You cannot manage time. You can only manage your choices.
Devoting all your energy to fiddling with time is akin to saying yes to doing hard labor… willingly and needlessly! Time is finite and we all run out of each minute at the same rate. The same is not true of choices: those are infinite and some—the right ones—yield better results than others.
Let’s look at how this applies to sales. Here, the problem that people are trying to solve is how to be more productive in their daily activities. In other words: how to sell more in less time, thus reducing the intensity of labor while boosting outcomes.
It pays, therefore, to be more proactive than reactive with your efforts. To do that, you need to engage a series of strategies and tactics.
In this first of a two-part article, we’re going to look at how you can put proactive strategies into action.
STRATEGY ONE: PLAN EACH DAY
Identify the key activities that you must accomplish first in your day, every day. Get those done now. And stick to the plan. Otherwise, you’re going to slip back into a reactive way of looking at your workday. For some this might be starting with the tougher work of making five new calls. For others, it could be the easier work of follow-up calls to prospects, or writing a proposal. The choice is yours, but always start your day with sales productive tasks.
STRATEGY TWO: DEFINE THE PURPOSE OF YOUR CALLS
Your calling strategy should be known to everyone on your team before the first call gets placed. Examples: your objective is to close $500,000 in new business this quarter. Or it’s to obtain 25 new referrals by Friday. Or it’s to identify four new leads before lunchtime. Only by having a plan in place can you measure your team’s effectiveness at reaching their goals—large or small, short-term or longer-term. When measurement is transparent, everyone becomes more productive as they strive to achieve–or overachieve–the goal. For example, in my work coaching sales executives, I find that the ones who commit to a written KPI–one that they keep in front of them– hit their goals 100% of the time. Since they are conscious of the goal, each day they assign them self tasks that are directly related to hitting their goals. As such, they make choices that help them become more productive.
STRATEGY THREE: LEVERAGE YOUR TEAMS
Make better use of your inside sales or customer service team to help you reach your sales goals. These teams don’t need to be able to troubleshoot every problem from start to finish. Often, what matters most to the customer is that they feel their concerns are being acknowledged and addressed by more than just one person in your organization. I know two sales pros who work for the same company: one generates over $2 million in sales, the other does $400,000 in the same span of time. Nearly every strategy they employ is identical except for one thing: the first salesperson uses the firm’s customer service team to triage follow-up calls. This allows that seller to zero-in only on especially challenging cases.
STRATEGY FOUR: GROW THE WALLET
Far too many sellers overlook this: you can quickly boost sales simply by selling more to your existing customer. In essence, you’re increasing the size of that customer’s wallet—and their capacity to spend. So take the time to talk to your existing customer and use probing questions to determine where the missed gaps are in your current service offer with them.
STRATEGY FIVE: BE EVERYWHERE
I talk about this in detail in my book, Non-Stop Sales Boom. The key to being ubiquitous is to use tools that help you broaden your reach without consuming all your free time. Social media tools can help you achieve this. You never know where your next lead will come from, so the benefits of this approach can pay off over and over.
In part two of this article, we’ll examine the tactics you can adopt to exercise better choices in your work while saying no to needless hard labor.