Don’t Count Time, Make Time Count

I often
receive time management questions from sales reps. This week I thought I would provide
you some of the best time management tips I have used to help stay focused and make
more sales

Losing control
of your time is the worst mistake a sales professional can make. You must jealously guard
your time in order to stay productive.  Here are 8 ideas to keep you focused:

  1. Set a monthly sales target, and calculate how many prospects
    you need to talk to each month in order to generate enough business to hit that target.
    Once you have those numbers set, your priority becomes making the calls. Put that number
    on a piece of paper in front of your phone so you are looking at it everyday. Close your
    door and don’t get up from your desk until those calls are made.
  2. Block time off in your calendar everyday to make calls
    and prospect. Don’t just make a mental note – actually block the time off
    physically so you and everyone else can see it clearly. Put your phone on ‘do not
    disturb’ so you can’t be bothered and shut off your email during this time
    to avoid any distractions.
  3. In a place you can easily see everyday post your revenue
    goal in big, bright numbers. Staring at this number everyday will remind you what you
    need to do first thing every day. As you accomplish sales, cross off the revenue number
    to reflect what you still have left to sell. This countdown will keep you motivated to
    make one more call each day!
  4. Stay away from the Life Suckers in your office. They
    are not customers, and they will not buy from you. Your customers are on the outside
    (or the other end of the phone). Life Suckers will only waste your time complaining.
    They provide no motivation to get your work done.
  5. Close your doors, hide, or work from a different office!
    If you work in a cubicle find an empty office space or meeting room to make
    your calls from. Turn off your cell phone!
  6. Be on time. Show respect for other people’s time
    and they will eventually show respect for yours. It’s reciprocity at work.
  7. Use a CRM and Sales force automation tool to stay organized.
    If you are not organized you will waste tremendous amounts of time finding leads, looking
    for files and trying to remember what you talked about last time. All your notes, follow
    ups and client information should be in one place, ideally in an automated follow up
    system found in a CRM database of sales force automation. I don’t care what you
    use – although some, such as Maximiser and Salesforce.com are better than others
    (in my opinion anyway!). Pick one that suits your business and your budget.
  8. Know the value of your time, and outsource anything
    that can be done for less than you are worth. If you don’t know what your average
    hourly rate is, then I suggest you figure it out using the following simple formula:
  • Add up your total earnings for the year. This includes
    salary plus commissions and bonuses, as well as any benefits you receive, such as health
    insurance or retirement savings plan contributions. For most people, benefits are generally
    equal to about 1/3 of their annual base salary. For example, total earnings for someone
    with a $60,000 base salary plus $40,000 in commissions and bonuses would be about $120,000
    ($60,000 salary + 1/3 + $40,000 in commissions and bonuses).
  • Divide this amount by the number of working hours in
    the year. For most of us, this would translate into 210 days x 8 hours a day = 1,680
    working hours. This includes 2 weeks’ vacation, or 10 days. For your own calculation,
    use the number of vacation days you would normally take.
  • Divide your total annual earnings by the number of working
    hours in the year. In the example above, this would result in an average hourly wage
    of $71.43.
  • Now that you know your hourly wage, your goal is to
    increase it, every month. There are two ways to do this: increase the amount of sales
    you make to increase your total commissions, or reduce the number of days you work. The
    choice is yours.

To
get you started, begin by taking note of how you’re spending your days today. For
help doing this, download a free copy of our Time
Allocation Worksheet.

After two weeks
of tracking your time, determine what percentage of your week is spent exclusively on
prospecting, presenting and closing. Then, set a goal to increase that percentage by
a specific amount over a specified period of time, and write that goal down in the present
tense to show the world (and yourself!) you mean business. For example:

"By
December 31st, I will be spending 60% of my time on prospecting, presenting
and closing."

Next, spend
30 minutes writing down everything you could be doing to increase your selling time,
and reach that goal, such as:

  • Hire a bookkeeper at $15.00 per hour to complete and
    submit your expense reimbursements.
  • Make 5 more cold calls per day.
  • Ask for 1 more referral every day.
  • Attend 2 networking events per week rather than 1.
  • Get your manager involved on deals that are over $XX
    to help close them faster.
  • Tell your manager your goal to enlist his or her support.
  • Outsource support calls to the support department rather
    than taking them yourself.
  • Try to get at least 20 activities down on paper, and
    then spend time every day implementing at least one of them. Before you know it, you’ll
    find yourself focusing your time on your paying customers, rather than on those tasks
    that bring in no additional revenue.

If
you are waiting to get motivated before you make calls remember this: Motivation comes
from action not the other way around. Most sales people wait to get motivated before
they take action. You must do the opposite. Take action now! Regardless of how you feel.
Simply pick up the phone and start making calls. Your activity will motivate and focus
you to keep going. You will always feel better after you accomplished something profitable.

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