“I don’t have enough time.” Ever say that? What does it mean? I want more hours in the day or I’m not using my allotted time (24 hours) to my best advantage. (What we need is a 36-hour day. That way we could work 24 hours and still get a good 8 hours of sleep.)
The reality is that most people don’t need more time, they just need to reprioritize the time they’ve got that’s not productive.
Sales time management is no different. All sales people (including me) are always lamenting the fact that there are too few hours and too many things to do. More sales people want “time management” training than “sales training.” So, how do you harness the clock?
Time management is not complicated unless you take a time management course. Then you have to have a minor degree in rocket science to figure out what piece of paper gets what notes in what category and with what priority.
Time management is big business. Daily planners and planning systems are often accompanied with training (one day to week-long) for their elaborate books, binders and special pages. Most of the training is paradoxical in that it is its own waste of time. Twenty first century people will shift away from the paper systems and go to computerized programs.
The basic underlying principle of time management is “do what’s important first.” The Time Management industry has complicated that principle to a fault. There’s an “ABC” system, a “First Things First” system and theme variations into the night. I say reduce sales time management to one word, “YES.”
Enter the “Yes Principle of Sales Time Management.” How does it work? Simply devote your time executing functions and having meetings with prospects and customers that will lead you to Yes. Almost everything else is a waste of time.
Here are the best ways to manage, prioritize and spend your time preparing for the sale:
- Finding out how decisions are made (how people say Yes). Before you can ever get a Yes, you’d better find out how (by what process) they make the decision.
- Finding out who says Yes. The people who say, “I’m the decision maker” usually are not (at least not the only).
- Finding out about the people who say Yes. Personal information will lead to a relationship and relationships lead to multiple yes’s.
- Getting stuff for people to get them to say Yes. (Dreaded) proposals, information and answers needed to get the prospect to confirm the decision to say Yes.
- Talking to people in the Yes cycle. Sometimes the people who “buy” the product or service are not the ones who “use” it. You must gather evidence, support and proof in order to get the Yes guy to be inclined to say Yes.
- Creative think and plan time to get a Yes before the competition does. Figure out ways to be creative, innovative, and memorable.
Here are the three Prime A Number One uses of sales time to make sales:
- Talking to people who say Yes. The introduction, preparation, and communication for the final yes.
- Getting in front of people who say Yes. This is the single highest priority and most productive use of your time. The time you spend face-to-face is in direct proportion to the number of sales you will make.
- Spending fun time with customers and prospects. Yes people. Building a relationship with Yes sayers.
Here are the three Prime A Number One uses of passive time to make active time more sales productive:
- Reading about the industry, market and customers who say yes to you.
- Reading about sales (learning about how to get to yes).
- Reading about yourself and your attitude (thinking yes).
Whew, sounds like a full time job? It is. That’s why so few people succeed. Most people are too busy with their part time job, General Manager of The Universe.
Here’s how to get to YES on the use of your time:
- Delegate paperwork.
- Get a laptop, and learn how to MASTER IT.
- Stop personal calls during work hours.
- Schedule sales meetings at meals, especially breakfast.
- Limit yourself to a scheduled 1-hour daily segment for crap to do or cleanup. Not too much, now. (My organization code is chaos minus one)
- Do business (make sales and contacts) before and after regular “business” hours.
- Stay out of other peoples business.
- Stop complaining, or telling others your complaints.
- Turn off the TV at home. It’s pretty much a waste of time.
- Most important use of time to balance the game of business: Spend time with your family, friends and have fun spend time on relationships and recreation.
Want to double your sales? Easy, just double the time you spend in front of people who can say Yes to you.