My Time for Sales is a Choice
Finally, the first big snow Thursday - 14 inches at Stratton and 6 on the NH beach. As any addicted snowboarder like me knows, the adage at any ski area is that…“there are no friends on a powder day”…just get headed up the hill as quickly as possible. Since I had already made the wise decision not to make the commute to Boston on Thursday, calls and texts came flooding in all day from people looking for me who were either headed to or already on the hill. Unfortunately, I had to make a choice about my time and rather than make the 3 hour trip to Stratton, I stayed glued to the computer and the phone all day. An okay day all the same, but of course, I would have rather been figuring out how to avoid the trees in the glades than calculating how to avoid the politics of a sales comp plan for one of our customers.
I had a choice to make with the use of my time: ride the hill or work. I could have done either, or maybe even both, but I worked through the details and figured out that it was a better use of my time to work rather than ride. Logic over satisfaction, customers before pleasure? Don’t know, but it was an easy choice.
All of us have a choice about our time. Although it may not seem that way in a world of overscheduled calendars where even the crunched niches are packed with emails and texts, the bottom line is that we make a choice about every minute of our time. “Come on, Jack, not true! Get real! My time is dictated by my boss and endless meetings leaving me only a fraction of my time to spend with customers and an even smaller fraction to focus on new prospects”. I hear this excuse all of the time, but I simply don’t buy that argument. It is that way, because you allow it to be that way. You have choices...
Let’s take a look at the math. We have 3,120 hours of available time to work during any year figuring 60 hours a week, which is close to the actual number reported from our annual survey of our most successful salespeople. Subtract 25% for holidays, sick time, vacation and a small non-utilization factor, and you’re at 2,340 hours. That’s your available time to sell during the year-about 39 weeks of gross selling time. Unfortunately, from our data, we also know that even the best salespeople use only 57% of that time for the actual preparing and selling to their prospects. The rest of the time is lost to non-sales meetings, administrative stuff, account service calls, training and travel. Again, these stats are for the most successful salespeople.
So, let’s focus on those 2,340 hours. It’s your choice how you use them to upsell to existing or to hunt down new prospects. If you chose to start work at 8:30 and spend the next hour going through emails, then that’s a choice that cuts into one of the most productive hours in the day for making sales calls. If you chose to attend a webinar training session at 2:00 rather than watch the recorded on-demand version at lunch, then that’s a choice you make. If you travel to an account on Monday mornings rather than Sunday afternoons, that’s also a choice. If you continue to complain that your PowerPoint or CRM skills are dragging you down, but you don’t put yourself into a training program, then you’re going to continue to lose 15% of your time just from inefficiency. All of these and lots of other similar choices have a dramatic impact on your total available time to sell.
Bottom line is that the profession of sales today is extremely complex consisting of a variety of highly integrated moving parts. All of which takes time to plan out, so the choice is yours as to how you’re going to use your selling time during the balance of 2012.
Just note down right now, the three biggest time traps that you have as a professional salesperson and then write down how you plan to get rid of just one of those during Q2. I know that one of mine continues to be a frustration with the new #$%! Dell laptop that I bought in November. In writing this out right now, I just decided that I will try one more video driver download one more time, and if that doesn’t work, chalk it up to a $2K mistake and finally walk into the Apple store before the end of the month.
So, the question for the weekend is... "What's one of your sales time traps that you'll work on this month?"
Good Selling !
For more enabling ideas about your sales management time, a variety of useful sales management tools and best practices, you might want to think about filling one of our remaining three slots for our April 1st-April 3rd in Boston. We know from our experience of five years of Boot Camps that a retuning, a look at new ideas and the opportunity to talk to other management professionals is just the thing to accelerate the productivity of your sales team for 2012. In addition to our core lecturers, guest speakers for this session will include executives from Brainshark, HubSpot, Time Trade and Salesforce.
All attendees receive a free half day Whiteboarding Session scheduled at their convenience anytime during the following six months.
Just email me at email@example.com, and I'll set up a 10 minute call to answer your questions and walk you through the details of how to register.
Derby Management, Box 171322, Boston MA 02117