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Time Management for Sales Pros

Think you're not spending enough time selling? Learn to reorganize your time without increasing your workload.
March 20, 2007

If you want to make more money, you have to spend more time selling, right? Yes, but there are only 24 hours in a day, and who wants to spend them all working? The key is to work smarter--not harder.

For busy salespeople, working smarter means spending more time focusing on your No. 1 skill--selling--by giving up less important tasks. You may be the company rainmaker, but if you're running a small company, chances are you're also its CEO, custodian and everything in between.

Yes, all that needs to get done, too. Undoubtedly, every time you walk into your office, half a dozen projects clamor for your time. But the big question is: At the end of the day, how many hours have you actually devoted to selling? If you're not satisfied with your sales revenue, the answer is: not enough.

My, How Time Flies!
To get a handle on how you really spend your time, document it. For one week, keep an hour-by-hour activity log. Sound like a pain? It is. But it can also be very enlightening. By the end of the week, you may be stunned by your findings.

Here's another way to do it: Give yourself daily points for sales activities. You might want to set a goal of 15 points a day based on a point system like this:

Tally your points each day, and you'll have a pretty good idea if you're dedicating enough of your time to essential sales activities. Going forward, you can use the points system--or your own customized version of it--to keep yourself on task.

OK, Now What?
If you conclude that you need more hands-on sales time, there's just one thing to do--get rid of the tasks that get in your way. One of my favorite mottos is: Don't do well what you shouldn't do at all. Here are some easy ways you can delegate some of your sales work.

Protect Your Time
When you're selling, your time is your most valuable asset. Protect it vigilantly, even if it means learning to do business differently.

Do you jump every time someone requests a meeting? Do you allow yourself to be at your clients' beck and call? Slow down. Put your own schedule first. Will the customer drop you if you ask to meet on Friday instead of Thursday? Probably not. At the very least, ask.

Selling requires unwavering focus. If you want to make more money, create an operation that allows you to keep your focus squarely where it should be--on sales.