What does it take to move to the next level? What does it take to become a truly great salesperson?
I continue to argue that time is our most valuable asset. What you do, and don’t do, with your time can make or break you as a successful salesperson.
Here I’ll share 10 easy tips for how to take your own time management skills to the next level. How many of these do you already practice? Which can you implement this week?
1. Take 15 minutes Sunday evening.
Using 15 minutes, or 30 minutes for you overachievers, to sit down and really map out your week is critical.
First, you look back on the previous week and congratulate yourself on your success, whatever it was. It may have been something very small, but congratulate yourself. It’s amazing how it changes your attitude. Now you’re even more ready to take on the week ahead.
Next, set objectives that are going to make your week big. What are the things you want to be doing? Because if you don’t start off Monday morning with the right mindset, it’s not going to happen.
2. Drive the week.
It’s your job to drive the week. Don’t let the week drive you.
I see salespeople naively expecting a light week, but then it fills up because customers call them. Now you’re overwhelmed and you’ll never reach success.
You have to own the week. Set the objectives and set them by day. As I walk you through this list here, I’m going to show you how to set them by individual time periods, because this is the way you absolutely own the week.
3. Divide your week into thirds.
This is absolutely key for sellers. Have one-third of your week spent on existing customers, one-third of your week spent really dealing with customers that are about ready to close, and one-third spent on prospecting.
Too many people spend all their time on existing customers, and they really don’t spend enough time getting new business. Or, they spend all their time just trying to close deals and they don’t spend enough time prospecting.
Don’t let prospecting get swept aside.
Some of you might be thinking, “Well, Mark, that’s one-third with existing customers. That’s not enough time.” That may be true in some cases, but I’ve got to sacrifice some customer service to make sure that I actually have time to get new customers. Otherwise, I won’t have any.
4. Schedule your week with no open time.
Set time blocks in your calendar to be prospecting, to close these deals or write those proposals, whatever it is. But the most important meetings you set are with yourself.
Don’t let your schedule have white space.
“Well, I got this appointment in the morning, this appointment in the afternoon, and the rest of the day, I’ll just take care of everything else.” With that attitude, stuff just happens. Instead, I want you to be deliberate with your time.
Read more about How to Know if a Prospect Is Worth Your Time
5. Be ruthless with your routine.
If you aren’t ruthless with your routine first thing in the morning, the day just slides by. And if you ease into your day, the rest of the day will suffer.
I am up at 4:50 every morning. At 4:50 every morning the alarm goes off, and by about 4:59, I know I’m pushing the button on the coffee maker. And I have a very set routine that takes me through my exercise, my quiet time, all the things that I do that first hour of the day. I’m very deliberate with the activities I schedule, because I’ve thought about it ahead of time.
I set something significant I want to accomplish after that set routine. It’s not, “Well, let me spend time just checking email or doing this.” No, I didn’t get up at 4:50 in the morning just to waltz around the internet. I want to get things done!
This is the difference between average and great people. They’re absolutely ruthless
6. Follow the 10:00 a.m. rule
You want to have accomplished something significant by 10:00 AM.
I want you to take your phone. Set an alarm to go off every morning at 10:00 AM. When it does, ask yourself, “Have I accomplished something significant?” This is absolutely critical.
Now, I said I get up at 4:50 in the morning, so I don’t have the 10:00 AM rule, I have the 8:00 AM rule. By 8:00 AM, I want to accomplish something significant. Here’s what happens. If I accomplish something significant by my “deadline,” I’m jazzed! I’m pumped! And it’s amazing how much more I get done the rest of the day.
Let’s say you’ve accomplished something significant by 10:00 AM–-but the day falls apart–you still had a significant day.
Don’t put things off until the afternoon, because something very likely will come up and you’ll never get to it. Make it your goal to get the big things done early in the day.
7. Use Monday morning and Friday afternoon.
For too many salespeople, these are throwaway times. They might even think that no one wants to talk to them during these times. Wrong!
I love Friday afternoons. Friday afternoon phone calls are great, because many times there are people who I can never get a hold of during the week, but I can call them on a Friday afternoon. And guess what? Boom, I’m able to have a conversation.
Monday mornings aren’t just great for conversations, but I can send out an email, and be at the top of the list. Think about it, people who don’t check email over the weekend we’ll say, which emails do they look at first? The last ones that came in! It’s the same with voicemail.
Monday mornings are very productive, and by making them so, my mindset changes and it’s amazing how I do everything else much faster, much more powerful throughout the week.
8. Tomorrow begins today.
Remember what I told you about Sundays? Well, I want you to do this every day.
Never end the day without knowing exactly what I’m going to do the next day.
As I lay out my day, I break it into two hour blocks. Now, you may use one hour blocks or three hour blocks, whatever it is. At the end of every block, I evaluate myself. Did I use the time window effectively? What did I accomplish? It actually ups my game.
9. Don’t focus on the quota.
Your objective is your quota. I totally get that. But achieving your quota consists of activities, and I want you to focus on the activity. Now, I’m not all about activity just for the sake of activity. But in order for me to reach my objective, let’s say my quarterly quota, I’ve got to do ‘X’ amount of activity.
When I hear people say they’re not making their numbers, I’m going to ask them, “Well, how much time have you spent prospecting? How many phone calls did you make? How many prospects have you talked to?”
You see, the reason they’re not making their sales quota is because they’re not having enough conversations. The challenge is not the number represented by your quota. The challenge is the number of conversations.
Why is my conversation number so low? Well, probably because I didn’t set aside enough time. As a result, I ought to look at my calendar. What am I doing to reallocate time? If I do the right activities–in the right way– I’ll make my sales quota.
10. Seek to Improve by 1%.
CIM stands for Continuous Improvement Model. This means every week my goal is to improve myself by 1%. If I improve myself by 1% each week, it’s amazing how much better I become.
If every week I improve myself, what does that look like?
Well, I come up with one way to write a different email, a little better email, or a slightly improved voicemail. It might seem insignificant–or it may even be that you stop doing an activity as opposed to starting a new one.
There are 52 weeks in a year. Even if I consider time off for vacations etc. you’re going to increase your performance by about 50%. Now, is your sales going to go up by 50%? No, but I bet it goes up 15 or 20%. I bet it goes up at least 10%, and who wouldn’t take that? Because when you do that year in, year out, that’s how you achieve success.
I’ve helped so many professionals get to the next level with my book, A Mind for Sales.
Sometimes we just need a mindset shift. Or maybe even a mindset revamp!
I invite you to check out my book here.
Already read it? Then you’d be perfect for the A Mind for Sales Masterclass. It comes with a discussion and action guide, a 33-day journal challenge, and videos from myself with more insight. Learn more about the course here.
Join your host, Mark Hunter, in this week’s episode of The Sales Hunter Podcast as he shares strategies for setting up a mental framework built for success.
Can sales truly be a lifestyle, instead of a job? Tune in this Thursday wherever you stream your podcasts.
Copyright 2022, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of A Mind for Sales and High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.