Even if part of a large company, most sales people must spend at least a minimal amount of time in customer service mode. Although your sale process...
My #1 Time Management Tip for Sales Professionals
Today I’m going to talk to you about how to organize your time to use it more efficiently as a sales professional. I have a few very specific tips today. My hope is that you will apply these practical tips in order to increase your sales! Tip #1 Have a block schedule. This is something […]
Today I’m going to talk to you about how to organize your time to use it more efficiently as a sales professional. I have a few very specific tips today. My hope is that you will apply these practical tips in order to increase your sales!
Tip #1 Have a block schedule. This is something very few sales people understand. When you are selling small prospects like small business owners or consumers, your schedule is really going to be more open, meaning that you are not going to have a lot of solid meetings. Rather than setting an appointment for 2:00pm on Wed, it will more likely need to be Wed afternoon. As a result, you need to implement a block schedule in order to gain more control over your time.
I’ll give you an example of how I like to do this. I like to have four blocks in my day. I have 9 to 11, 11 to 1, 1 to 3, and 3 to 5. There are four blocks, but the 11-1 is my lunch time and the time that I can deal with any unexpected tasks that come up. Right now during that time I go teach a computer programing class at a local high school. I always have that time as a time when I can go do whatever I want or catch up on things. This leaves us with 3 time blocks when we can schedule work, 9 to 11, 1 to 3 and 3 to 5.
We can use these three blocks for our three primary activities in sales. These activities are Prospecting, Follow Up and Customer Service. The best way to use these blocks is to alternate these activities to different times on different days. For instance, you may want to have prospecting time from 9-11 on Monday, and then 1-3 on Tuesday and 9-11 on Wednesday. In this scenario, your follow up time might be 1 to 3 on Monday, 9 to 11 on Tuesday and then maybe 3 to 5 on Wed. So, pull up your favorite calendar application and create a calendar by adding these three time blocks to each weekday and then color code and name them for the sales activity you intend to focus on during that time slot.
You could also organize your blocks around geography. If you are in an area where you have two or three different major markets, you could plan to be in this geographic area on Monday from 9-11. Then I’m going to be in this geographic area on Thursday from 9-11. You need to think about your geography as well as your activities when creating your block schedule.
Memorize your block schedule once you have completed it. It is three blocks a day, five days a week, so you’ve got 15 time blocks to memorize. When you set appointments for yourself, it is really important you try to slide them into the correct slot, so you are in the right place doing the right things when you have to run over to that appointment. When somebody says, “Could you come back tomorrow?” You think in your head. Tomorrow is Wednesday, which means I prospect from 9-11. So you respond, “Sure, how about 10 a.m. tomorrow. Does that work for you?”
Tip #2 Stop Prioritizing and Start Taking Action. Stop making complicated priority systems. When you are doing a task like selling, you really need only two priority levels in your life. You have things that are important enough to do and things that are not important enough to do. If it is not important enough to do, DON’T DO IT. Say, “No” the first time you encounter this task. Ask yourself, “Is this client ever going to buy from me?” If the answer is “No”, stop wasting your time and move on. If someone asks you to come hang out, don’t tell them to check back next week. Either you want to hang out or you don’t. If you don’t, say “No.”
If it is important enough for you to do, DO IT RIGHT NOW. Take action on it right away. Your goal is not to find an excuse to do something later. Instead, your goal should be to take action immediately if at all possible. If you absolutely cannot take action on it right now because of something outside of your control, then decide when you will take action and add a reminder to your calendar. When that reminder pops up, stop what you are doing and take action.
Practical Tip: I use my email inbox for everything related to my organizational system. Everything goes in my email inbox every day including calendar reminds, social media messages, phone messages, text messages (using google voice) and everything else you can think of that might be part of my day. I have a “non-action” folder (or “label”), and I have a folder for each day of the week. When I look at something, if it is important enough to get done, I ask, “Is there any way I can get this done today?” If there is, I leave it in my inbox until it is done and then I put it in non-action. If there is no way for me to do it today, I put it into the folder for the day that I’m going to do it. Each day, I get a reminder to me email inbox to “Check Today’s Folder”, once I move the emails from today’s folder back into the inbox, I put that reminder into non-action and I start working on my inbox.
Summary: My #1 Tip is to use a Block Schedule. My 2nd tip is to think in terms of, “is it important enough to do or not.” Don’t think in terms of an a, b, c, or d priority level. I know sales professionals who spend half of their day organizing things. By the time you organize it, I probably would have already gotten it done. Get it done, or don’t do it, but make your decision based on that.
Thank you for reading this post, and have a great day!
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