article | September 3, 2012
3 Ways to Win Back Your Valuable Selling Time
As a rep in this reality, read on for three simple strategies to maximize your selling time, improve your sales strategy and put money back in your pocket.
What’s Your Time Worth?
When did you last stop and look at what your time is really worth? Take a look at the chart below, which breaks down annual income into three scenarios. If you’re putting in 40 hours a week, consider yourself lucky and run to the bank. However, if you’re putting in closer to 50 or 60 hours a week, then focus on the columns in yellow and red.
The takeaway is to think about your annual income on an hourly basis to help focus your selling time.
Ask yourself the question – if I work 50% more (60 hours compared to 40), do I make 50% less? While your annual income doesn’t drop based on the number of hours, you certainly are working harder for that income.
Then the question is how much of your time is spent on non-selling activities?
So you find yourself with more administrative responsibilities and less client selling time. Here are the three strategies to focus on:
The first strategy – get clear on where you spend your time. Unless you’ve done a personal time assessment recently, you may not recognize where you’re allocating your working hours. The prospect of tracking your critical activities may sound like having teeth pulled, but it’s an insightful exercise for sales reps. If you were able to bill for your hours, you’d get serious about tracking and reporting them. As a sales rep, you must maximize your time because it’s your most precious resource
“If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.” – Lord Kelvin
You’re a sales rep, you still have to hit your number for the year and you don’t have time for a lengthy one week assessment. You can take an hour at the end of the week and quickly assess where you spent your time. This can also be done in 5 minutes at the end of each day for a week.
Segment Your Selling vs. Non-Selling Activities
Next, look at the time assessment over the course of a week. Do you know what your silent sales productivity killers are and what to do to get rid of them?
The short lists provided below offer a springboard towards finding them. It’s common to see sales reps get caught up in a flurry of busy work which doesn’t add to their bottom line or the revenue of the company.
You have to clearly see how your time breaks down into selling verses non-selling activity. To stave off the flood of negative comments and emails, let me say that non-selling activities are a necessary evil…or a necessary pain. For instance, order processing and post-sales support are critical to implementation and happy returning customers. Regardless of the type of sale, transactional, enterprise or complex, there is always non-selling work required. The caveat is you need to get strategic about how you handle it.
Leverage Non-Selling Activities
Here’s where strategies one and two really come into play.
Assuming you’ve done a time assessment and segmented your activities by selling vs. non-selling activity. Now you’re prepared to leverage your non-selling activities in the following ways:
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