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Time is money. We’ve heard that before, but it is especially true in selling. If you consider the value of your time when you are face to face or on the phone talking with your customers, you might be surprised to find that your time is worth $200 per hour or more! (Divide your annual income by the number of hours you spend in contact with your customers or prospects.) Other activities will usually not produce the same return on investment of time.

The costs of poor organization can be huge.

 

  1. Missed appointments.
  2. Arriving late for appointments.
  3. Poor, or no follow-up on appointments.
  4. Less credibility with clients.
  5. Arriving at meetings unprepared or missing vital information.
  6. Missed sales and opportunities.
  7. Embarrassment and loss of confidence.
  8. Lost expense reports or receipts.
  9. Lost files.
  10. Wasted time and added stress trying to find things, fix things, or explain things.

Eliminating these problems by being better-organized produces great rewards. Here are some time tips:

 

  1. In order to manage your time, you must first have goals. Without goals you can’t have priorities. Without priorities you can’t make intelligent decisions about how to use your time.
  2. Plan your month to meet your annual goals. Plan your week to meet your monthly goals and plan your day to meet your weekly goals.
  3. List your high payoff activities – the ones that are worth more than $200 an hour.
  4. Measure and record your effectiveness on a daily basis.
  5. Do a time log for a week and compare what you are doing to what you have decided you should be doing. Make decisions about how to spend more time in the high payoff areas.
  6. Lest the low payoff activities that you have been doing and then:
    1. Delegate them or,
    2. Eliminate them or,
    3. Do them in non-prime time when you can’t be with customers.
  7. Jealously guard your Prime Time and eliminate interruptions:
    1. Don’t look at your mail or e-mail.
    2. Don’t surf the Internet.
    3. Screen your phone calls and only talk with important customers. Return all phone calls in a block of time that you choose and get in the habit of returning all calls within a specific time frame such as six hours.
    4. Don’t talk to others in the office during Prime Time.
    5. Close your office door if you have one or get a sign that says, “Do not disturb”.
    6. Say no to requests for non-sales meetings during Prime Time.
  8. Maximize the value of your Prime Time.
    1. Confirm appointments before showing up.
    2. Allow a margin of error in travel time for construction, traffic jams, etc.
    3. Minimize travel time by arranging appointments in a geographic area.
    4. Use the phone to accomplish minor customer service follow-ups, or to deal with issues that don’t require an actual meeting.
    5. Schedule appointments rather than just “dropping in” on customers.
    6. Listen to educational audiotapes while driving.
    7. Use a cell-phone to talk with clients while driving.
    8. Use a dictating machine while driving to record notes on your meetings, write letters for follow-up or record your creative ideas for selling more effectively.
    9. Have an agenda for your appointments and make a point of not wasting your customer’s time.
    10. Keep telephone conversations short and to the point. Have an agenda for your phone meetings.
    11. Teach your customers the best time to reach you and when you won’t be available.
    12. Carry your own articles or magazines to read while waiting to see your customer.
    13. Work at targeting higher value customers, book appointments with them first and fill in your holes with lower value customers.
    14. Never eat alone. Have breakfasts and lunches with customers.
  9. Hire and make good use of a personal assistant. (Why would you not pay someone $15 an hour to free you up to do $200 per hour work?)
    1. Develop a detailed job description.
    2. If possible, have human resources or someone else recruit and screen the candidates down to two or three finalists.
    3. Provide details in writing; an orientation and clear expectations of duties, activities and results.
    4. Spend time each day with your assistant to review results from the previous day and today’s plans, activities and expectations.
    5. Delegate anything that doesn’t require your personal attention and be ruthless with yourself, handing over all but the high payoff activities.
    6. If your personal assistant is good, pay him/her well. They can be a major key to your ongoing success.
    7. Teach your customers to deal with your assistant on matters that don’t require your personal attention.
  10. Change your self-image. Begin to see yourself as a better organized, higher producing, effective sales professional.

Following these guidelines will help you to rise to a higher level of professional selling, increase your income, reduce your stress and gain greater respect from your customer.

By Wayne Vanwyck Exchange Magazine

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