Sales, perhaps, is the most dynamic profession, that demands multi tasking. Sales persons are constantly expected to deliver more in less time, especially with growing competition these days. Increasing prospecting, more number of appointments, daily online reporting and assistance in market research are few to name. This is a tough task, that puts immense mental pressure, even over tough individuals. Some medical studies show, that stress related health problems are more common among sales professional. Such high level of stress affects not only their professional, but personal life too. Let’s look at the problems, most of the sales professionals usually face and complain about: –
- After roaming for entire day, I have to accomplish all reporting work in evening. When I can enjoy with family?
- Weekly holidays are wasted in administrative works
- I can’t reply to so many emails
- Every other day, marketing team asks for competitor’s report. Should I sell or send reports only?
Is there any way to mitigate these problems? I discussed this matter with 23 successful sales professionals and asked them about their views. One common thing surfaced in all the discussions is effective time management with planning. I picked a few practical techniques shared by them and would like to share with this blog.
Identify Your Spare Timings
Sales persons are bound to get spare timings irrespective of industry. After analyzing every day activities of 23 sales persons from different industries, spare timings were identified from their daily schedule. Waiting time outside customer chamber and in the stockist place are most common and unavoidable spare time, that every sales person has to live with. Unfortunately, most sales professionals waste these spare times in watching messages in social networks or playing video games. But those, who utilize this time in productive manner, saves a lot of time and ease out their work stress significantly. One medical representative from a reputed pharmaceuticals tried to estimate his spare time outside doctor’s chamber on my request. His calculation summed up to about two hours every day. A software sales person from an IT company shared that customers keep him waiting for an average of ten to forty-five minutes before each call. He even admitted waiting even for two hours in a few cases.
A good planning for prospecting activity will help you not only to save time but also to sustain your sales pipeline from getting dried. Many sales persons start prospecting, only when they are falling shot of target achievement or for generating extra sale for incentive earning. This puts huge burden on regular activities and also not a very effective method. Make prospecting, a regular habit, rather than one time activity. Daily 10-15 minutes are enough. Modern technology can be extremely helpful prospect management. Excel sheets are good enough to categorize your prospect as per your need e.g. priority, expected business outcome, extent of need etc.
Although important, these are least favorite activities for any sales person, as are non-revenue generating. For example, sending visit reports, expense reports, competitors activity detail, handling customer issues etc. There are several ways, how you may accomplish such tasks in a better way by effective planning and save time: –
- Don’t let such activities to be piled up for end of day or week.
- Divide these into two category- one that needs more time and preparation and other that can be done within couple of minutes.
- For first kind of activities, schedule a fixed time in a week.
- For second kind of activities, utilize your empty timings. If the activity can be done in two minutes, just do it.
Every sales person now receives not less than 50 to 100 email a day. And so, checking email is such a time taking activity specially in sales profession, that need to be managed well. Here are some tips for managing email, that will both save your time as well as improves your responses: –
- Checks emails through smart phone in your spare time, otherwise you have to go through many such emails in evening at home and that will look like a burden
- There are many copied mails to you, which do not require your reply.
- While among other emails, those which require simply your yes/no kind of few word reply, you can respond easily through your mobile phone.
- Use “Star” mark to those few emails, that need more time to respond. Reply those in evening. Otherwise, you may create a dedicated inbox also for such mails. While checking emails in spare time, put all such time taking emails in that inbox.
Develop Positive Attitude-
This is the most thing before managing your activities. Whatever administrative works are expected from you are necessary, based on which your performance is judged, planning is made, incentive is calculated. Imagine, if you will not provide adequate information about competitor, how can they design counter strategies? Hence first develop a positive attitude towards such activities, then only you can find ways to accomplish these without any stress.
These tips looks simple, but proved to be very effective. By adopting such changes in combination, many successful sales professionals have improved their sales and are enjoying work life balance. Hope you will also get benefits out of these.
Please share your time management tips below in comment box. This will help others in same fraternity.