You are in sales.
You work in the Business to business (BtoB) world.
If you don’t already know it, time is your biggest ally … AND your worst enemy.
In the average month there are somewhere between 19 and 22 business days … to keep things easy lets call it 20 working days, each of which has 8 hours available (assuming that you are ONLY working 8 hours … my rule of thumb as a sales rep was to put in 10 hours).
So you have 160 hours every month to make sales happen.
What can you achieve in 160 hours?
If you subscribe to the theory that you need to be talking to your prospective customers in order to sell (and I do) then you want to spend some (maybe as much as possible!) of those 160 hours on that activity!
How many face to face sales meetings can you have?
How many sales conversations can you have by phone?
If subscribe to the theory (and you guessed it … I do) that the more opportunities I have then the more success I will have.
How much time are you spending generating new opportunities?
If you subscribe to the theory that people buy from people they like and trust (yup … good theory).
How much time are you spending building your credibility with your clients … and how much time demonstrating that they can trust you, because you deliver for them?
If you also think that maybe clients want more from you than coffees, lunches and golf games … perhaps you can feed them interesting information, help them with their business challenges or just offer to help, even if there is no obvious sale in it for you?
How much of your time can you devote to this activity? Its a tough one because many salespeople use that old saying, “Follow the money” … I prefer to say, “If you look after your clients they will look after you!”
If you believe that keeping good records can help you to be successful (and all the best salespeople understand this).
How much time do you devote to tracking special dates, making notes in your system, keeping a good record of your dealings with every client. Putting future dates in your calendar to remind yo of follow up commitments, future opportunities and special occasions will differentiate you from “the pack.
In order to be successful you need to focus as many of those 160 hours every month on direct sales activity.
How many of those hours do you spend on other things? Facebook, reading the newspaper or sports columns, chatting/texting with friends, personal activities … or even just lost, not knowing how to be successful? A classic place for salespeople to “hide” is research … which is a legitimate activity, it should just be a very small part of your time!
Salespeople have a huge amount of control over their own destiny. The more of those 160 hours each month that you can focus on true sales activity the more success you will have.
Your Action Items!
1. Keep a log of your activity in 15 minute increments for the next 4 weeks.
2. Measure the number of hours you actually spend on REAL, revenue generating sales activity.
3. Find ways to increase that number every month for the next six months. Challenge yourself, be disciplined, use GREAT time management and measure the affect on your success.
4. Make a calendar entry for March 21st 2013 to come and reread this blog entry. How many people will be disciplined enough to do even that? Were you? Are you willing to up your game?
PS. The salesperson maximising a 200 hour work month is tough to beat! Just how much do you WANT that success?
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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