Let’s talk about how you manage your time in a pandemic. In my book, A Mind for Sales, I talk a lot about time management. Let me tell you that there are some big issues that people overlook. The issue of how to manage your time is one of them. Right now, your time is more valuable than ever. Don’t be like everyone else and waste it away.
You’re in a work-from-home situation, or you may be one of those that’s gone back to the office or back on the road. Still, let’s be real – there are a tremendous amount of people continuing to work from home. Even if you have gone back to the office or traveling like before, there’s still a tremendous amount of change around you. You have to remember to break your time down into four different buckets. Before I share the four buckets, watch this video:
The first bucket is your existing customers. You have to make sure that you are devoting time to them, because guess what? Every decision is in play right now, and I mean every single decision. Just as you’re trying to steal customers from your competitor, your competitors are trying to steal customers from you. You must ensure that you have time allocated for your existing customers. Sometimes we run into a problem doing this, though. Too often, we spend too much time with our existing customers. Hang with me here, and I’ll come back to this thought in a bit.
The second bucket is prospecting close-in opportunities. These are opportunities that will close this quarter, this month, whatever it might be. This is stuff that is in the middle of your pipeline and down. You want to always make sure you are maximizing those opportunities and bringing them into fruition right now.
The third bucket is all about what you’re putting in at the top. In other words, what is your lead generation process, and how much time are you allocating to that process?
The fourth and final bucket is strategically analyzing where your business in your specific industry is headed. Consider what’s going on in our world right now. How is that influencing your particular business?
So, let’s walk through each of the four buckets…
First, let’s take our existing customers in the first bucket. It’s very easy for us to become fixated on just taking care of existing business, but that’s called customer service. I want to be focused on existing business, existing customers, because I want to get incremental business. Think about the other divisions, other people. Where are they? With your existing customers, ask yourself how you can serve them at an even deeper level. Challenge yourself, so you don’t just get caught up giving customer service.
Bucket number two involves those that are midway in your pipeline and down. So, how can you close them now and how much time should you allocate to do so? I like to allocate no more than 30% of my time to existing customers, because it’s important that I allocate at least 30% of my time to those customers that are halfway there and bringing them down through. Again, let me reiterate that if I don’t keep bringing new customers into my mix, I become more and more reliant on just my old customers. The main goal is to close those customers midway in your pipeline and down in as simple a manner as possible. Then, they will move from this bucket (number two) to the first bucket, and you can continue working on them. To recap, we’ve discussed 30% for existing customers and another 30% for close-in prospects. That’s 60%, so that leaves you 25% – 30% to prospect up at the top.
Now, make note that your actual numbers may vary. I’m just sharing this because it’s worked for a lot of people, and particularly for most people that I work with right now in this pandemic situation. So, tell yourself that you’re going to spend 25% – 30% of your time on just new leads – getting new leads in, qualifying them, etc. You may have a good customer service department, who’s taking care of existing customers, so you can dial that down to just 20%. Then you have another 10% to give 40% up here to prospecting. Again, you’ll need to look at your own numbers but just make sure you’re staying very focused on time and putting everything in your calendar. Let’s be honest, if you don’t put it in your calendar, it never happens and prospecting at the top will never happen. For myself, I must be deliberate about scheduling prospecting in calendar. I put it in my calendar in two-hour or four-hour blocks – whatever amount of time you decide – for “X” number of times each week. That makes me focus on it.
Now, if you’ve been following along here, we’ve accounted for 30%, 60%, and now 90%, so there’s still 10%. With this last bit, I strategically look at what’s happening out there in the industry. Do not take your eye off the long-term ball, because there are always new opportunities available to you. Now, do you call this the shiny object syndrome? It’s not. It is the focused opportunity syndrome. In other words, you’re looking for the focused opportunities that are developing that you can get to. This may be focused opportunities that you can take to existing customers, or use to get new leads. Either way, spend 10% of your time looking beyond.
This is how you manage your time as a sales person in the middle of a pandemic – divide your time into these 4 buckets and you will find success. Remember if you don’t manage your time, your time will manage you.
Go grab my book, A Mind For Sales. I want you to read it. One chapter discusses how to start your week off right. Monday’s are your best day of the week, except I don’t want just Mondays to be your best day. I want every day to be your best day of the week! I hope you see why reading the book, A Mind for Sales is absolutely necessary to your success. Buy it, read it, and share it. Post a review on Amazon or wherever you purchased it, and help spread the word about how to have a mind for sales!