Any salesperson will know that there are never enough hours in a day to check everything off their to do list. As a professional, you’re likely being pulled in a million different directions everyday, while flitting between meetings, writing emails and catching up on admin. So here are 5 simple tips that might help you to work a little bit smarter.
1) Have a routine
This is far easier said than done, I for one can vouch for that, particularly when tasks crop up when you least expect (or need) them to. But having some sort of structure and routine to your day can help you to better manage your day and stay productive throughout. Even if it means religiously catching up on emails between 9 and 10am, prospecting between 10am and midday and calling on existing customers between 2 and 4pm. Having some sort of defined structure to your day will not only make it fly by but will also ensure you get those pesky jobs ticked off your list every day.
Having said that, any job demands a little flexibility, so as long as you’re getting all you need to done, you can afford to have a bit of flexibility in your day for those unexpected tasks or meetings.
2) Do the boring stuff
We all have those jobs that we put off for as long as is humanly possible before we even think about attempting to get them done. It takes some serious mental preparation, but we’ve got to do them. There’s no way around them, from prepping your next month end report to logging your mileage – they’re not the most enjoyable of tasks.
But if you can, make them enjoyable. Reward yourself at key milestones, pop your headphones in and bop your way to getting them off your to do list. Just don’t let your colleagues see your embarrassing rendition of Gangnam Style in the office.
Pencil in a time each week or month in your diary to get these tasks done and stick to it. It will soon become second nature and every other Friday morning will become your habitual ‘clear out the boring stuff’ time.
3) Take a break
Simply taking a break every couple of hours and getting away from the task at hand can help no end in your focus and time management. Tearing your eyes away from your screen for just 10 minutes can help you to focus, clear your mind and concentrate on your next step. Particularly if you’re doing menial tasks like cold calling or sending emails, it can often help to get some air and a cup of coffee. Bashing out 100 cold calls can be soul destroying, particularly if you keep getting “call me back later”, “they can’t come to the phone right now” or a flat out “no”.
Step away from the job at hand for five or ten minutes and get back to your desk feeling refreshed and ready for the next call, you never know, it might be your best one yet.
4) Be concise
This rings particularly true for those of you pitching your prospects over the phone or even in emails – it doesn’t pay to waffle on for 5 minutes trying to sell your product. Imagine if you were at the receiving end of that call: you’d get less interested as time went on and it gets tedious for you reeling off the same script day in day out.
So take the time to ask questions of your prospect and let them do the talking. Not only will it make your call more engaging, but it will also elicit some key information from your prospect. You’ll undoubtedly enjoy the call more, as will your prospect and you’ll begin to build a rapport.
5) Use technology
Technology has been a real game changer for those of us that like to save time where we can in our working lives. Why waste time on a task that a piece of software can do for you? It can be one of the biggest stepping-stones towards making more time in your day to concentrate on the key parts of your job.
Analyzing reams and reams of sales data to spot your next sales opportunity, for example, can be a time-consuming, not to mention incredibly boring, job to do. Why bother when Business Intelligence software can remove the need for manual analysis and do all the heavy lifting for you, feeding you with sales opportunities and even doing your reporting for you, amongst other things?
And there’s software out there that can do all sorts of other jobs, from writing your sales proposals to sending scheduled follow up emails and even checking stock levels back at the warehouse – technology really can improve your productivity levels and leave you to concentrate on the main part of your job: selling.