Sometimes when I train salespeople, I joke that the reason we ended up in sales is because we didn’t do our homework in school. Therefore, our grades weren’t so great and the rest is history. The irony is that the most effective salespeople do their “homework”, but yet don’t use “getting ready” as a reason to put-off such things as prospecting calls. Yet, we all can use a few pointers on getting things done on-time and time management in sales:
- Learn about the difference between “pay-time” and “no pay-time”. Pay-time, in business to business sales, is usually 9am to 5pm. All selling and prospecting activities are pretty limited to this time, Monday through Friday. No Pay-time activities include preparing proposals and quotations; organizing your database, desk or files; going to the barbershop or hair salon, shopping, internet searches and studying web-sites. A Salesperson needs to stay on the right side of the “Trouble Line”. When a Salesperson starts doing no pay-time activities during pay-time, they are headed into trouble.
- Start setting appointments instead of taking interruptions. Have a set time during the day to meet with those that work with you. It’s much more effective and efficient than taking interruptions throughout the day. An advanced form of this is setting appointments with yourself as to when you will do prospecting calls. As you do that, have a voice mail message that tells people when you are available and when you will be returning calls. Through this you can even train customers when to call you and guess what, they like it!
- Start saying “No” more often. Do you have one of those salespeople in your office that everyone loves, but he can’t close anyone? It’s because he has a high need for approval. That’s generally coupled with a high fear of rejection and an inability to say “No”. So, he spends countless hours helping instead of getting decisions. When you say “no” to an interruption that can wait, you are also getting more comfortable with getting prospects to say “no” and often, that’s when all the selling really starts!
- Get two screens. Yup, two monitors are three times as good as one. Have your CRM open on one, have Microsoft apps and web stuff on the other. Because you won’t have to flip-flop back and forth so much nor print things out as often, I promise this will save you about a half day a week. In a year, that’s five weeks that you will save – you owe me a vacation for this tip!
- Get a GPS. I hope you have one by now, but if you don’t, it’s not too late to find your way to the store during no pay time.
- Understand what causes procrastination and how to overcome it. Let’s say you have to make 20 cold calls tomorrow. If you wait until 3pm to make them, how do you feel until 3pm? Usually people feel edgy, worried, afraid, not really looking forward to them and it’s on their mind. If you make them at 9am, how do you feel the rest of the day? Answer: Gratified. So procrastination is delayed gratification by definition. Solution: anything you don’t want to do, do it as soon as possible and feel great!
David Sandler once said, “Procrastination is interest paid in advance on borrowed time”. In other words, it makes no logical sense. So, I have one last suggestion, get an accountability partner, someone to join you and share common measurable goals to becoming more efficient, saving time and making more money.
Contact me at 781-848-0993 or firstname.lastname@example.org if I can help you in any way.
Greg Nanigian is CEO of Greg Nanigian and Associates, affiliate Sandler Training. Over the past 27 years, we've helped thousands of sales professionals and organizations optimize their selling strategies, increase profits and create lasting relationships with their customers.