More Sales, Less Time

This More Sales Less Time reminds me of the times when I learn about selling the hard way, working during my semester break at a computer store. Made a lot of sales, for a small remuneration. 

The pay was small, but the skills I learned would be timeless. 

Salespeople face intense, unremitting, psychological pressure. Especially if your pay structure is 100% commission based. Meaning if they don’t sell, they don’t eat. 

So, here’s is my reading notes on “More Sales, Less Time” by Jill Konrath. 

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Main Reading Points:

  • Almost everyone wastes a minimum of 1-2 hours every day 
  • Salespeople should work in time blocks by using strategies like the Pomodoro method.
  • Use the colour-coded calendar to plan our workdays in details
  • Most professionals who carry smartphones as salespeople do work 72 hours a week. 
  • Salespeople generally used only 22% of their time to the sales activities that matter most, such as meeting with prospects. 
  • Despite all the hours they work, nearly half of all salespeople fail to meet their quotas. Which typically lead to frustration and giving up.
  • Internet distractions interfere with productivity. 
  • Salespeople should start and finish their workdays strong. Being positive increases your success rates.
    The more activities salespeople approach systematically, the more time they save.
  • “Unless we live by design, we live by default.”  

Too Little Time

Time is our most valuable asset and also most limited. 

As the salespeople who can’t leverage their time wisely won’t be able to meet their sales objectives or earn the commission that they need or targeted. 

According to the business consultancy CSO Insights, 45.4% of salespeople routinely miss their quotas.

This isn’t due to laziness or lack of effort as most up line would believe. Research by the Center for Creative Leadership found that salespeople and other “smartphone-carrying professionals” work a whopping 72 hours a week. And I usually work for 76 hours a week. 

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The problem is that everyone’s productivity nose-dives after 55 hours (a point of diminishing rate of return). So, at least 17 of the hours the average salesperson works are relatively non-productive. When every single minute counts, this is a waste of time.

“To be successful in sales today, you can’t just be productive. You need to be smart too: a good thinker, savvy and insightful.”

Maximum productivity is shockingly ephemeral. Behavioural economist and another one of my favourite author, Dan Ariely claims people are optimally productive for only two and a half hours each day. Someone who wakes up at 7 a.m. will achieve peak productivity from 8 a.m. until about 10:30 a.m. 

p.s. ephemeral means lasting for a very short time.

“External attempts to make us more productive – like spiffs, leader-boards, games, blitzes, and bonuses – at best yield short-term spikes in performance.”

Like everyone else, sales professionals need to factor this and similar research-based findings of productivity into how they plan and schedule their workdays. In addition to using their limited time productively, salespeople must be strategic, creative and agile. They need the most up-to-date knowledge about their industries. Constant distractions can make it nearly impossible for salespeople to think and operate intelligently and efficiently.

“Change is a process, and there are no miracle cures; there’s only continuous improvement.”

According to psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik, distractions and events that interrupt work create intense psychological pressure – a relentless internal nagging that doesn’t subside until the person completes his or her original task. Such interruptions undermine personal harmony and mental efficiency. To work smart, salespeople must avoid distractions.

More on sales skill from The Lost Art of Closing and Ninja Selling.

“I felt like time was taunting me: ‘Behind again? You’ll never get it all done.’ I worked harder and longer hours, sacrificing my limited personal time to stay ahead of the game. Still, it wasn’t sufficient. My work just kept expanding, demanding more of me. I could never seem to call it a day. In my entire career, I’d never faced a sales problem of this magnitude.” Sound familiar? If so, you’re probably an overwhelmed seller.

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Author: Muhamad Aarif

A notorious book addict by night and an oil and gas executive by day. As Mark Twain said, "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." So, read, read, and read some more.

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