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Common Questions and Answers
Time is money — money for you and revenue for your company.
We all have the same amount of time; there are the same days in a month, hours in a day, and minutes in an hour for everyone. Time just seems to work better for some people than for others. We have all experienced Parkinson’s Law: work expands to fill the time available. With this in mind, it is imperative to identify the important elements in your day.
Know your sales timeline
As you focus on using your time effectively, it is important that you understand your sales timeline. This is the amount of time it takes you to close one sale. Once you know how long this takes, you can back into your quota and allocate your time appropriately.
First, you want to assess the time you have available: 20 working days per month, 5 days per week, 8 hours per day. Write out all the steps in your sales process and allocate a time to each step. For example, prospecting is 10 hours, proposal creation is 3 hours, meetings are 3 hours, follow-up is 3 hours, travel time is 6 hours, etc.
It’s ok if you don’t know these numbers at first; start with an estimate of the time for each activity and then track your time for a week or two so you can update the timeline as needed.
Once you determine how much time it takes to close one sale, you can allocate the time necessary to close enough sales to meet and even exceed your quota.
Create a daily task list
Many sales professionals fall into the trap of busy work. They turn on their computers and get sucked into emails, social media, or other non-important tasks. We call this the dimension of distraction. It is very easy to get sucked into this dimension especially when you haven’t proactively planned your day.
Before you start your day make a list of outcomes you intend to achieve and the actions necessary to accomplish those outcomes.
Examples of outcomes and actions:
It isn’t enough to just write out your outcomes and actions. Now you need to prioritize them.
The Urgency Model can help you understand why you may be very busy but you still aren’t getting the results you want. Using this model will help you prioritize your time whether you are working from home, from the office, or out in the field.
We begin with the Dimension of Distraction, where you are focused on tasks that are not urgent and not important. As mentioned above, a great example of this is scrolling social media or falling into the never-ending stream of emails.
Next is the Dimension of Delusion, where you are focused on tasks that are urgent but not important. This is when you delude yourself into believing that you must do certain tasks immediately, but in reality, they are not important or critical tasks. For example, responding to a one-day sale at a store or playing time-sensitive video games.
The third piece of the Urgency Model is the Dimension of Demand, where you are focused on tasks that are urgent and important. This is when you are constantly pulled in different directions because everything is critical and needs to be handled immediately. This is where you end up when you do not plan your time out and feel like you are constantly jumping from one fire to the next.
Finally, there is the Dimension of Fulfillment, where you focus on things that are important and not urgent. This is where you want to live. In this dimension, you are able to focus on important tasks, but they’re not urgent because you are taking care of them proactively. To learn more about the Urgency Model read the NASP Blog from May 2020. Urgency and Productivity: Are Your Sales Coming from Distraction, Delusion, Demand, or Fulfillment?
Use the Urgency Model to prioritize your outcomes/actions:
Set deadlines for each outcome, batch similar outcomes together, and put them into your calendar as a time block. This will help you stay on track and not get distracted.
You may have noticed we did not prioritize Not Urgent and Not Important actions. Learning to reduce distraction is a game changer for everyone. As you begin to build the habit of proactively prioritizing your day, you will focus less and less on non-productive activities.
Make time in the car more efficient
Some of our best ideas happen while we’re in the car. To remember these ideas, use your phone to record your thoughts and then use the recordings to add to your prioritized list.
Don’t let emails stall your success
Many time management experts recommend checking your email once in the morning and once at the end of the day. Emails are one of the main ways people get distracted. To help you create this habit, write an autoresponder email similar to an out-of-office message that lets people know when you check and respond to emails.
Thank you for your email! In an effort to increase productivity and efficiency I am only checking email at 9am and 4pm daily. If you need an immediate time-sensitive response, please don’t hesitate to call me. Thank you and have a great day!
To ensure your meetings are effective, the first thing you need to do is determine your outcome. What do you want to accomplish during the meeting? Based on that outcome, create a time-based agenda. Share the agenda with everyone involved in the meeting either before the meeting or at the beginning of the meeting to make sure you are addressing everyone’s outcomes. Then stick to the schedule. Don’t let the meeting veer off course; keep bringing the conversation back to the agenda. If something comes up that is important but off topic, table it for a separate meeting.
In your growth as a sales professional, learning new skills is not enough; you must integrate them into your daily work life to create real change. NASP can help you learn the strategies you need to reach your goals and integrate them into your sales process. To learn more, visit www.nasp.com and join us in the Certified Professional Sales Person program.
About the author
Brooke Dukes is currently supporting NASP as Chief Sales Officer leading strategy and business development. Prior to NASP, Brooke was a multi-million dollar producer and excelled at various executive-level positions in sales and business development, including two Fortune100 companies. She has worked with some of the largest and most successful companies including Lear, General Motors, and United Airlines, and across multiple industries, such as insurance, skincare and cosmetics, technology, and banking.
Brooke has her BS from Michigan State University. She is a mother of two successful children and an avid traveler. Exploring the world and helping people achieve their dreams is her passion. Brooke resides in Austin Tx.