Over the past 14 years NABC has been consulting with sales organizations and sales professionals. One theme that is very consistently voiced is the allocation and utilization of time. Interestingly, this is also the same concern captured in countless books, articles, and seminars globally for sales optimization.
To use a sports analogy, there is always talk about “clock management”; how to handle the last two minutes of the game, who will take the last shot, what play will be executed?
There is often an over focus on the end of the process / game. In reality the effective use of time is critical at each step of the game.
If we are selecting the right customers for the right reasons and allocating our precious time accordingly, we have a higher probability of achieving our desired sales outcome.
The problem with all of us is, “stuff” gets in the way! The relative importance (value) of that “stuff” at any point of time is indeed debatable.
Today’s business world is even more challenging because of the omnipresence of technology, that affords us 24/7 exposure to so much “stuff”.
The intrusions into our day come in many forms: e-mails, voice mails, IMs, texts, phone calls, meetings, webinars etc. These interruptions emanate from both business and personal sources.
Some of us have developed an almost obsessive need to read and respond to every communication regardless of its source or importance. The smart phone is ringing playing the “siren’s” seductive lament!
We become driven to clear in boxes that are cluttered with apparent nuggets of gold, waiting to be mined; we are compelled to sift through the debris.
This forces us to filter through a veritable morass of “stuff” to determine what are the trivial many vs. the vital few?
Has all this “stuff” and the accompanying time, energy, and anxiety truly contributed to helping you sell more?
My point is not an indictment of technology, but rather controlling it vs. it controlling you.
Your use of technology can be a competitive advantage and a marvelous tool to help you schedule, track, focus and respond in a timely fashion to your internal responsibilities, as well as your external customers.
On the other hand, it can be an insidious monster sucking the life blood of your precious time.
What is the answer? There is no one simplistic answer, however there are some actions that have proven useful to many sales professionals around the globe.
- Decide who you want to communicate with personally and professionally
- Limit your interruptions to only those people
- Do not respond to blind inquires
- Use technology when needed not to fill voids
- Limit personal communication during work hours
- Avoid surfing the net during work hours
- Schedule quiet time to focus on specific critical issues i.e. prospecting, follow ups, proposal writing, presentations, planning etc.
- Proactively plan your day/week/month vs. reacting to events
The points outlined require a very introspective and honest evaluation about how you manage the only thing all sales professionals have that is absolutely equal, TIME!
One valuable exercise we use that produces the awareness, is to create a daily log in 15 minute increments. The log captures how you spend your day. It often is a sobering visual that serves as the foundation for prioritization of critical sales activities and avoiding “time traps”.
Thus allocating your time where you get the biggest bang for your sales effort.
If you would like to learn more about sales time management, give NABC a call at 480-229-7800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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