The demands of the sales organization are many. Often too many.
Your company needs you to provide information, so you attend pipeline and forecast meetings, you update your sales force automation, you complete your digital paperwork, and you respond to countless email request each day. Your company also needs to provide you with information and training, so you are required to attend more meetings, coaching and training calls, and you are bombarded with countless “for your information emails.”
All of this is good and necessary. But it is also extremely time-consuming. At some point, your company’s demands on your time can outweigh your client’s demands on your time.
The laws of physics are ruthlessly inflexible, and as it turns out, if you are in your office in a meeting, you can’t also be sitting in a face-to-face meeting with your client. Nor can you be making prospecting calls.
Here is how you might improve your sales by protecting your customer-facing time.
Don’t Open Your Email More than Twice a Day
Open and respond to your email at 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM each day. Never open email first thing in the morning.
Somehow, we all have adopted the belief that we have to be available by email every waking moment of every day of our lives. You don’t have to be always available by email. It steals your time, and much of your email is information that doesn’t require your attention. It’s mostly just “for your information.”
My personal choice is to respond to much of my email over the weekend, so it doesn’t steal from me my week.
Until 10:00 AM, do only customer-facing work. Make your sales calls, or make our prospecting calls. If you make this simple change and protect the first two hours of the day when your energy is highest, you will do better work and you will have protected some of your time from your organization.
Do Your Digital Paperwork from Home
Don’t waste your time doing your digital paperwork at the office. Do it after hours, and do it from home.
There is only so much time to reach your dream clients or to spend in face-to-face sales calls. For most of us, that time falls between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. If you are doing your digital paperwork during these hours, like updating your sales force automation, you are stealing time from your dream clients and your existing clients. The digital paperwork is important, but it isn’t important that you do it at work.
Work hard. Go home. Disconnect. Spend time with the family. Then put a half an hour in doing your digital paperwork so you can spend more of your time with customers.
Ask to Miss Non-Critical Meetings or Attend by Phone
I know you feel like you do, but you don’t have to attend every meeting.
Sales managers are particularly forgiving of sales people who miss meetings due to the fact that they are sitting across from their dream client when the meeting occurs. Some salespeople believe that their first duty is to their own organization, and they wouldn’t dream of missing a meeting; they later use it as to justify poor sales results. But smart salespeople know that they serve their company best by spending time in front of their clients and prospects.
Book your face-to-face sales calls, and then ask for permission to miss meetings or to join them by phone. You’ll be surprised at how much leniency you receive because you are in a face-to-face meeting with a customer.
What if you are the boss?
Sales Manager: Protect Your Salespeople’s Customer Time
No one serves the demands of the sales organization more than the sales manager. No one. The demands are simply overwhelming.
Maybe you haven’t thought of your job this way before, but part of your job is to protect your sales force’s time from the organization. You need to protect your team from unnecessary meetings, unnecessary paperwork, and anything else that steals their time from customer-facing activities.
You have to encourage the mindset that your people serve the organization best by spending time with customers. You lead by scheduling your meetings and information needs around the idea of protecting client-facing time. You also lead by giving your team air cover when they need it.
Better sales results can be had by making customer-facing activities the priority, and by protecting your time.
How much of your time is spent with your customers and prospects?
How much of your time is spent prospecting?
What are the responsibilities that steal your time?
How do you protect your time from your organization?