“If I could just have one hour a day without any disturbances. Do you know how much I could get done!” Heard that one before? At times we can’t any work done if it were not for all the distractions. Mail, email, faxes, meetings, phone calls (hard line and cell), co-workers wanting to gossip, bosses wanting want to gossip, on and on. Of course all these “distractions” are part of work. However, they can very often get in the way of your job – selling and marketing.
Of course, you already know the solution to distractions – effective time management. That phrase is so 90’s. But it still applies. How to balance our basic job of selling without being overwhelmed with all those non-selling activities. Ok so the 21st version of time management is “staying focused” on the most important activities first and dealing with non-sales activities as time permits. Here are a few suggestions.
Easy – keep the wastebasket nearby. Do a quick sort through everything – junk mail goes in the “round file.” Then sort your mail by priority. Priority 1, Time-Sensitive materials such as order agreements & payments, client info requests, sales reports, bills, ad copy review, etc Priority 2 Non-Time-Sensitive material such as magazines, newsletters, etc. Priority 3 Everything else.
Time sensitive materials all need to be prioritized – all sales and prospect materials need a first priority. Deal with other items as time allows. Reading – don’t have to read the entire magazine. Skim reading can be just as effective as reading every word or even every article.
A great way to market to a very large audience for little expense. A great way to sell as well. This can be as simple as including a link for more info on your web page or an actual on-line reservation form. These leads should be treated just the same importance as phone calls. And keep your responses brief. Junk email can be just as time wasting as junk snail mail. To avoid missing a prospect, don’t forget to leave an Out Of Office email message or have your email forwarded.
Do you have a regular daily schedule? When you get to work what do you do first, what’s second, third and so on? Every day before you leave, “map out” your day so when you get to the office you already know your ideal schedule. Of course, with client and other calls, unscheduled meetings, and a days worth of unplanned distraction, keep daily schedules realistic. That day planner can be your best buddy.
Meetings are a great way to have productive interactions with your staff or can be a big waste of time. Develop an agenda and stick to it. Everyone should be prepared for the meeting with reports, hand-out materials, etc in advance. During the meeting, keep the discussion to the point. Items not on the agenda should be discussed as time allows or at another meeting. If you have the option, don’t go to meetings that don’t help you do your job.
The most basic form of sales is typically over the phone. Whether that prospect is an in-bound or out-bound call, be brief. Use an intake form to be certain you gather all the information needed for a reservation. To save time having to call back the client to ask more questions, review the info before you hang-up. If a caller ends up in voice mail, be sure to get right back and change the message to reflect your changing schedule.
There are so many elements to a successful sales program, it is often difficult to decide what is more important – sales; marketing; reports; staff meetings; continuing education; client service, etc. In the end the sales rep is accountable for the bottom line – annual sales. When you have a long To Do list, keep the ultimate goal of your job in mind – sales. Evaluate any distraction in terms of how they contribute or don’t contribute to your bottom line. Good Luck.