Wednesday, November 6, 2013

15 Ways Sales People Waste Time

Being a sales rep for a modular home factory is tough work, so why make it any harder. There are enough things distracting you without having these 15 things wasting your time:

1. Are you filling your pipeline?
You must fill your pipeline with Prospects and not Suspects! Fill your pipeline and qualify each of them into good leads or dead ends. Work with the good prospects until you close the sale and move on to the next one, but you must continue to fill the pipeline!

2. Do you have “Never Ending” meetings?
Too often you schedule meetings for a specific time and pencil in about 15 minutes or 30 minutes or whatever and you end up spending (wasting) time going over and over things until 15 minutes becomes 60. Stop that. When you make an appointment, tell your prospect that you need 10 minutes of their time and stick to it. IF THEY want to keep you there longer…Hurray! Success!

3. Too Much Unfocused Work?
Many of us spend too much time working on things that aren’t really important. As a sales rep, you have to know your basic goals. To help you stay focused, post up your goals for the quarter or the year in your office and make sure that all the work that you do is in line with reaching and completing those specific goals.

4. Are small distractions delaying Important Projects?
Just like the little bee that flits from flower to flower, do you keep putting off important projects because a “little project” caught your eye? Force yourself to only work on big important projects in the morning. Mornings are the most productive time you have, why waste it pollinating the little flowers and letting the big flower die?

5. Are you too busy to be Productive?
You’ve got to decide what the most important part of your business is each day. Is it getting new builders signed up, making sales, pleasing you sales manager or cold calling?  Try to narrow your specific  “goal driven activity” for the day down to ONE and make sure you are doing what it takes during the specified hours to reach the intended goal. Put all other non-productive activities aside and do them during the “non-productive” hours of the day.

6. Are you constantly checking your email?
Limit the number of times that you check e-mail during the day. Act on as many of the messages as you can right away and try not to leave any to be dealt with “later,” because later is always later and the message may never get dealt with. From experience, set aside the times you will check your email and how long you want to devote to answering them. Here’s a neat trick. If you read an email that you really want to get back to later, select “Mark as New” so you will give it the attention it needs later.

8. Do you have a Daily Plan?
Create a user friendly TO DO list. Take 5 minutes at the END of the day and create the NEXT DAY'S TO DO list. List all of the things you are already committed to for the day with times, places etc, at the top of the page. Underneath, cluster things into categories: e-mails, phone calls, writing projects, appointments, etc. Only put on the list those things you truly expect to accomplish that day, and have phone numbers, addresses, next to the items. Print that out and have in front of you when you sit down at your desk in the morning. Do things in clusters. In the morning before doing ANY task, read what your top 4-6 tasks are. It’s got to be a “NO KIDDING” list.  Even having to return 1 phone call counts as 1 task. 

9. Are Some Builders Wasting Your Time?
Get rid of them!  Some builders simply cannot be satisfied. Identify which builders are your most problematic and look at the effort/profit ratio. Often times the loudest complainers are your smallest customers. Consider not working with them not as a sacrifice of a small amount of revenue, but rather freeing up big chunks of time. Let competing sales reps have them, it will drive them crazy!

10. Do You Let People waste your time?
As I’ve mentioned before, some people love to talk on the phone and don’t seem to care that your time is money. Use this line when the conversation is getting too long and you have to get things done. “I actually have to be back to work in 2-3 minutes, can I call you later?” This sets a definite “time limit” in the mind of the other person that you have to make an exit soon.

11. Are you constantly playing phone tag?
Let your builders know that they can best reach you at certain hours and let all other calls go to voicemail outside of those hours. It will only take a short time before your builders know that this really works for you and them.

12. Are you wasting time on the Internet?
Ditch the Internet altogether on your primary business PC or if that is impractical, limit your “Internet browsing” to a certain time each day on your business computer. If you Facebook twelve times a day, then you already know that you can lose hours before you realize it.

13. Are you constantly Bitching?
Negativity is the number one productivity killer. If you constantly bitch about what didn’t get done, what should have happened and what someone did wrong, you’re heading for problems. Get over it! You’ll live longer.

14. Do you take too much time to make a decision?
If you do, it means you haven’t set clear criteria or are missing critical information.  Just ask yourself one question – “If I do this, will it move me closer to my business goals, vision or mission?”  Then make your decision and move on.

15. Do you have an friend that really understands you?
You really should! You need to check with each other 3 times a week to be sure you stay on track and don’t waste time. Sometimes just a short email is all it takes. Remember, no sales rep is an island!


Krankyankee said... a factory rep with a previous company,, I have sat in meeting where they sent out for lunch and was beginning to look like it would be dinner next....and this was every month... think that may qualify

Coach said...

Yes, that qualifies.

Those meetings usually involve a Sales Manager that wants to know in detail how many orders you have to turn in today, how many orders are coming in this week (who the heck can answer that one with a straight face), how many quotes you got and how many new builders you brought on?

A great #16