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Previously I shared thoughts about how effectively using 20 minutes could have a big impact for self-development. Given that we often "waste" 20 minutes on non-productive activities there is very little cost to doing this.
Today I thought I would look at how a salesperson might use 20 minutes effectively!
FIRST let's look at some ways in which salespeople use 20 minutes (or more) that is NOT bringing much (any?) value to their sales efforts. (How NOT to use 20 minutes):
1. The walk to the coffee shop and waiting in line. Can be 10 minutes, more often it is 30 minutes from leaving the desk to getting back. SO ... drink the office coffee or have coffee with clients!
2. Going for a smoke ... I think some people still do this.
3. Driving to appointments ... listening to music, or just driving.
4. Catching up on the news, sports or otherwise. Really ... do it before work or in the evening.
5. Researching. This is necessary, but so many salespeople go overboard! Use the 80/20 rule ... it's a quick search that takes a few minutes and then get on the phone!
6. Chatting. Salespeople love to chat ... that is good if you are chatting with clients or prospects; discussing market conditions or opportunities; learning about your industry etc. It is not so good if it's about "the game", your golf score, the latest stock news and/or it is with your buddy!
7. Waiting. Salespeople wait for word on a deal; wait for the phone to ring etc. In our industry salespeople like to hover over the recruiter ... ZERO value;
8. Worrying. A classic ... not knowing what to do next, how to fix the numbers, how to deal with a situation etc.
9. Goofing off. Running personal errands on company time.
10. Texting friends and family. It is hard to focus on your job when you are planning your social life, hearing the minute by minute news and texting with multiple people.
How COULD salespeople make good use of just 20 minutes gleaned from the above kinds of activities?
1. Send 4 hand written cards to key clients ... thanking them for business, wishing them happy <insert event here>; just because!
2. Source and send 4 interesting articles to interested clients ... technology articles to your tech clients; banking/finance/business articles to your financial sector clients; personal development articles to any of your clients.
3. Call 5 of your prospects, connect with one and have a 20 minute introduction & set up a meeting call.
4. Read a relevant industry article, business book summary (Subscribe to a service), new company literature etc.
5. Call 2 of your key clients for a 10 minute (each) "How's it going? When can we get together call".
6. Revisit your To Do list, add items to be done, prioritise your tasks and plan for the next day.
7. Write your monthly report ... if it is only mid-month, you can complete half of it so at month end it is easier.
8. Research your competition ... 20 minutes looking at articles about them, their web sites, who might be in the news.
9. Add to your LinkedIn network.... how many relevant people can you connect with in 20 minutes/
10. Plan for your next road trip to a client. Pre-program phone numbers into your phone for ease of hands free calling, decide who to call and what you want to talk to them about. That way you can maximise your time on that 30 minute drive!
There are probably 100 things a salesperson could do with 20 minutes! Next time it is close to quitting time and you are wondering what to do pull out this list and be productive.
Better yet ... how many 20 minute productive tasks can you add?
Kevin Dee is founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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