Time Power: Time Management Techniques for Salespeople

03/03/2023by dang tin0

Time Management Techniques for Salespeople

‘‘The successful person makes a habit of doing what the unsuccessful person doesn’t like to do. The successful person doesn’t like to do it either, but he does it because he recognizes that this is the price of success.’’

In 1928, the magazine Sales and Marketing Management surveyed American businesses to determine how efflciently salespeople were using their time. They discovered that the average salesperson in America was only working 20 percent of the time, approximately one and one-half hours per day.

This flnding caused alarm bells to go off throughout the sales industry. The idea that salespeople were only working ninety minutes per day became the emphasis for improved training, better time management skills, better supervision, and better control of the activities of salespeople. It led to a greater focus on the accountability of salespeople to the company for the way they were spending their time.

In 1988, Sales and Marketing Management magazine reported on the results of this training over the past sixty years, which was aimed at upgrading the time efflciency of sales personnel. They reported that, in 1988, the average salesperson in America was still working 20 percent of the time, ninety minutes per day. Nothing had changed.
A Columbia University study came to the same conclusions. After interviewing thousands of salespeople, the researchers found that the flrst sales call of the day was made, on average, at approximately 11:00 A.M.

The last sales call of the day was made, on average, at about 3:30 P.M. Salespeople spent the rest of their time preparing, shuffling papers, traveling, eating lunch, drink- ing coffee, and complaining about how tough the business was. McGraw-Hill did a follow-up study in the 1990s and reached the conclusion that sales personnel spent 37 percent of their time selling. This report turned out to be based on what was called self-reports. This is when the individual salesperson reports a particular number, according to his personal recollection, without the beneflt of notes or records. Alas, we can safely conclude that the average salesperson only works ninety minutes a day.

Double Your Sales

In my sales programs, I teach what I call my minutes theory. It is based on a simple equation. If you are in sales today, 100 percent of your sales and your income are generated by the number of minutes that you spend face-to-face with prospects and customers. If you want to increase the number of sales or the amount of money you make, you must increase the number of minutes that you spend in actual selling activity, face-to-face with people who can, and will, buy from you.

My theory says that if you double the number of minutes that you spend with customers, you will double your income, even if you do not improve in any other area of sales. If you manage your time as the top salespeople do, so that you are spending more time with customers, your sales will increase immediately. If you are in sales and reading this chapter, you are going to learn how to double your time effectiveness, and double your sales, in the next few pages. Thousands of salespeople are already using the ideas in this chapter to double, triple, and even quadruple their income in as little as six months. Many of my graduates have doubled and tripled their sales in less than a month, as the direct result of applying these methods and techniques.

The Job of the Salesperson

Let us begin with the job description of the salesperson. The job description of the salesperson is to create and keep customers. The measure of effectiveness of a salesperson is how many new customers she creates, or resales she generates, in any given time period. Everything else that a salesperson does is secondary to creating and keeping customers. Therefore, the only time a sales- person is working is when he is face-to-face, head-to-head, and knee-to-knee with a prospect or customer.

Salespeople are the only working people in America who wake up each morning unemployed. And they remain unem- ployed until they get in front of a person who is capable of making a buying decision. The flrst rule for sales success can be summarized in six words: ‘‘Spend more time with better prospects.’’

Sales success is in direct proportion to your ability to initiate new contacts. Because selling is a numbers game, based on the law of averages, the more new contacts you initiate, the more successful you are going to be, holding constant for all other factors. The more people you see, the more likely it is that you will make more sales.

The Three-Step Sales Formula

There is a simple formula for outstanding sales performance. It consists of three activities: Prospect, present, and follow up. Successful salespeople are those who prospect, present, and follow up more often than unsuccessful salespeople.

A person of average talents and abilities who prospects, presents, and follows up all day long will run circles around a genius who does not. If a salesperson is not making the sales he would like to make, or is not earning the income he would like to earn, it can always be traced back to a failure in one of the three key result areas: prospecting, presenting, or following up.

Apply the 80/20 rule to all of your selling activities. In selling, this means that you spend 80 percent of your time prospecting until you have so much business that you don’t have time to prospect anymore. You spend the other 20 percent of your time on everything else, including planning, organizing, doing paperwork, studying your sales material, socializing, and engaging in any other activity that is not prospecting.

Prospecting is deflned as the work of taking speciflc actions to seek out and contact people who need, who can use, and who can afford to purchase your product or service. The only thing that you have to sell as a salesperson is your time, and your time is only worth anything when you are face-to-face with someone who can buy what you are selling.

Begin with Clear Income and Sales Goals

Achieving peak performance and excellent time management in sales begins with your setting clear income and sales goals for yourself. The act of sitting down and deciding, in writing, how much you want to earn, and how you are going to go about earning it, makes it far more likely that you will achieve those goals than if you didn’t set them at all. The goal-setting exercise I am about to share with you has led to the doubling and tripling of the incomes of many salespeople. It is powerful because it is simple and easy. You can learn it and apply it immediately.

For example, one saleswoman was just starting in real estate when she came to my seminar. She had not sold her flrst house or taken her flrst listing. Nonetheless, as a result of this exercise, she set a goal for herself to earn $50,000 in income in her flrst year. At the time, she had no idea how few people selling residential real estate earned $50,000 per year. But the goal setting worked for her. She passed the $50,000 mark in her tenth month of selling.

Start with Your Best Year

You begin by taking your very best year’s income to date and grossing it up by 50 percent. In other words, if your very best income year to date was $40,000, you set your income goal for the next twelve months at $60,000, or 50 percent more. If your very best income year to date was $100,000, you set your income goal at $150,000. For the sake of this example, I will use $60,000 as the income target for the year.

Once you have determined how much you want to earn over the next twelve months ($60,000), the next step is to determine how much of your product or service you are going to have to sell in order to earn that amount.

For example, if you are receiving a commission of 6 percent on your sales, you will have to sell $1 million of your product or service over the next twelve months in order to earn $60,000. That number of $1 million now becomes your annual sales goal. Next, you determine your monthly income goal. In our ex- ample, $60,000 divided by twelve months equals $5,000 per month. You then determine how much you will have to sell each month to achieve that income goal. One million dollars in sales divided by twelve months equals $83,333. This becomes your monthly sales target.Once you have determined how much you want to earn, and how much you will have to sell each month to achieve it, you then determine your weekly income and sales goals. Let us as- sume that you will take two weeks off on vacation. You then divide the remaining number of weeks (fifty) into your income goal for the year. In this example, flfty into $60,000 equals $1,200 per week.

You then calculate the amount that you will have to sell each week by dividing your annual sales goal by flfty. In this case, $1 million in sales divided by flfty weeks means that you would have to sell $20,000 of your product or services each week in order to earn $60,000 by the end of the twelve-month period.

You now divide the number of days per week that you work into your weekly income goal. If you work flve days per week, you can use that figure. In our example, $1,200 per week, divided by flve, would equal $240 per day.

To calculate your daily sales goal, you divide the amount that you intend to sell per week by the number of days that you work. In this case, using $20,000 per week as the sales goal and dividing it by five, you would arrive at $4,000 worth of your product or service that you will have to sell each day.

Finally, divide your daily rate, in this case $240, by the num- ber of hours you intend to work each day. For example, if you work eight hours per day and you divide that into our example of $240, you would come up with an hourly rate of $30.

Focus on Your Hourly Rate

Once you have determined your desired hourly rate, you are ready to start work. From the time you start working in the morning until the time you flnish in the evening, you refuse to do anything that does not pay you $30 per hour. And the only type of work that pays you $30 per hour, or more, is prospecting, presenting, and following up.

This is an important point that many salespeople don’t seem to understand. You cannot drop off your laundry, pick up your groceries, get your car washed, or chat with your coworkers during the weekday and expect to earn $60,000 per year. Those time-consuming, time-wasting activities do not pay $30 per hour. This is a universal law. You only get out what you put in.

Because of this Law of Sowing and Reaping, if you do $30-per-hour work, eight hours per day, 250 days per year, there is noth- ing that will stop you from earning $60,000 over the next twelve months. If you do $60-per-hour work, you will earn $120,000 over the next twelve months. You determine your own income by the way you use every hour of each day. And the very best use of time is to invest it in prospecting, presenting, and following up.

Determine What You Will Have to Do

Once you have broken your income and sales goals down into monthly, weekly, daily, and hourly amounts, you then deflne these goals in terms of the activities necessary to achieve them. The critical element in this calculation is the factor of control.

You cannot control your income or your sales on a day-to- day basis. They depend on too many other factors. But you can control your activities. You can determine and control what you do from morning to night, and as a result, you can indirectly control your income. If you engage in the activities necessary to make the sales you want to make, you will inevitably achieve your sales goals.

It is important to emphasize that success in sales is a numbers game. It is a matter of probabilities. The more clearly you plan out your sales strategies and tactics on paper, the more likely it becomes that you will do the things necessary to achieve the amount of money that you want. The sales will take care of themselves.

Plan Out Your Sales Work in Detail

Start by determining the average size of a sale and the average commission that you earn per sale. Divide these amounts into your desired sales and income goals. For example, if you earn $500 per sale and your annual income goal is $60,000, you will have to make 120 sales per year, or an average of ten sales per month. You then determine how many sales presentations you will have to make, based on your current experience and skill level, to achieve that number of sales. From there, you work backward to determine how many calls you will have to make to flnd that number of qualifled prospects. You then determine how many prospecting calls you will have to make each day in order to get a certain number of presentations and follow-ups, which will lead to the number of sales you desire and the achievement of your income goal.

If you determine that you have to make twenty phone calls in order to get five appointments, and you need flve appointments in order to get one sale, you now have a speciflc target to aim at. You have a speciflc activity goal that you can work on each day. Every morning, you begin work and focus on making a speciflc number of calls. You discipline yourself to do the things you need to do, to achieve the goals that you have set for your-self.

Get Better at What You Do

Once you have determined your sales goals and worked out an activity schedule for each day, you immediately go to work on yourself to upgrade your skills in your key result areas.

One of the best uses of your time is to get better at the most important things you do. Your goal is to upgrade your skills so that you achieve more and better results in a shorter period of time.

For example, if the number of appointments you make is determined by how effective you are on the telephone, you should decide, right now, to become an expert at telephone prospecting. If your success is determined by how effectively you present your product, then practice and become an expert at presentation skills. If your success is determined by how well you handle objections, or close the sale, then you should make yourself an expert in each of these areas.

Improve Your Ratios

When you begin, you may make only one sale for every twenty people you speak with. As you improve your sales skills, your ratio will get better and better. Soon, you will be making one sale for every flfteen people that you speak with, and then one sale for every ten people, and so on.

Some professional salespeople, by continually practicing and upgrading their skills, have reduced their call-to-sale ratio to as low as flve to one, and even three to one. Just think what a difference it would make in your income if you could sell to every third person you talked to!

Analyze Your Current Skill Level

There are seven key result areas in selling. On a scale from one to ten, you must be at a seven or better in each of these areas if you want to realize your full potential as a sales professional.

1. Prospecting: getting appointments with people who can and will buy in a reasonable period of time

2. Establishing trust and rapport: asking questions, listening, and establishing a bond of trust and friendliness that is essential to making any sale

3. Identifying needs: asking questions to determine exactly what it is that the customer wants and needs from you, and how you can serve him best

4. Presenting solutions: showing the prospect that your product or service is the ideal choice for him, all things considered, at this time

5. Answering objections: resolving any questions or con- cerns that the customer may have about your product or service

6. Closing the sale: asking the prospect to take action on your offer

7. Getting resales and referrals: creating ‘‘customers for life’’ who will buy from you again and recommend you to their friends and colleagues

Give yourself a grade on a scale from one to ten, with one being the lowest score and ten being the highest, in each of these seven key result areas.

Start with Your Weakest Key Skill

Here is a discovery: Your weakest key result area sets the height of your sales and your earnings. You may be excellent at six out of the seven of these key result areas, but your weakness in the seventh area will determine how much you sell and earn overall. The good news is that all sales skills are learnable. You can learn any skill you need to achieve any goal you have set for yourself. The most rapid improvement in your sales results will come from your identifying your weakest skill and working exclusively in that area until you have mastered it.

Ask yourself this question: ‘‘What one skill, if I developed and executed it in an excellent fashion, would have the greatest impact on my sales and my income?’’

Whatever your answer is to that question, write down the development of that skill as a goal, make a plan, organize your plan by priority, and work on getting better in that area every single day. Read every morning on the subject. Listen to audio programs in your car. Attend seminars and workshops to learn how to master that key skill. This decision can have a greater (and faster) affect on your income than anything else you could do.

Plan Your Work in Advance

Once you have clearly determined your sales, income, and activ- ity goals, you can then plan your year, your month, your week, and, especially, every day in advance. Plan your upcoming week on the weekend before. Plan your upcoming day the evening before. Always work from a written plan of action.

Many top salespeople will take one or two hours, on either a Saturday or a Sunday, to plan the coming week. Some of them will plan the upcoming week on the previous Friday. The very act of planning gives you a tremendous sense of control over your work. It gives you a feeling of personal power. Prior planning increases your self-confldence and raises your self-esteem. And every minute in planning saves you ten minutes in execu- tion, so you’ll get much more done than someone who does not plan at all.

The Acid Test of Prospecting

A good measure of how well you are doing in prospecting is to determine how far in advance you are booked for sales appointments and presentations. A good salesperson usually has his appointments for the following week all planned out by Friday of the previous week. If you ask where he is going to be the next week, he can tell you within one hour where he will be each day, from Monday to Friday.

Poor salespeople have no idea where they will be in the coming week. They have few appointments and no plans. Every day is a new adventure for them. They don’t know how it is going to turn out. As a result, they work less than ninety minutes a day and spend most of their time around the offlce, or having lunch or coffee with their coworkers.
From now on, resolve to plan every day the day before, preferably at the end of the day, or in the evening. Make out a list of everything that you have to do the following day, and organize the list by time and priority before you turn out the lights.

Set a goal to structure your day with appointments thirty to sixty minutes apart. The Law of Forced Efflciency says that if you put tight time constraints on yourself for each appointment, you will cover everything of importance in the sales call within the time allotted.

Plan Your Calls Geographically

One of the most important time management techniques for salespeople is to group calls in a speciflc geographic area. This allows you to reduce travel time and to increase the number of calls that you can make during the day. Keep reminding yourself that you have nothing to sell but your time, face-to-face with prospects and customers, and how you use your time determines your income.

Don’t make the mistake of making your flrst appointment in the north end of town and your second appointment at the south end, and then spending half your day driving in between. Many poor salespeople organize their time this way. They are somehow able to convince themselves that they are actually working when they are traveling great distances between appointments.

Close the Sale

One of the best time management techniques is to close the sale after the presentation so that you do not have to return to the prospect over and over. Give the prospect an opportunity to buy at the end of every sales conversation. Ask for the order, one way or another. Fully 50 percent of all sales calls end without the salesperson asking for the order once.

One of the very worst uses of time is for you to go through the laborious process of prospecting, getting appointments, making presentations, and answering objections, and then not closing the sale. For you to lose the sale because you cannot, or will not, ask a closing question wipes out all of the time you have invested up to now.
Study and become proflcient with a variety of closing techniques or decision-making questions. A closing technique can be deflned as a question that gets the prospect to commit to an action of some kind, or to comment one way or another on your product. For example, you can ask simple questions designed to elicit feedback from the prospect and that tell you how well you’re doing. Ask questions such as the following:

Does this make sense to you so far?
Do you have any questions, or concerns, that I haven’t covered?
Do you like what I am showing you so far? Is this the sort of thing you are looking for?

Invite the Prospect to Buy

If it appears that the prospect likes what you have shown him and is interested in what you are selling, you can use the invita- tional close and ask, ‘‘Well, if you like it, why don’t you give it a try?’’ You can use the directive close, saying, ‘‘Well, then, if you have no further questions, the next step is. ’’ You go on and explain the plan of action, and wrap up the sale.

It is amazing how much time you can save in your sales career if you just muster up the courage to invite people to make a decision on your offering. In follow-up interviews with prospects, many of them have said that they would have bought if the salesperson had just asked them or invited them to buy.

It is sad that so many sales are lost every single day because the salesperson did not ask for the order. Developing a habit of asking for the order in a polite, courteous, and carefully preplanned way is a tremendous technique for improving your efficiency and productivity.

Eliminating the Time Wasters in Selling

There are several time wasters in selling. Based on interviews with thousands of salespeople and sales managers, here are the ten major reasons why people waste their time and fail to realize their full potential for sales and income.

Procrastination is the thief of time. It is usually accompanied by delaying tactics, such as flnding all kinds of excuses for not getting out and getting going. Usually, procrastination is caused by a deep fear of rejection, or a fear of failure. This is often called call reluctance.

This kind of fear of rejection and disapproval, which leads to procrastination and delay, can only be overcome by confronting it everyday until it goes away. The most remarkable thing about your fears is that if you face them squarely, they diminish. But if you back away from them, or avoid the situation that you fear, your fears grow until they paralyze all productive action.

When I started selling, I was terrifled of cold-calling and prospecting. But then I learned something that changed my career. I learned that ‘‘rejection is not personal.’’ If people say that they are not interested in what you are selling, it is not aimed at you personally. It is merely an automatic response to a commercial offer in a competitive society. The person does not know you well enough to reject you personally. Once I learned that, I began calling on people, both door-to-door and offlce-to-offlce and by telephone. All my fears of rejection disappeared. Eventu- ally, I reached a point where the negative reaction to my sales activities had no affect on me at all. This must be your goal as well.

Incompletion of the Sale

Incomplete sales that require callbacks are a major time waster. These usually occur when the salesperson does not have every- thing he needs to make the sale. Sometimes because of poor preparation, salespeople do not have the proper price lists, the proper brochures, the correct inventory flgures, or the necessary information to conclude the sale. Sometimes the salesperson lacks the ability to answer objections or to ask for the order. Making a sales call on a qualifled prospect and then not being ready to conclude the sale is a tremendous waste of time. Often, when you call back on the prospect again, she has lost all in- terest.

Poor Preparation

Poor preparation is usually evident when there are obvious inac- curacies and deflciencies in the presentation. Proper preparation, prior to a sales call, requires that you learn as much about the prospect as possible before you meet with him. There is nothing quite so insulting to a prospect as when a salesperson tries to sell him something without knowing anything about him.


A salesperson usually demonstrates his ignorance with a lack of product knowledge. The salesperson has obviously not taken the time to study the sales literature to thoroughly understand the product or service that he is trying to sell. When the customer has questions about the product or service, the salesperson stumbles, bluffs, or tries to make up an answer. This not only undermines the credibility of the salesperson and the company, but it shakes the confldence of the salesperson as well.

Know What You Are Selling

Some years ago, my wife and I went out looking for an expensive home in San Diego. We contacted several realtors to view homes for sale. 

Having been a real estate agent and broker at one time, I know a lot about buying and selling real estate. As we would drive up to a house that was for sale for several hundred thou- sand dollars, I would ask the agent a series of questions about the house. I was always amazed to flnd out that very few of the realtors had even taken the time to read the Multiple Listing Service sheets to get the details on the house. Many of them had never been to the open houses on the homes they were showing for sale. They were attempting to sell a product where they would be earning several thousand dollars in commissions, and they often had no idea of the size of the house or any of its amenities. They had not earned the right to offer the product for sale because they had not taken the time to fully understand the product in the flrst place.

Unconfirmed Appointments

Unconflrmed appointments lead to the situation where the sales-person arrives for an appointment that was made by phone, and he flnds that the prospect is gone. The salesperson has now wasted the time he spent in prospecting, the time of preparation, and the time of travel. Why does this happen so often? The main reason is because of the fear of rejection. The salesperson is re- luctant to phone and conflrm the appointment for fear that the prospect will cancel it.
Here is a very simple method that has been effective for me and many other salespeople over the years. You call the offlce of the prospect before you leave. You ask the receptionist if the prospect is in. If the receptionist says ‘‘Yes,’’ then you say, ‘‘Thank you very much. Please tell him that this is Brian Tracy calling, and that I will be there for my appointment on schedule.’’ You then hang up the phone.

In this way you remind the prospect that you are coming, and you put the prospect under a sense of obligation to see you when you arrive. You stop wasting your time by going out to unconflrmed appointments.

Poor Planning of Calls Geographically

One of the biggest time wasters in selling is traveling all over your sales territory and spending most of your time in trafflc, rather than face-to-face with people who can (and will) buy within a reasonable period of time.

One simple way to cluster your calls geographically is to divide your territory into four parts. Discipline yourself to work in one quadrant of your territory each day or half day. If you call to make an appointment, tell the prospect that you will be visiting customers in his area at a speciflc time of the week. Would he be available to see you at that time?
It is interesting to note that the more structured and scheduled your time usage is as a salesperson, the more you are respected by your prospects and customers. The more that they feel that you have a tight schedule, the more they will adjust their schedule to accommodate meeting with you.

Needless Perfectionism

This occurs when you insist that everything be perfectly in order before you go out and sell. It is another form of indecisiveness, and it is closely tied up with call reluctance. It is caused by fear of rejection and a fear of failure.
Whenever you flnd yourself studying and overstudying your materials, insisting that everything be exactly right before you pick up the phone or before you make a call, you must have the honesty to realize that you are dealing with fear.
As Emerson wrote, ‘‘Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.’’ If you confront your fear, your fear will go away. The only real anecdote to fear and worry is purposeful action. If you get going and start moving forward, you will forget to be afraid.

Distraction or Mind Wandering

These are subtle time wasters, but they are far too common. They result in not paying attention in a sales presentation. You do not hear the prospect fully, or you do not read between the lines to understand what the prospect is really saying. Many salespeople are guilty of mind wandering. They simply do not pay sufflcient attention because they are preoccupied with their own thoughts. Unfortunately, the prospect picks up on this very quickly and soon loses all interest in doing business with you.

The way that you overcome the tendency to mind wander is to discipline yourself to face the prospect directly, lean forward, and watch him intently while he speaks. Imagine that your eyes are sunlamps and you want to give his face a tan. This approach will keep you focused more intensely on the prospect, and snap you out of the tendency toward distraction.

Fatigue and Overwork

These are real killers in every area of work, and especially in selling. It is estimated that more than 50 percent of salespeople today are working in a state of fog. They are going to bed too late and not getting enough sleep. As a result, they go through the day tired, lacking the ability to fully concentrate on their work.

My rule is this: If you are going to sell flve days of the week, you must go to bed early flve days per week. Selling is a draining and demanding profession. It requires a tremendous amount of physical and emotional energy for someone to be effective at sales. You cannot afford to stay up late at night watching televi- sion, or socializing, if you’re going to be sharp and alert the next day.

You can break the tendency to sleep too little and work too hard by disciplining yourself to go to bed by ten o’clock each night. Turn off the television, and resolve to get lots of rest. This practice will translate into more and better sales, higher income, and generate the money you need to take all the vacations you want.

Lack of Ambition or Desire

There are many people who are just going through the motions at work. This is usually the result of having too few goals or no goals at all. Sometimes, people lack ambition or desire because they are selling the wrong product. They are trying to sell some- thing that they don’t like or believe in. Sometimes, lack of ambi- tion or desire to succeed in sales is caused by not believing in your boss, or not believing in the company, or not getting along well with your coworkers.

Whatever the reason, if you are not positive and enthusiastic about your product or service, this could be an indication that you should be doing something else. If you don’t like the people you are selling to, you are probably in the wrong business. You cannot (for very long) force yourself to sell something that is wrong for you. It will simply make you tired and depressed, and you will never be successful at it.

Use Your Time Well

Here are some valuable ideas you can use to help increase your sales effectiveness by using your time to its best advantage.

Get to Bed Early

Early to bed, early to rise is the key to sales success. Get up and get going by 6:00 A.M. Get lots of sleep. Sometimes, the very best use of your time is to go to bed early and get a solid nine, ten, or even twelve hours of sleep so that you can bright-eyed and cheerful the next morning. It is difflcult to be full of energy, excite- ment, and enthusiasm about your product or service when you’re tired from not getting enough sleep.

Start Your Day Right

Read thirty to sixty minutes of material related to sales, or moti- vation, to start your day. This is one of the most important habits you will ever develop. Many salespeople have told me that this technique of getting up each morning and reading for thirty to sixty minutes has changed the whole direction of their careers.

If you spent thirty to sixty minutes reading a book on sales each morning, over the course of a week you will probably read one whole book. If you read one book per week for the next year, and you don’t even read on the weekends or holidays, you will read flfty books on sales over the next twelve months. If you keep this up over the next ten years, you will have read 500 books. The average salesperson never reads a book on sales in her life. Knowing that, do you think that if you read 500 books over the next ten years it would affect your income?

The fact is that you could probably become one of the best-informed, best-skilled, and highest-paid salespeople in America simply by reading thirty to sixty minutes on sales each morning. Each day, you can go out and apply something that you learned that morning. You never stop learning and growing.

Start Work Early

Schedule your flrst appointment early. Get up, get out, and get going. Try to set your flrst appointment for 8:00 A.M. or even 7:30 A.M. Often, prospects who do not have time to see you in the daytime can meet with you at odd hours. Sometimes they work early or late or both. If you offer to meet them for breakfast, or to meet them in their offlce at 7:30 A.M., they can often fit you in.

Focus on Prospecting

A tremendous way to increase your time and effectiveness is to spend 80 percent of your time prospecting, until you become so busy closing sales and servicing customers that you do not have time to prospect anymore.
Remember, sales success is in direct proportion to your abil- ity to initiate new contacts. Sales success comes from being eager to call on customers.

When I was a sales representative leasing new offlce space, I would take the elevator to the top floor of an offlce building and then call on every offlce in the building as I worked my way down. Over the course of a month, I could make several hundred calls.

If you flnd yourself with time on your hands, sit down and make twenty or thirty phone calls. You will be amazed at the results you get, and how much better you will feel as a result.

Work All the Time You Work

Spend your entire day working. Make every minute count. Work all the time you work. Remember, the average salesperson is only working 20 percent of the time. If you work 80 percent of the time, it could catapult you into the upper ranks of sales success. If, instead of working ninety minutes you worked six hours, you would quadruple your income.

Don’t waste time. Don’t sit around drinking coffee or reading the newspaper. If you must take coffee breaks, do it with prospects, or while you are on the move. The average salesperson who takes two twenty-minute coffee breaks per day spends forty minutes a day unproductively. Forty minutes per day, multiplied by flve days per week, equals 200 minutes per week. Two hundred minutes per week, multiplied by fifty weeks per year, is equal to 10,000 minutes, or the equivalent to 166 hours of productive time that the average person spends sitting around drinking coffee and wasting.

One hundred and sixty-six hours is equal to four forty-hour weeks, which is the equivalent of one month’s income. If you want to give yourself a raise, the fastest way to do it is to work through your coffee breaks.

Use Your Lunch Breaks Wisely

Don’t waste lunchtime, either. Use your lunch hour to prepare for the afternoon appointments, or to exercise, or to do some- thing that improves your productivity and performance.

If you use your lunchtime wisely, and you take one hour perday for lunch, this will give you an additional flve hours per week, or 250 hours per year. Two hundred and flfty hours per year is more than six forty-hour weeks, or more than one and one-half months of additional income. Just by using your coffee breaks and lunch breaks for productive activities, you will increase your sales and your income by 20 percent almost immedi- ately.

Listen and Learn 

Listen to educational audio programs in your car. Turn your driv- ing time into learning time. Turn your car into a university on wheels. From the time you get into the car until the time you get out, your audio player should be working. Remember, the average salesperson spends 500 to 1,000 hours per year behind the wheel of his car, and sometimes much more. If you use that time to educate yourself, you can become one of the most knowledgeable and highest-paid sales people in America, just by listening to audio programs.

Use a Time Planner

Use a time planner of some kind, and write down every appoint- ment and activity. Let your time planner be your control center for your sale activities. Use it as a tickler flle to remind you when to get back to your prospects. Purchase a time planner that lets you store contacts and plan a month in advance, as well as a year in advance.
Once you have a time planner, use it religiously. Write down everything. Plan every single activity in advance. Keep accurate notes of every telephone conversation and presentation. The power is always on the side of the person with the best notes.

Start and end each day by reviewing the information that you record in your time planner. Use it to run your sales business from one place. Make your time planner into your mobile offlce.

The Only Thing You Have to Sell

Remember, all that the salesperson has to sell is his time. And the only time you are working is when you are face-to-face with a prospect. Learn and practice these time management techniques over and over, until they become second nature. Good time management skills are the perfect vehicle to get you from where you are to where you want to be. More than anything else, they will ensure your success in sales.

‘‘New knowledge is of little value if it doesn’t change us, make us better individuals, and help us to be more productive, happy, and useful.’’ HYRUM SMITH

Action Exercises

1. Take charge of your sales career today; resolve to double the amount of time you spend face-to-face with prospects and customers.

2. Set clear sales and income goals for yourself, broken down by year, month, week, day, and hour.

3. Only do work that pays you the amount you want and need to earn every hour; delegate, defer, and eliminate everything else.

4. Plan the activities of prospecting, presenting, and follow- ing up that you will need to engage in to achieve your sales and income goals; discipline yourself to work on them all day, every day.

5. Prepare thoroughly for every sales call; do your homework on the prospect and have everything you need to make a successful sale.

6. Reduce traveling time by organizing your sales territory in advance; don’t waste time driving all over the city to see people.

7. Work all the time you work; don’t waste time in coffee breaks and lunches. Spend the time working instead.

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