Do you ever feel like you have too much to do and too little time? Join the club! You have to research sales prospects, keep in touch with leads, and have that document over to your boss (that they requested last week) turned in by noon…. Ugh! Listen we’ve all been there, and it can feel overwhelming, so let’s talk about how you can regain control over your workday and be a more successful salesperson.
Set Specific Goals
This may sound elementary but the first thing you should do is set specific goals that you would like to achieve for that day/week and make sure you are monitoring the progress towards those goals. Giving your goals a timeframe and tracking them is a great way to see areas you need to improve on. My suggestion, on Monday set aside the first 10 minutes of your day and plan out your workweek. Go over what goals and objectives need to be accomplished and give yourself deadlines to make sure you stay on track for the week. Block out specific times each day to perform tasks such as researching, meetings, and so on. Don’t worry if you don’t hit all of these goals, but it is important to at least establish them so that you ensure you’re accomplishing more in your week. If planning for the entire week doesn’t work for you or if you have to improvise one day, ask yourself in the morning, what do I plan to get done today? What is most important is that you have a plan to follow.
Rate Your Priorities
Now that you have a plan it is time to prioritize what items are most important. Consider rating them with the following words: Now, Soon, or Later. As the name suggests, “Now” is for top priority items, “Soon” is for medium priority items, and “Later” is for low priority items. In our current world I am sure it feels like everything is a high “Now” priority, so if you are not sure ask your boss for guidance on what needs to be done first. Once you have determined your list of priorities you will need to determine what your optimal productive time is. Are you a morning person? Do you work more after lunch? You know yourself better than anyone on this so whatever time this is for you is when you start working on your high priority list and moving to the medium and low items. You will be amazed at how much work gets done.
Group Similar Tasks
One way where you can maximize your time is grouping similar tasks together. For instance, block off a specific time to make cold calls, to return calls or for prospecting. Once that time is up, move on to other tasks. Scheduling repetitive activities like this will improve your workflow by allowing you to concentrate on one activity at a time.
Meet with Multiple Prospects
When you have appointments outside of the office, think about who else you could meet in the same area. Meeting with multiple prospects will free up some of your time and increase sales potential. A good rule is to always try to schedule appointments at times that are convenient for your clients, rather than forcing them into your schedule.
Track Your Time
Look at the work you are doing outside of your core responsibilities. Are you spending too much time researching, creating proposals or polishing every email? To get yourself back on the right path, you should track what you do with your time. After one week, you’ll begin to understand your habits and figure out when you can make adjustments to be more productive. Don’t rely on multitasking, you may think it is more productive, but your brain can’t do two things at once. It just goes from one task to the other. Focus on one thing at a time to maximize your productivity.
While a few minutes of lost productivity doesn’t seem like a big deal, it adds up over the course of a day. Research shows that when we lose our train of thought, it can take us 20 to 30 minutes to get back to that productive state of mind. Minimize distractions at work by planning and prioritizing a head of time. And it is okay to let your co-worker know that you don’t have time to chat but will come get them when you are available.
Have An Organized Workspace
Keep your workspace organized and uncluttered. Assign a place where everything should go and make sure it goes there. This way you can find what you need when you need it. And this applies to computer files too. I know we all have that catch-all junk folder on our computer…
Take Breaks During the Day
Get up walk around, stretch your legs get a drink of water or a snack. Try using breaks as rewards once you have completed a task. For example, as soon as you get that important client email written and sent, go get a glass of water. The simple act of taking a break allows you to clear your mind and refocus.
Get to the “No” Faster
Chasing the wrong prospects will cost you valuable time that you could put toward a viable lead. If you continue to work on failing clients/projects you commit to what’s known as a sunk cost fallacy. Letting go of a potential sale is difficult, but if a lead falls flat, you should disqualify them as quickly as possible so you can move on to better candidates.
Just Do It
Finally, if there’s something that you’ve been putting off or that you’re uncomfortable with just do it and get it over with. Do it first if you can, especially if it’s small and simple. Don’t schedule it ahead of time and don’t turn it into a project, just do it.
I know this sounds like a lot on paper (or… on your screen) but if you take these methods and gradually introduce them into your daily or weekly routine, things will start to get easier for you, trust me! Start by planning your week and prioritizing your tasks. Stay focused and get rid of those distractions. Organize your workspace and files to be more productive. And remember to give yourself a break. Ultimately the key to effectively managing your time is to work smarter not harder.
Need more help with time management? Log into your P1 Learning account and watch the courses, “Effective Time Management“, “Successful Delegation”, “SMART Goals”, and “Top Productivity Apps”.
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