In the introductory article of this five-part series, I introduced a sales motivation piece I uncovered years ago entitled Make Up Your Mind and the positive impact it’s had on me as a sales professional. I elaborated on the importance of being sold on yourself, your company and your products as a foundation for sales success. I also covered how critical it is to focus on the needs of your customers versus any compensation you might receive from them for doing business with you.
In this installment I want to cover the importance of efficient time management and knowing what your time is worth. These points, which are the third and fourth points in the Make Up Your Mind essay, are the next key building blocks you need to put in place as you work to join the elite corps of sales professionals.
3. That time is money and that learning to manage your time productively will be one of your most profitable achievements.
Many salespeople make the fatal error of mistaking activity for productivity. Even worse, they go through their entire career believing this illusion.
Let’s look at two salespeople we’ll call Jim and Joe. Jim wonders, “I’m just as busy as Joe is, but I don’t understand why Joe makes more sales, earns more money and has more satisfied customers than I do.” While both make a to-do list each day, Jim doesn’t prioritize his list and is constantly distracted by what he thinks are burning fires or “deal-with-it-now” emergencies. Jim is reactive, rather than proactive. He has what I’ve come to call Sales A.D.D. He lacks focus, organization and flexible efficiency.
Jim does more than just make a to-do list. Jim creates a daily plan that accounts for possible emergencies. His plan allows for flexibility when prioritizing daily selling activities, but inflexibility on commitments he’s made to his customers. Jim manages his day rather than being managed by his day. Big difference.
4. To believe in the law of averages and the wisdom of knowing the dollar value of each of your primary activities.
What is meant by “the law of averages?” LexJet co-founder Art Lambert told me many years ago that sales isn’t complex math; it’s simple arithmetic. You start with the never-ending task of prospecting for new business. How many prospecting calls will I make today? Write it down.
Next, keep a record of how many no responses it takes to get a yes response. Write it down. Now, measure how many yes responses it takes to hit your assigned quota, or even better your personal stretch selling goals. Write it down.
Finally, adjust your prospecting call volume on a regular basis to get the number of yes responses you need. Pretty simple, huh? It’s the managing of your time, focus and attention to constantly changing priorities that separates the average from the top sales performers.
Make your daily task list. Prioritize that list according to must dos, need to-do’s, and if I can get to it, do’s. Plan for possible emergencies in your timeline and re-evaluate your list after each task is completed.
Remember that anything having to do with satisfying customers and keeping commitments always come first. If necessary, that cigarette, water cooler conversation, or picking up your dry cleaning can wait. If you put your customers first, it’s a pretty good bet that they will do the same for you.
In part three of this series, I’ll cover the importance of working smart versus working hard and the benefits it will deliver in sales results. I’ll also share ways to make each customer encounter a win for your customer and for you.
Until next time…