We all face the same dilemma: Too much to do and not enough time to do it. Time management concerns how we resolve that dilemma. Time, not activities, is the limiting factor. We must make tough choices about what to do and what not to do. Time management is really self-management. Although time is not adaptable, people are. Managing time means adapting ourselves to its passage in some satisfying manner. It means managing ourselves. If time seems to be out of control, it means that we are out of control. To bring ourselves back under control, we must learn new, more appropriate habits. Since time is our most important personal investment in our business, ask yourself this question – “What can I do to better use my time?” Review the following seven tips and check off at least three items you can use to make better use of your time.
1. Plan Your Day
- Know exactly what you are doing in the morning. Get off to a fast start by being ready to begin your workday. Use Salesforce to your advantage as the tool smart sales professional use to be more efficient.
- Work by appointment, and make appointments as early in the morning as possible. This tends to get you off to a fast start each morning and makes each sales call more professional. It also assures, in most cases, the customer or prospect will be there. Also be sensitive to their busy times though.
- Review your daily “things-to-do” list the night before. Have your “to-do” list ready to go for the next day to start fast.
- Plan your work schedule for the upcoming week each Friday afternoon.
- Use Friday afternoons to finalize the next week’s schedule.
2. Have Meals with Customers/Prospects Whenever Possible
- Successful salespeople do this whenever possible (don’t expect your company to pay for all your business entertainment).
- Most salespeople do not entertain their clients and prospects enough.
- Customers may even feel a slight obligation to you. You get to talk to prospects outside of noise and confusion of their office or workplace.
- Great for building lasting personal relationships.
- Don’t discuss business until he or she does.
3. Use Your Selling Time Wisely
- Use 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to speak with prospects and customers.
- Whenever possible, do e-mail, write proposals, letters, quotations, etc., during non-selling time.
- Complete your Salesforce input, sales reports, forecasts, etc. during the times you can’t speak with prospects (early morning, evenings, and weekend).
- Off load non-selling activities (business and personal) to anyone you can find who will do them for you.
- Be proactive – Tell people what times you are available to meet.
4. Be Conscious of your Time
- Always work with a watch.
- Be on time for appointments, allow for traffic.
- Call if you’re going to be late.
5. Invest in Self Improvement
- We must add continuously to our resources of knowledge and skills.
- Studying your business is like placing money in the bank, investing in your future.
- Listen to self-improvement, sales and motivation CDs when driving.
6. Don’t Waste Time Making Poor Calls
- Prepare for each call in advance and have an objective. Rate the success of each call immediately afterwards.
- Qualify prospects as early as possible. The second best answer in sales can sometimes be ‘no.’
- Know when to walk away.
7. Use Standard Materials
- Personalize them for each prospect.
- Don’t re-invent the wheel each time. Have a process or system to follow.
- Use all the sales tools at your disposal.
Habits are the key to good time management. Good results come from good habits. The important point to remember, though, is that habits are learned behavior. They can be changed. Your habits may control your destiny, but you can control your habits. The first step is to change your thinking. Henry Ford put it this way, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” What you think is vitally important. You usually act in ways that are consistent with your beliefs. To become a master of your time, you must first believe you can do it.
About Len D’Innocenzo – Len is a Co-founder of Corporate Sales Coaches, a US based provider of cutting edge performance development programs for over 20 years. Northbound Learning has an exclusive Canadian partnership with Corporate Sales Coaches.