“How can you be so productive in your business and still have time to enjoy a robust personal life?” That’s a question I’m asked often, and in this article I’m going to share with you my response, and as an added bonus, I’ll share with you some best practices for sales professionals in managing one of the most difficult areas of time management: sales calls.
To get started, let me state upfront that I’m more than just a self-described workaholic: I’m a focused one.
Since I travel often with my business, I bring my work with me on the plane instead of watching movies, and I catch up on my reading while waiting at airports. While on the road, my hotel room is my office. I don’t open the TV cabinet in my room and I make use of my time before bed to catch up on work-related tasks.
As I write this, I’m returning from a course in Rhode Island. Earlier in this business trip, I spent my time getting ready for my course, getting the course reading done and preparing all the questions I wanted to ask. While there, I was busy all day but still managed to respond to all my email, talk to three clients in the evening, submit a proposal and complete the homework assignments for the course. On my flight home, I completed a book proposal, caught up on more email, and wrote three blog posts for future publishing.
While travelling on business, I’m regimented with my time (some might even say that I’m freakishly so) for a very important reason. Not only do I do because I love my work. It’s also because when I get home, I’m free to enjoy my personal life fully without distractions.
My results speak for themselves: after my Rhode Island course, I headed home for a relaxing evening with Chris, Conrad and a really nice glass of wine. The next day we spent the day getting packed for our family holiday, taking the dog to the kennel, and enjoying a nice quiet meal to ourselves, during which Chris had my undivided attention.
Concentrating on my work when I’m away from my family enables me to focus on my family when I’m with them. This makes me more effective in both my professional and personal life.
My approach requires a lot of discipline but it yields even bigger rewards. Best of all, it’s an approach that can work just as easily for you as it does for me.
Managing sales calling time more effectively
Being productive at work without compromising your personal life is a struggle for many professional sellers today. In fact, this topic surfaced during a recent Engage sales training seminar. A lively and effective brainstorming followed on how to make best use of time for sales calling, so that personal time can be balanced properly. So let me share with you the best practices that emerged from our discussion that day.
- Before you leave the office for the day, create tomorrow’s to-do list and print out a list of at least 30 names to call first thing in the morning. Place those calls before you even turn on your computer so you avoid the risk being distracted by new email in your inbox.
- Avoid interruptions: make your sales calls from a meeting room rather than in an open cubicle area.
- Enable the “do not disturb” feature on your phone.
- Leave your cellphone in the car during your sales-calling time.
- Organize weekly contests to see who can make the most calls and book the most appointments during sales calls.
- Instruct receptionist to route all inbound calls directly to voicemail.
- If having your computer on is unavoidable, turn off email and your web browser. During this time, the only thing running should be your CRM. If this can be done at the source by your IT people, all the better!
- Arrive at work 30 minutes early to get settled before sales-calling time starts.
- Stop other employees from entering the sales area during this time with a banner that reads “Do not enter. Earning your salary!”
- Send emails to prospects at the end of the day rather than during your sales-calling time.
While some of these ideas are fun, some are serious (and some are even a little outrageous), they all work. I am sure you have some ideas to add to the list as well. I would love to hear your comments.
Remember that the core of success in sales is about connecting demand generation with lead generation and with prospecting. No prospects, no sales. So ask yourself: what are you doing everyday to ensure prospecting for new business remains a top priority on your team? Pick one idea from the list in this article and commit to implementing and mastering it over the next 30 days. You will ensure a more profitable sales year as a result.