If anyone has to be efficient, it’s probably sales reps. After all, they spend a lot of time traveling, communicating, and meeting with prospective clients and customers. Because of this, they don’t have a whole lot of time to spare.
Since time is such a valuable commodity for salespeople, it’s understandable why they need to be extremely productive. But, how can they be as productive as they are expected to be?
They Can Start by Trying Out These Eight Productivity Hacks Top Sales People Use:
1. Set the why, not goals.
We’ve been told time and time that having goals will boost productivity. Here’s the main problem with goals; they often lack intrinsic motivation.
When you set a goal, you have to have a strong inner why behind it.
Why do you wake-up in the morning? Why do you want more sales? Why do you want to make more money? Why do you want to be your organization’s leading salesperson?
When you don’t know your why, then you’re going to have a difficult time crushing it and staying motivated. Knowing why keeps you pushing forward when times get tough.
If you want to learn more, I strongly recommend you watch Simon Sinek’s TED Talk.
2. Batch admin work.
“Don’t get in the habit of making a call, leaving a voicemail, then disrupting your phone time to record the conversation in CRM, send a follow-up email, etc.,” suggests Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing. “Batch work items together to get and keep yourself in a groove.”
“For example, make 10 calls all at once. Keep notes on a pad of paper for any unique follow-ups. Then do all of your CRM and follow-up work at once. This batching of activities is proven to be faster and more efficient than doing everything in a linear sequence over and over and over again.”
3. Take control of your environment.
Stay away from negative people who drain your energy. Get enough positive people in your life. Create an inspiring and stress-free work environment.
Those are all simple tasks that you can start doing immediately.
For example, uninstall social media apps that are distracting you. Put your phone on airplane mode, set clear “business hours,” and say “no” when you’re swamped.
Instead if having lunch with Debbie Downer, schedule a date and time with Positive Patty. Make sure that you have a clean, organized office with the must-have essentials. When it’s time to sleep, set your room so it’s cool and dark so that you can get 6-8 hours.
4. Focus on results-oriented activities (the 80/20 principle).
The Pareto principle is the idea that 80 percent of your results are going to come from 20 percent of your efforts. In other words, it’s used to where you’re most effective so that you only concentrate on those areas.
For salespeople, Avidian Technologies states that you can do this by:
“Mentally go through your daily responsibilities. Which ones have the highest conversion rate? Which ones have proven to lead to long-term investments from clients? Which ones make up the bulk of your income?”
After that, narrow your list down to the top three-five tasks. That is your 20 percent that brings in 80 percent of your business. Brainstorm ways to focus more time and attention on these activities.
“Are referrals making up 40 percent of your total sales? It’s time to think of ways to meet with clients and drum up more referrals. Do you do your best work on the golf course? Make a plan to do it each week, and watch your sales numbers soar.”
You may be saying that sound all well and good, but there’s still tasks that have to be completed that lead to few opportunities. I’m talking about making phone calls and sending emails. These tasks can be delegated, outsourced, or automated.
For instance, an app like our own app Calendar eliminates the back-and-forth emails when scheduling a meeting. It does this by letting the app know when you’re available. You then share that via email or an embedded link on your website. Leads then pick a time that works best for them.
5. Schedule regular “distraction time.”
“Long days at the office can be tough, and if you don’t give yourself time to relax or unwind, you’re going to burn out,” writes James Meincke, Marketing Manager at CLoserIQ. “Try adding specific “distraction time” to your schedule.”
“This could be anything from checking your phone, hitting up social media, going for a walk, calling a friend, etc. Every few hours you should have at least a few minutes to let your mind take a break. By scheduling these “distractions,” it will help you keep them out of your work time.”
“Salespeople are almost always taught to connect with their prospects on Linkedin,” writes Max Altschuler of Tout. “What they aren’t taught are how to configure their privacy settings. Therefore, if you are connected to someone and they haven’t fixed their settings, you can see when they have a new connection.”
The first step is to “go out and connect with reps at your competitor’s companies. Most of them probably haven’t played around with their settings and won’t think anything of it when you asked to connect. Once you’re connected, just wait to see who they connect with.”
You’ll be notified via news feed whenever they connect with a prospect. Then just send a very well timed email. Altschuler warns, “Just don’t mention how you knew to send them an email at the perfect time.”
7. Role playing.
Whether you’re cold calling/emailing or making your pitch in-person, practice makes perfect. The best way to practice is to role play with a friend, family member, or colleague.
“Role-playing is an underused strategy when it comes to improving your chances of success in sales,” states Melinda Chen. “Every single entrepreneur should have someone to practice their sales pitch with.
Practicing your call with someone will help you feel more and more comfortable with your script. It is also a great opportunity to get valuable feedback.”
“If possible, work with a sales trainer to refine your sales script. Or, simply ask your friends or family to listen to role play with you.”
8. Compartmentalize your calendar.
Salespeople live and die by their schedule. That’s why they take the time plan their week in advance. For example, Anthony Iannarino, author of The Sales Blog, says “I capture everything I need to do for the coming week on Saturdays, and I plan my upcoming week on Sundays.”
The next time you’re creating your schedule, compartmentalize your calendar by each day, week, month, quarter, or year. Don’t forget to block out sections of time for: lead generation, prospective and buyer follow-up, meetings. Include a little personal training and development, emails/phone calls, and client presentations. Most importantly, block out personal time as well.
By scheduling time for specific activities on your calendar, everyone is well aware of what and when is going on. Sounds simple. But it’s an effective way to stay on-top of things.
Nina Gass is a content writer with a diverse background who understands the struggles of small business owners, freelancers, and company founders. Her content delivers insightful and actionable advice to improve time management, productivity, and sanity despite wearing numerous hats and juggling multiple responsibilities in work and life.