Time is on Your Side (yes it is)

Starting a blog post with a Rolling Stones song may become a thing, you’ve been warned.

Realistically though I’m going to get right to it because this is all about time. I hear salespeople tell me all the time that they don’t have enough time to prospect because of all of their follow-ups they have to do. I hear other salespeople tell me that they don’t have enough time to do follow-ups because they have to keep on prospecting to fill the top of the funnel.

Which one of those is right? Who is prioritizing their time correctly?

Obviously neither of those is going to lead to long term success. In the age of social selling, and an ever connected salesperson, distractions are everywhere waiting to prey on those of us with ADHD or doing things that we don’t really want to do. I hate prospecting, it’s by far my least favorite part of my job, so it is easier to distract myself when I’m doing that as opposed to when I’m making calls and talking to clients.

Now we can’t just offload all of the things we don’t want to do or skip them entirely. Not if we want a paycheck. Here are some things that you can do to help solve this problem:

1. Block your calendar out every day. Every minute of it – I now sit down and fill my calendar every day from the time I get to work until the time I plan to leave. I put blocks of time when I am going to do follow-ups, blocks for prospecting, blocks for meetings obviously, and even blocks for lunch. When I find myself without a focus, I look at the calendar and am instantly able to see that I “only” have 30 minutes left of prospecting before I get to do follow ups. I don’t stick to these things with a rigid adherence, but I use it as a guide for my day.

2. Do things that are small wins that only take a small amount of time. Incremental small upgrades add up quickly, like compounding interest. There are tons of places you can spent 15-25 minutes to make a difference. Take 15 minutes to read a new blog post or discussion group. The folks at Salesforce Canada put together a collection of sub-20 minute things you can don on LinkedIn to move your prospects forward:

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How to Increase Productivity

Via Salesforce

3. Hold yourself accountable. The key to making this all work – as with anything in business – is that you hold yourself accountable. At the end of the day, no one is going to make you successful if you aren’t going to put in the work and make it happen. Answer to yourself honestly at the end of each day. Review your effectiveness. Use tools like RescueTime to track how much screwing off you do throughout the day and work on minimizing it. Don’t need to make these public flags, but you will know.

Time is your only resource that you can’t get more of. Your sales life is dependent on how well you use that resource. Focus, make incremental gains, and hold yourself accountable. Then go out and be more awesome.