Are you a B2B or B2C Salesperson always looking to improve your time management abilities? One of our most popular sales training Workshops in Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto will give you insight into some useful techniques that help you become more efficient in planning your day. Better prioritization means delivering on timely commitments and handling more customers in your sales funnel. Here are 10 Sales Tips for Better Time Management.
1. Better time management means planning tomorrow at the end of today
This gives you a head start on the day before it even starts. Your last calendar appointment each day should be with yourself to look at tomorrow’s schedule and do what it takes to plan it. It’s a much smarter idea than doing it first thing in the morning and being the victim of phone calls, emails and hallway conversations.
2. Respond – Don’t react – Think before you act!
When your doctor uses a small mallet on your knee, your leg responds with the reflex action of going up. It takes no mental energy for this to occur. Prioritization of your tasks does. If you’re working on an email or presentation, you still likely would answer your phone. Getting sidetracked to take care of any necessary tasks coming from that call is a decision that requires your thought to allow it.
Salespeople will often rationalize that the task will only take a minute. It seldom does. A conversation with a co-worker then turns into a discussion on another unrelated topic. When you get back to your computer, you ask the question “Now what was I working on?” Sound familiar? You are in control of this decision. See Tip #3.
3. Learn to say No! Communicate and Compromise
Never say NO to a client. That attitude will get you in all sorts of trouble. Even if your largest client asks you for something task based, fight the urge to say automatically say YES and ask them when they need it. If other issues are more urgent based on priority, ask for a few hours of grace if possible. You’ll be the hero when you inform them that you’ve completed the task before its due time. For anyone other than a client, you might have to say no or use a delay tactic in an effort to ensure your day stays on track. As a Sales Manager, I always admired Salespeople who asked me for another 10 minutes when I asked them to see me.
4. Devote your entire focus to the task at hand
While great Salespeople are master multi-taskers, please know that no one is capable of devoting more than 100% of their focus. Concentrating on two tasks at the same time means that you’re devoting 50% of your brain power to each. Is making potentially serious mistakes worth the risk? Focus only on what you’re doing and don’t allow your mind to stray on email or social media notifications on your screen. In fact, one of our clients decided to disable his screen email notifications to avoid the distraction. I truly believe that because Salespeople do constant multi-tasking it encourages us to develop attention deficit disorder. This why our attention spans are so short.
5. Write It Down Now!
If you trust your memory on client matters, you’re not working enough clients. Avoid sticky notes on your computer and other easy to lose reminders. If something crosses your mind, write it down on your To Do List with its necessary priority. If you’re driving, use Siri or voice dictation to send yourself an email to remind to get that task done.
6. Don’t let People and issues hijack your day
This is one my favorites. It’s very similar to Tips 2, 3 and 4. When you allow other people and issues to hijack your day and take it many different directions, you are the one responsible for it. Salespeople who allow this to occur consistently go home frustrated, measuring their day by the things they didn’t get accomplished. Of course, we all have client emergencies that take immediate priority. It’s your call to define them. If your day is full of fires that need putting out, start earlier the next day to get things done.
7. Use one organizational system that works everywhere
I used to know a Salespeople who had so many systems in place, he needed one master one to get the others on track. You need one system that can work in your office, the field and when you travel on business. If you don’t know where to turn ask a respected colleague who seems to be extremely organized or do a Google Search. Mobility and simplicity of your organizational system is top priority.
8. Don’t procrastinate – Do things you don’t like to do first
No one likes to do this because it’s not the popular decision. Making collection calls on receivables or prospecting for new business are vital areas of our sales success. If you don’t like them, do them first or make an appointment on your calendar and don’t cancel or move it.
9. When required use DO NOT DISTURB!
When I was a Sales Manager responsible for a large team of Salespeople, it took me years to have the courage to implement this. My door was always open and it seemed that I had a welcome mat at my entrance. I even had a Salesperson who created a “Now Serving” number system on my door – no exaggeration. I never seemed to get projects done without staying many hours after everyone else left. One day I finally realized I was doing this to myself. I started to use Do Not Disturb on my phone and hung a DND hotel sign on my doorknob when I simply needed a few hours to catch up on priorities. The world didn’t end.
10. Go to bed early – start early – sleep, exercise and eat well
Being efficient with your time means you need to take care of yourself. While you can get away with little sleep and a fast food diet when you’re young, you can’t when you get older. We’ve all seen the impact of bad habits in the Sales Industry. It catches up to you eventually, so do what it takes to feed and maintain your engine well. It never ceases to amaze me what I can get accomplished on a day that I decide to start work by 7am.
I’d like to tell you that I have never suffered from any one of the challenges of not using these tips, however, that would be a total lie. I’ve been a victim of every one of them and work diligently to use each of them. I have a small version of them laminated and taped to my computer. I am especially guilty of the challenges associated with Tips 2, 4 and 6.
Do you have any personal suggestions on time management? The more we share, the more we learn together! If you’re a Salesperson who believes in making a consistent commitment to learning new skills, check out our book SHUT UP! Stop Talking and Start Making Money available on Kindle and paperback on Amazon or our online sales training program The Sales Skills Incubator. Take the free trial on Chapter 1 – The Stigma of Sales.
If you’re a Sales Manager in Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton Calgary or Toronto looking for sales training, give us a call or email from our Contact section on our website. We design fully individualized sales training programs for our clients.
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY