Time is money, as the old adage goes, and that’s never truer than it is for a sales team. The problem is that a salesperson never seems to have enough time. There are cold calls to make, quotes to put together, and presentations to give. Beyond that, plenty of time is spent on clerical, non-sales activities. The result for many salespeople is that they feel overworked and never have enough time to do all the selling they’d like to.
In reality, the difference between great salespeople and good salespeople is often that great salespeople know how to manage their time. By using every minute to its fullest, they’re able to knock out the mundane tasks and still have plenty of time left in the day to actually sell.
Here are five of the most effective time management strategies to make sure you’re able to sell more without having to put long hours in every day:
1. Tackle hard projects first
Everybody has one or two things that they never feel like doing. For some reps, it might be cold calls. For others, it could be entering information into the CRM system. Many people hate checking and writing emails.
The bottom line is that it’s easy to push these tasks off and procrastinate doing something less important. If you really want to become a master of time management, you need to get your most unpleasant tasks over with as quickly as possible. This removes stress from the rest of your day and makes everything else just a bit easier.
2. Forget about multitasking
Multitasking is a badge of honor for many busy professionals, but it usually causes more harm than good. When you switch between two tasks, you lose momentum and work slower on both of them.
If you’re handling something, see it through to the end before switching to another task. This keeps your momentum going and allows you to finish everything quicker than if you tried to tackle it all at once.
3. Keep email to a minimum
With email now tied to smartphones, it’s easy to get distracted dozens of times each day due to an incoming message. Your time is better used, if you avoid checking email throughout the day, and instead only respond to messages during scheduled times. You could schedule half hour blocks during the morning, afternoon, and right before you leave for the day. This minimizes distractions and allows you to bear down on more important tasks.
Many salespeople hesitate to do this because they’re afraid of missing something important. What if a large client sends an urgent message? There are several solutions to this. First, you can build alerts to notify you when something truly urgent comes in (from a certain client, containing certain keywords, etc.). You could also use this as an opportunity to offer your very best clients a bit of a value add, giving them access to a special ‘VIP’ email address that you do check 24/7. No matter how you handle it, the key is making sure only truly important emails get your immediate attention.
4. Group activities
When you’re doing a particular task, you get into a groove. It’s similar to building muscle — the more often you use it, the better and stronger it’s going to be. For example, instead of making prospecting calls and immediately sending a follow-up email, break the tasks up.
You’ll be more efficient at making calls and leaving messages, if you aren’t constantly breaking rhythm by typing up emails. Send your emails later in the day when people are less likely to pick up the phone anyway.
5. Prioritize tasks each day
The best way to make sure everything gets done each day is by writing it down and checking it off as you complete it. Prioritize each task in three ways: tasks that must be completed that day, tasks that must be completed in the next couple days, and tasks that you’d like to complete if you have the time. Work through the most important tasks first, trying to get through to your third list. This will keep you focused on what’s important while keeping your eye on the future, too.
Being a salesperson is a difficult job with plenty of tasks to take care of each day. By managing your time more effectively and using the advice discussed above, however, you’ll be able to spend more time on your most valuable activities. You’ll relieve yourself of stress and end up selling much more.