Customer Experience News & Trends

16 ways salespeople can use their time more effectively

Procrastination is a serious problem for some salespeople. It isn’t that they have less motivation than other professionals; they just have more opportunities to procrastinate and get away with it.

No time clocks

There are no time clocks for salespeople. If they want to take extra time for lunch or coffee breaks, or even catch a matinee, they can usually get away with it.

They may also be able to fool a lot of people, but not their sales figures.

While it’s not possible to increase the number of hours in a day, it is possible to use the hours that are available more effectively.

Here are 16 tips for managing time more effectively:

  1. Pigeonhole. Try to categorize exactly why you’re procrastinating. Zero in on the cause rather than the effect and the solution will frequently become obvious.
  2. The Salami Technique. For an overwhelming task, list on a piece of paper the sequential steps that must be taken. Then start focusing on dealing with those steps one after another — like slicing salami.
  3. The leading task. Just keep doing something, anything which relates directly to your major objective until you have poked so many holes in the overall task that it’s been managed.
  4. The five-minute plan. Make a deal with yourself that you will work on a task for five minutes, and then stop. Repeat frequently until the job is done.
  5. The worst first system. Tackle the hardest part of the job first, and then you’ll have considerable confidence to quickly accomplish the rest.
  6. The balance sheet. Write a list of all the reasons for procrastinating and all the benefits of getting the job done. Compare the two. Which list makes good sense and which list doesn’t?
  7. The journal. Sit down and write the reasons you’re procrastinating. When you read your thoughts, are they rational or unrealistic?
  8. Self-dialogue. Have a conversation with yourself out loud in which you talk things through calmly and rationally. You can even practice how you’ll handle anticipated questions.
  9. Tape talk. You can tape a talk of encouragement and motivation. Then when you start to procrastinate, you can play the taped message and get back on track.
  10. The monitor method. Set up a friend to interview you on your progress at a set time each week. The fact that they will be inquiring will motivate you to move forward and achieve more.
  11. Get tough with yourself. Demand more of yourself and you may be surprised at how much you’re able to achieve. Some salespeople tend to let themselves get away with murder when it comes to imposing self-discipline. Demand more from your life and then work like mad to achieve whatever you’ve set as a goal. You’ll accomplish more than you expect.
  12. Recognize excuses for what they are and use them as a call to action. Some salespeople consider themselves to have zero willpower or ability to overcome procrastination. They sell themselves short. When a crisis develops with a customer, they usually have the ability to resolve it. Most achievers are simply ordinary salespeople who put forth extraordinary effort without the urging of a sales manager.
  13. Develop your willpower. Achievers develop exceptional willpower by practice and effort until it becomes second nature to them. By regularly taking an unpleasant task and accomplishing it, they lay a stronger foundation for achieving other more difficult tasks in the future.
  14. Be decisive. It reduces stress, makes you feel better and allows you to get more done. When you insist on decisiveness and demand it from yourself, you’re much more likely to be sleeping on your accomplishments rather than staying awake because of things you put off.
  15. Reward yourself. Whenever you do anything that you were tempted to put off, reward yourself in some small but meaningful manner. Keep on rewarding yourself for your small successes until you move on to achieve big ones.
  16. Set aside time each day to work on something important but not urgent. Guard this time jealously and look for ways to increase and stretch this time block every day. By taking care of these tasks before they become urgent, you’ll give yourself that much more time to handle emergencies.

Adapted from “Doing It Now,” by Edwin C. Bliss, a consultant and author of more than 12 sales and management books.

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