START today by getting your “stuff” together, STOP wasting time and take control of your sales destiny by increasing your personal sales production!
Today, more than ever in the sales industry, using time to be more productive is an alarm being sounded around the country in our industry. Because of the “perceived” economic slowdown, companies are asking sales forces to do more & be more, so that everyone can have more.
As I listen to salespeople and sales managers, this “theme” is being replayed all over the country. To the sales manager who is griping that his and his team goals have now been increased; to the sales person who suffers the same fate and continues to gripe to his colleagues, I say to each of you STOP wasting time griping and START today becoming more sales efficient and become major TIME PRODUCERS.
These step by step Time Producers are based on actual time spent with sales people, sales managers, and high level sales executives who own companies that have sales forces. Because I am working in the depths of their sales organizations on a day to day basis, I really get a front row seat to the R-E-A-L-I-T-Y of the inner-workings of salespeople, and more importantly, who is a Time Producer and who is a Time Waster.
The Lunch Hour
By far, the number one time waster. Okay . . . let’s see how this really plays out for the typical salesperson. (You, the reader, are not typical, correct?) At approximately 11:15 am your time zone, you start looking at your watch, counting down the minutes you have until it’s time to go to lunch. Worse than that, you don’t realize that the “shift” in your brain has just decreased you from being at the highest levels of being in your sales zone (hopefully) to the lowest levels of sales focus. The closer you get to noon, the more of your focus is being spent on “lunch” versus “sales.” This situation is just like writing out a blank check to your aggressive and tenacious competitors.
From there it probably develops like this. You have communication with your fellow salespeople on who is going and where to go. You hook up, leave a little early to beat the crowd, enjoy lunch, and then head back to the office after running a quick errand or two. Back at the office for a photo finish 12:59 pm arrival while observing if the sales managers’ car is in the parking lot. With a mad dash, you’re back in your chair by 1:00 pm.
Because of eating unhealthy food, we’re a little sluggish and you feel like taking a nap. So, off to the Red Bull bar for a quick “upper” while meeting others at the bar/kitchen for more non-sales related discussions. By the time you get back to your office and start working, you have really just Time Wasted about 1-2 hours. (For those of you now thinking you need the 1-2 hour break to be more tuned in to your next set of sales calls or appointments, make sure to read the next section on Dinkin’ Off!)
Let’s take this 1-2 hour Time Waster and turn it into a Time Producer. First, consider eating lunch at your office. Early each day, prepare a meal/snack and take it with you to your office or with you in your car, if your car is your office. For me, I use a food bag and tote my meals around in that. You can go as far as preparing meals on Sunday night that could cover you for 3-4 days.
Secondly, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, only go to lunch with a prospect or client. I promise you that in doing so will only further your career versus going with your sales buddies. Successful professional sales people know that selling time is their most valuable asset. In fact, it is more important than money itself. You cannot recklessly squander away time on sales buddies or non prospects. You must learn to maximize time spent with prospects and clients!
Sales Managers—these same principles apply to you. However . . . you should be taking one of your salespeople to lunch every week. And when you take them, STOP talking to them and really listen to what they may have to share!
Dinkin’ Off Time
Almost as bad as the lunch hour! I classify Dinkin’ Off in a variety of ways:
- Hanging out in the lunch/break room
- Mentally checking out
- Having the country club mentality
- Excessive or lengthy bathroom breaks
- Improper cell phone usage
- Text messaging
- Day trading
- Stock market watching
- Improper Internet usage
- Social phone calls
- Sales buddies golf
You, the readers know exactly what YOUR specific dinkin’ off items are. Neither I . . . nor your sales managers would expect you to get rid of all these bad habits yet we expect you to get close to eliminating them. If you truly have an ownership mentality (versus an employee mentality) as it applies to your sales positions, you know that dinkin’ off is just like robbing a bank. You rob your bank and the bank of your company. Robbing banks is a felony. Robbing your own bank is stupidity.
One of the companies that I consult has a very strict policy on NO CELL PHONES being allowed in the office. Now, think about that for a moment, most of you have codependent relationships with your phone. Your phone OWNS you. Don’t believe me? Okay . . . just video tape yourself the next time you hear your cell phone ring and you are unable to locate the phone by the end of the first ring. Send me the video; I am always up for a good laugh!
I know that many of you use your cell phone in your business. I understand. It is the Time Wasting tactics that you employ through the use of your cell phone that needs to stop. If you are serious about your personal and professional goals, you’ll eliminate some of these bad dinkin’ off Time Wasters and turn yourself into a Time Producer.
I am lucky. Lucky because I have been blessed with a great work ethic and major amounts of correct disciplines. Through these traits, I have utilized sleep to help me become a Time Producer. My discipline is early to bed almost every night, usually by 9 pm. Sometimes even earlier! Going to bed early allows me to get up . . . E-A-R-L-Y!
Those two to three hours each morning allow me to get the jump on the day, and remember I have clients nationwide. Getting up at 5:30 every morning still allows me to get ahead of my east coast stuff and stay ahead of the other time zones. You would be amazed at how much productive time you will have by using these quiet times each and every day.
Know this . . . getting up at 5:30 am is not that BIG of a deal. I have a client here in Dallas, Craig Foy who is the CEO of VITEC Online. Craig’s day starts each and every day at 4:30 am. In fact, he starts off his day with an invigorating bike ride which helps him with the daily demands of running a multimillion dollar business.
Whether you are an entrepreneur working from home, or a sales professional that works out of an office, getting up early and using that time to get the jump on your sales day will help you become a major Time Producer.
Daily Exercise/Eating Correctly
Obesity is now the #1 killer of Americans based on recent finding of preventable diseases that kill Americans. Smoking use to occupy the top spot. Smoking is now #2. Being unfit physically is a Time Waster. It slows you down and in some cases you might even be medicated which could serve as a double whammy. Not to mention the loss of productivity, visits to the doctor, health insurance claims, etc., etc.
Eating unhealthy food is another HUGE Time Waster. Fast food, sugar laced drinks, caffeinated drinks, etc., all have negative effects on your body. You Red Bull addicts . . . know this. What comes up . . . MUST come down. Fast Food addicts . . . go watch the DVD titled “Super Size Me” and you’ll know what I am talking about.
To ward off being physically unfit, start a discipline of daily exercise. It could start with parking your car further from the front door of your office. Some may walk the stairs in your building during the lunch hour. Some may have a full blown exercise or workout regimen. Another company that I consult for, the President works out and provides a health club membership to his sales staff. You’ll find many of them at the gym on their lunch hour. Perfect!
Food? Eat energy providing foods! How about some green vegetables to start with? Or commit to no cheese for a month. Or, drink more filtered water and become better at portion control? You may not fit exercise into your sales day yet you still eat, usually 3-4 times a day. You can instantly benefit from making positive changes into your eating habits.
Recently, one of my sales students “joked” about the President of his company. He said the only way to get the President exercising was to “hang a pork chop out in front of a treadmill!” Well . . . if that is what it takes, make sure to order the pork chop without butter!
Start having better eating habits and start exercising each day. The advances you’ll receive will benefit your both professionally and personally.
A few years ago I wrote an article titled “Become a Fat Buster!” My top techniques to busting up some of that body fat and becoming more physically fit through some proven eating/lifestyle changes. Contact us and I’ll gladly forward you that article! And remember, there is a bonus section about Health & Fitness in my SalesMastery Book of Quotes!Get a FREE copy of the SalesMastery Book of Quotes here!
Your office needs to be set up as a “command center,” not a junk yard! You need to be clutter free and organized. Every extra pile of papers, every extra post it note, and every extra item that is not put away in it proper place, takes away from all your positive energy and in some cases it takes away from your sales focus. When you are time crunched for a deadline, the cluttered office or desk will catch up with you and can really cost you in efficiencies and could cause you to miss deadlines.
Utilize Outlook for everything. There is a huge amount of functionality with Outlook and it is possible to become paperless. Know this . . . every time you reach for a piece of paper, a post it note or scratch pad, you are INEFFICIENT. If you will learn the ins and outs of Outlook, you will be able to do the work of two or more assistants.
You will find only TWO stacks of papers on my desk. The first one is my “day” calendar from Outlook (contact us and I will send you a couple of examples of my actual daily sheets—you might even see your own name on my sheet?!) that I have printed off. I do this each day and I keep about two months worth clipped together. This helps me keep an eye on all my specific appointments and if I need to write something down it will go on the print out for that specific day. This eliminates the need for endless amounts of Post It notes.
The second stack of papers on my desk is my “pile” of active prospects. Each one has their Outlook Contact page printed out which of course contains notes, important facts, and sometimes my handwritten notes about our on-going conversations. Again, these papers are clipped together and within an arm’s reach of me at any given moment. The reason these papers are kept on my desk is simple. It is my reminder that when given moments of down time, I can pick up this stack of papers and start making sales calls without hesitation or THINKING ABOUT IT. One thing I will tell you is that I am a stickler on scheduling specific next steps with clients so this stack of prospects are ones that the communication has become “loose” for whatever reason.
A viewer of my YouTube videos once said: “An uncluttered office = an uncluttered mind!” How true, and when you are uncluttered you have more time and energy to focus on the major stuff happening in your sales career!
Law of Associations
You become the average sum of the five people you hang out with. Look around you and the salespeople you are spending time with. What are they doing? What are they doing to you? Who is selling who? And what are they selling? What is their personal sales production? Are they a winner or a loser? Are they positive or negative? Are they drug free? Do they have high levels of discipline and tenacity? Do they implement important sales processes? Are they REALLY a friend?
What you may not realize is that they may purposely want you to fail because you are a competitor! Listen up Sales People. In many cases your fellow salespeople do not want you to succeed! Most sales offices contain bitter and unhappy salespeople who can infect others with their opinions and outlook on sales/life if given the opportunity. In some cases they may even try to create opportunities to spread their “cancer” throughout the office.
I remember way back when… I could drink a ton of tequila; catch a bunch of largemouth bass; hit a softball a country mile; yet was making an okay living. Guess what? So were all my friends. Same thing. So, I had to expand my horizons and leave others behind to attain the higher goals I had set for myself.
Your associations have everything to do with becoming a Time Producer. Hang with people who will be your advocate and are doing better than you. Look for successful salespeople or business owners who intimidate you. Ask them if you can buy them lunch. Listen to their stories. Learn and implement. And STOP hanging around others that are Time Wasters!
Alcohol and Drugs
Both are HUGE Time Wasters. Okay, let’s make this simple. If you are going to drink alcohol, do it socially on Friday or Saturday. Utilize Sunday to get your body recovered if that is the case so you will be ready for your sales week on Monday. Limit use or stop alcohol all together. Drugs – STOP right now, get help if needed, grow up and STOP hanging with people who do drugs!
Bring Everything to Completion
This may be the second largest Time Waster, right behind the lunch hour. Sales People (and some humans) are notorious for not bringing things to completion or full circle. Example . . . your last sales call. Did you set a specific next step with your client, confirm the time and send an Outlook Appointment Invite via e-mail to get the client to accept it on his/her side? That is being complete and not leaving things in a fog bank.
Being incomplete with typical daily tasks will drive President’s and CEO’s of companies crazy. Why? Because it costs them TIME and MONEY and they constantly feel like the incomplete sales manager or salesperson is in REVERSE rather than being in FORWARD. Just this last week I am in a meeting with a President of a Sales Company and one of the major challenges that he faces is the amount of incompletions on his sales floor with his sales people. Tasks left undone, paperwork not completely filled out, just a disorganized mess. TIME WASTING!
Okay, watch the humanity of this Salesperson.
This “tasks” chart shows COMPLETIONS as well as incompletions. The full circles represent tasks that are completed; the half circles represent tasks that are incomplete. The left side of the page represents a current phase of the sales person’s life, full of incompletions and maybe a few completions. Then the unthinkable happens. Not really understanding the effect of the incompletions in their life, in their sub-conscious they throw their hands up in the air, say to themselves “that is too much to handle” (denial) and they draw a line in the sand and cross over to their next phase of life or in the example the right hand side of the page.
Guess what happens next? They repeat the same pattern! Get it? Time Wasting at its finest. They are so far in REVERSE that they can never gain the sales traction necessary to attain the highest levels of sales success! Sadly, in some cases, this happens in their personal life as well.
A simple example of the very same thing would look like this. Imagine for a moment your kitchen. Think about every cupboard door, every drawer, the oven, the refrigerator and the microwave doors ALL OPEN AT THE SAME TIME. Now, this is an exaggeration but it really drives home the point with sales people. Close all doors and bring all items and tasks to completion in an effort to become a major Time Producer!
Procrastination is one of the biggest Time Wasters there is. “Procrastination is one of the biggest thief’s of time!” Recently in a SalesMastery seminar, a student claimed that before making a cold call that he spent, in some cases, as much as 30 minutes getting prepared for the call. He would get all of his thoughts organized, he would do Google Intelligence, and he would think about this and that and spend a ton of time on preparing to make the call PERFECT.
Ladies and gentlemen . . . what this student was telling me is that he suffered from a dose of call reluctance and procrastination. Sometimes it is simpler when you DON’T THINK and JUST DO! So, instead of trying to make the perfect call, make each call perfect! Same thing goes with your sales processes. DO IT, probe a little in your fear or procrastination areas, get a little bumped and bruised, learn from your mistakes, tune it up and MOVE ON!
Want to be more of a Time Producer? Think about how many cold calls you can really make in thirty minutes, how many “probes” you can make looking for that significant call that YOU can turn into perfection. I’ll take 10-20 dials versus one dial every thirty minutes for sure!
In regards to time and appointments, remember this: Always early to appointments? You are a salesperson. If you are LATE to an appointment . . . you are a BOZO. If you are on-time to your appointments . . . you are a GENIUS!
Implementing these techniques will keep you from being overwhelmed & trapped in your sales positions. You can buy back your time by becoming a Time Producer and becoming more efficient. When you start your implementation & disciplines, turn them into habits. Matt West, one of my top sales students often says after creating a good sales habit . . . “Pull the check book out and pay to the order of ME!” You have that same opportunity—get started right now and write out the check to YOU![ssba_hide]