The person who coined the phrase “time is money,” must have been a sales rep paid on commission. In the selling profession, the old cliché rings true; if you are not talking to a prospect or customer, you’re unemployed! How effectively do you manage your time? Do you spend your time as you would any other precious, nonrenewable asset? Or are you the type of salesperson who is stressed-out, constantly jumping through hoops and consistently running late for meetings and client appointments?
We measure time far better than we manage it. In today’s high-tech world, physicists have become extremely proficient at measuring time. The atomic clock, based on strontium atoms trapped in a laser grid, is so precise that it has an inaccuracy of less than one second in 200 million years.
While we can all agree on how to measure time, we each tend to approach time management from our own personal perspective. Look at all of the ways we view the use of time: We waste it, save it, spend it, invest it, borrow it, steal it, juggle it, squander it, and we always seem to be looking for more of it. We have time wasters and time bandits and sometimes, in those rare moments when we find we have too much time on our hands, we even kill it. Time flies when we’re having fun, but tends to drag for those who are doing time. For some people time stands still, while others see time slipping away, like sand through an hourglass.
I am convinced that the improper use of time is the number one contributor to high turnover in the selling profession. I wish I had a nickel for every smart, talented and motivated salesperson who failed because he or she simply couldn’t or wouldn’t effectively manage their time properly.
Time Management Tips
1. Plan your schedule the night before and hit the ground running. When you’re not in control of your schedule, you invite stress to fill the void. Set and prioritize meaningful tasks to be accomplished. Whether it’s an appointment calendar or a software program, the critical first step to properly managing your time is to organize and schedule your day. Be careful not to confuse activity with productivity. For example, don’t just block off a couple of hours to make calls; set measurable activity goals to be accomplished, such as 25 phone calls per day.
2. Identify your time bandits. Once you’ve scheduled your day, the next step in managing your time is to recognize and modify old behavioral patterns regarding the improper use of time. Avoid procrastination in all of its attractive forms. Having a planned schedule helps you say no to time wasters such as web surfing, personal phone calls, long lunches and chatty coworkers. An open door invites continuous distractions. Effective salespeople focus on task achievement rather than tension relieving diversions.
3. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Ineffective salespeople “play office” and hide behind paperwork. Make a smart business decision and delegate all non-sales related tasks to an administrative assistant in order to free yourself up for client appointments and prospecting phone calls.
I encourage you to reduce your stress level and give yourself a pay raise by integrating these simple, yet highly effective time management tips into your daily business routine and remember, there’s no time like the present!
John Boe presents a wide variety of motivational and sales-oriented keynotes and seminar programs for sales meetings and conventions.
For more information, visit www.johnboe.com.