Between phone calls, meetings, professional development, presentations, research, paperwork and networking (not to mention time sucks like Facebook), salespeople can spin their wheels for hours — only to realize that they’ve produced absolutely nothing by the end of the day.
Results happen only when you can distinguish between “being busy” and actually doing something to drive revenue.
A major aid in eliminating these time suckers is to adopt established sales processes that allow you to keep yourself accountable. The limited amount of time that you have each day is often wasted minute by minute unless you either create or adopt existing sales systems which help to set clear goals, priorities, and specific tasks to keep you on track.
The following scenarios describe typical unproductive activities seen in every sales department (everyone is guilty to some degree) and what SHOULD be happening if a sales process is in place and followed.
What you’re doing: Chatting with others in the sales department upon arrival.
What you should be doing: Role playing different sales situations for 15 minutes or participating in brief skills reinforcement.
Start the sales day by taking 10 to 15 minutes to sharpen skills. This can be done alone or with two to three sales team members. Whether it’s reading excerpts from the books of sales gurus, listening to inspirational audio, or role playing how to respond to a particular scenario that keeps tripping you up during meetings with clients, these morning prep minutes keep you fresh and motivated while yielding better results than simple banter.
What you’re doing: Wading through emails.
What you should be doing: Completing 30 to 40 sales phone calls by lunch time.
Many salespeople turn on the computer and wade through emails during the first half of the day. Replace that habit with one that will increase your sales efficiency. Emails can be answered any time. Take advantage of early morning energy and ego by making a set number of sales calls by a certain time every day.
Don’t hesitate. As soon as you end contact with one prospect, immediately call another and another. Strive to do something better with each call. Sales systems and habits like this one create momentum and soon you’ll be on a roll. Plus, you’ll avoid that post-lunch worry about the lack of progress you’ve made with prospects for the day.
What you’re doing: Handling customer service issues.
What you should be doing: Delegating to the service department.
Although you want to address concerns and problems that arise with accounts, your highest priority as a salesperson is to make more sales. Service departments exist for a reason. Delegate and have workers there take good care of your customers and their post-purchase concerns.
What you’re doing: Calling prospects here and there, whenever you discover them.
What you should be doing: Creating a prospect list daily to guide calls the next day.
Sometimes the marketing department or another source will pass on lead information for possible prospects. Don’t call every new prospect right away. Remember to follow your system for developing prospects, and for warming up these cold calls. In fact, we have free ebook coming out about this which you can download soon.
What you’re doing: Surfing social media
What you should be doing: Selling on social media.
Socializing and networking, whether in person or online, are the basis for many sales. Be active on social media, but strategically so: Post authoritative articles or participate in group discussions on LinkedIn. Visit Twitter or Facebook to share product related hash tags, posts, or conversation with your sales audience.
You can make a lot of money with social media, but skip the cat videos and gossip: use it to prospect and hook people into your brand.
What you’re doing: Jotting customer notes on paper or multiple computer documents.
What you should be doing: Updating your customer relationship management system.
Inefficient recordkeeping can make creating and organizing customer data confusing. Be sure to learn the ins and outs of your team’s CRM system and use it religiously.
What you’re doing: Meeting with unqualified or low-value prospects.
What you should be doing: Meeting only with qualified customers and prioritizing high-value customers.
Direct your efforts toward the prospects that meet the criteria of your ideal customer in terms of their available budget, whether they are decision makers at their company with authority to close a sale, and whether they seem open and eager to pursue a deal.
One great way to maximize sales efficiency which hardly anyone ever does (except high producers) is to schedule an annual planning time where you set goals and decide what your daily sales systems are going to look like. Then, you won’t spend time wondering what to do each day, or figuring it out in the middle of the year. You will have time blocked in weekly for self-improvement, research, client or territory development and even the dreaded report filing.
In summary: systems work. Efficiency saves time and money and reduces mistakes — while improving your professionalism and helping you make more sales. So, get your system cranking!