Sales reps need to maximise their productivity at all times. It’s simple: the more prospects you contact, the more likely you are to make a sale. The more sales you close, the more valuable you become to your company and the more money you will earn.
Fortunately, a number of time management hacks can boost your productivity, and are relatively easy to implement. Here are 5 tips to optimising your productivity.
1. Work from a To-Do List
There’s no substitute for having a plan. The daily plan needs to be a to-do list. Every night, write down what you want to accomplish tomorrow. Do you want to make two sales calls? Strategise some promotional ideas? Follow-up on last week’s prospects? Write them down. Cross them off as you complete them. That makes for psychological satisfaction. It also allows you to easily see what you didn’t get done today, and to move it to tomorrow’s list.
2. Prioritise Your Buyer
It’s common for busy people not to get to all the items on their to-do list. The key to a good to-do list is to prioritise it, so that only the less important items fall to the next day. Crucially, be sure to prioritise your buyer. The buyer is key to sales. If a buyer wants a demonstration of the product, for example, or to discuss pricing, that’s a top priority, because it could lead to a sale. Returning calls from sales leads is also a top priority, because they are potential buyers.
But updating your files or going to lunch with colleagues, while important, is unlikely to be a top priority. File maintenance can always wait for another day, because pristine filing does not lead directly to sales. Lunch with colleagues is valuable, but they should understand working with your buyer as a chief priority.
3. Do Your Most Important Tasks Early in the Day
In addition to prioritising buyers, it’s a good practice to do the top priorities early in the day. Sales calls and leads can take more time than you planned. In fact, sales calls that turn into extended discussions can be good news, because they are likely to turn into ongoing relationships and sales. You want to have as many hours to give top priorities as you can, and tackling them early is a good way to have plenty of time. You can always move things of lesser importance to the next day or next week.
4. Keep Yourself from Distractions
It’s important to keep your focus on your to-do priorities and not let yourself be distracted. One good practice is to restrict when your answer e-mails or texts. Access your e-mails and texts once in the morning, at mid-day, and before you go home in the evening. Why? Opening e-mails or even being online can often bring fresh information that you’re tempted to answer. But answering it can deflect you from doing more high-priority (sales related) work. It can also be a gateway to wasting time with personal e-mails or personal time online.
Worried that clients will think you’re slow to respond? Make it clear that you will respond promptly within a 24-hour period — and then do, of course. People will understand, and see you as responsible and timely.
5. Take Breaks
Many people trying to boost their productivity equate more time working with more productivity. They may tend to neglect any sort of break, even for lunch.
But in fact, that’s not the most productive method. While you shouldn’t take excessive breaks, people who take breaks throughout the day are more productive than those that don’t. Breaks, even to walk out for a coffee or chat with a co-worker, clear the head and make us more focused when we return to work, not less.
A good ratio is 25 minutes of work to a 5-minute break, or 1 hour to a 10-minute break.