If you are a sales professional, you are essentially in business for yourself. The most important thing you have to sell is your time. How well you spend your time will determine how much money you make.
Certainly in recent years, you have noticed a clear message from your boss: “do more with less”. Your business- to-business sales cycle has probably lengthened due to increased hesitancy on your customers’ part. They put off decision making until the last moment.
With a lengthened sales cycle and the pressure to do more, one answer is to increase your number of business relationships. You really need to know more people than ever before in order to produce the same results: More contacts = more sales.
Fortunately, with sales automation software, you can manage those contacts without letting anyone fall between the cracks. Of course, technology can also be a distraction. Make sure e-mail, voicemail or “crackberry” don’t drain hours away from prime selling time.
To make best use of prime selling time, first ask yourself “what are my highest priority tasks — the activities that yield the most important results?”
If your doctor said you could only work one day a week, what specific activities would you do on that one day? Sales producing activities would be your highest priority tasks. By determining your top priority tasks, you can schedule them into your calendar first; then schedule the rest of your activities around them. A helpful sales formula is E x E = R, Efficiency x Effectiveness = Results; this can be translated into Activities x Skills = Sales.
Efficiency refers to the activities or number of contacts you are making. Effectiveness is the quality of those contacts and the quality of your performance in front of those contacts. In other words, if you want to increase sales, you need to either increase your contacts, improve your performance, or both.
For many salespeople, the market has shifted to either “more activity” or to “better performance” — but they haven’t shifted along with their market. If you are doing the same work as last year but getting less results, this is a strong indication that your market has shifted but you haven’t.
Each sales position has a unique set of five to seven critical functions that are required in the job. A typical sales professional must be good at prospecting, first appointments, presentations, generating proposals and followup. Identify your own Critical Success Factors. Honestly rate your performance in each of the areas. Your lowest score is the area that is holding your overall sales performance back and is known as your Weakest Link.
Finally, one of the best ways to get a real grip on time management is to develop a tremendous amount of clarity about what you are trying to do and how you are trying to do it. Running around like a chicken with its head cut off will drive you to tremendous levels of stress.
Step out clear action plans for achieving important goals. Set time to review your goals and see if you are making progress. The time you invest in clear thinking about your goals and action plans will be returned to you tenfold in better performance and higher quality of life.