The Great Time Waste & What That Means In $’s

It takes an incredibly focused salesperson to not waste time during any given day.This article by Dave Kahle is just the tip of the iceberg. I always had to laugh when I heard salespeople complain that there weren’t enough support staff to help them or the commission plan changed and they couldn’t make enough money or my favorite, my territory has been split and that will affect my income.

My usual retort was ‘so many things to complain about and so much time to do it in.’ The comment didn’t stack up very high on the sensitivity scale but then again I didn’t care whether it did. Salespeople waste an incredible amount of time each day. Some of the ways they do this are:

  1. Spending at least 1-2 hours a day reacting to problems from accounts. Aren’t we, as salespeople, smart enough to know what’s going to happen sooner or later in most accounts? There is a short list and we should know what they are.
  2. Scheduling appointments that require too much windshield time between calls.
  3. Going back for the 4th, 5th or 6th time to the same company to acquire more information or see another decision maker. My guess is that each salesperson knows their product and process to sell that product pretty well. Why not create a document that touches on the key components of the sales call. Who do you need to see? What’s the goal of the call? What should I bring just in case? (Several years ago I traveled with a salesperson who had to go out to his car three times to get items he needed during the call! Now that’s dumb!)
  4. Spending too much time in the office. With technology there is no need to go to the office unless it’s for a sales meeting or some other specific function.
  5. Looking at your watch at 2PM and wondering what you’re going to do for the rest of the day.
  6. Not having a specific sales behavior plan.
  7. Not having a back-up plan in case an appointment is broken by a prospect.

I asked salespeople to ask this question of themselves several times during the week. Is what you are doing at any given moment during the day going to lead directly to closing a sale? And then the follow up question was, what were you actually doing at that moment? When salespeople flush out all the things they shouldn’t take the time doing they may be forced to re-evaluate how they spend their time.

The last comment is this. Create a document that divides the day into 15 minute segments and for two weeks write in at each time slot what you were doing then. This is an old method but it still works. Just for the heck of it, try it. Let me know at tschaber@mr.net how it went.

The Final Thought: What’s free, priceless, can’t be owned but can be used, can be spent but once you lose it you can’t get it back?  Hint: It was used 10 plus times in the above post.

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