Are you Managing your Time Wasters?

Posted on 01/31/2017 in Time Management for Sales

The beginning of the year is always a good time to talk about organization and time management. With customer face-to-face time shrinking, sales professionals must take maximum advantage of all customer contact time. Time and territory management is more essential than ever for salespeople.

Sales time wasters create a negative domino effect. The more time spent on sales time wasters, the less time there is available to call or visit with customers. The more time spent on time wasters, the less time to do planning and follow up.

Sales time wasters fall into two categories:

  1. Self-generated time wasters – caused by the salesperson
  2. Outside time wasters – caused by other people or circumstance

Self-Generated Time Wasters
Here are the three most damaging self-generated sales time wasters cited by sales professionals and sales managers:

  • Calling on the wrong accounts - This is a huge mistake. There are a finite number of sales calls that each seller can make in a year. If you call on an account with little upside or growth opportunity, you’ve wasted a sales call that you will never get back. That wasted time would have been better spent elsewhere.
  • No appointments - We realize that sometimes you need to just stop in, but too many unscheduled sales calls will waste a lot of travel and potential sales time. Also, what message does it send to a customer when you just show up?
  • Failure to plan - What is the purpose of each sales call? Who do you need to meet with? What resources should you bring with you for each call?

There are many other self-generated time wasters, such as disorganization, too much time socializing, failure to automate routine sales tasks, and procrastination. You will be able to free up a lot of wasted time if you address all of these, but most especially the Top Three cited above.

Outside Time Wasters
Here are the three most frequent outside sales time wasters that are caused by other people or circumstances. Learn to manage these time-wasters so that you are not overcome by them.

  • Email - Learning to efficiently manage email can save an enormous amount of time for a sales professional. Don’t let email constantly interrupt your work flow. Set aside specific blocks of time for sending and responding to email.
  • Internal meetings - A poorly run meeting wastes everyone’s time, and is time that otherwise could be spent by a seller in sales planning and sales calls. If you are responsible for planning or contributing to a meeting ask yourself this question: What can you do to improve this meeting to free up more productive time for everyone involved? Less is more!
  • Reporting and Paperwork - Excessive paperwork takes away from valuable selling time. Try to accomplish these tasks when you wouldn’t be able to be meeting or talking with a customer. If you are responsible for requesting sales reports, ask yourself how can you strike a balance between the need to gather this information from the salespeople without making the reporting requirements too excessive?

During our Time Management for Sales workshop we help sales teams and sales managers identify common sales time wasters and then brainstorm solutions to minimize these time wasters