to month end month out success. There are common key elements that these top producers possess. Elements that can be learned and practiced by anyone with a desire to progress.
Belief, Focus and Action
In the previous article – Self Expediency is Key to Success – I talked about self expediency as a mindset. It’s a belief that if you don’t perform now you will fail. It’s a belief in the numbers and work ethic. You know that without this activity you won’t hit your goals. If you don’t hit your goals you won’t accomplish the things that your career can offer and you desire.
This absolutely applies to time management. You need to come to the realization that this action is imperative to get your sales production to the “next level”. Without time management you will fail. It needs to be a priority and you need to act on it now.
Work Effort and Organization
The last organization that I worked for had over sixty sales people in our office alone. As large as this group was the “eighty-twenty” rule was alive and well. Studying the twenty percent that performed eighty percent of all sales I did make a discovery.
The common man is not concerned about the passage of time, the man of talent is driven by it. – Shoppenhauer
One salesman in particular stood out above the rest. I would watch him come in before everyone else and leave after everyone else always working on clerical items during these hours. He did not waiver from his schedule and goals set for the day. Overhearing one of his calls… He was telling an existing customer that he would get back with him in an hour or so. The customer was trying to make an additional purchase. I thought, “What’s he doing? What could take precedence over making a sale with an existing customer?” Then I saw him pick up the phone and start cold calling off a list he had put together the night before.
Time Management Success
1. Prioritize and Stop Procrastinating
In the example before you can easily see that this salesman had indeed prioritized cold calling as a “crucial to success” item. He had planned who he was going to call the evening before. He had scheduled a time during the day that he knew was crucial in contacting this vertical market list.
2. Set Goals and Realistic Schedules
There is no doubt in my mind that goals had been set. He had goals that had been planned out and prepared for. Then he set a realistic schedule and would not tolerate interruptions. So many times we pack way too much in our day. This is always a recipe for disaster.
3. Anticipate Problems and Learn to Say No
I am pretty sure he had anticipated problems/interruptions as he had an immediate answer for the existing client. Politely he let the customer know that he would need to get back with him as soon as he could. He had definitely learned to say no when it made good business sense.
Obviously you’ll have “exceptions” that will interrupt your time management goals. But you need to keep these as “exceptions”. Make sure you set a reasonable and realistic schedule. Anticipate interruptions and be willing to say no when it makes good business sense. Time management should be a priority, a mindset. Start working on it now and become the top producer you have always dreamed to be.Photos courtesy of 123RF