For salespeople, the cliche that there’s not enough time in a day can’t be truer. The work isn’t linear and there are a lot of things that pop up—each demanding immediate attention throughout the day.
Even the most disciplined person can be bogged down by the intensity and abundance of work that comes in as a salesperson—but the sales force has to deliver! So everyone—especially quota-carrying salespeople—are out to get as much as possible out of a day.
So, here we are. Another list of productivity hacks...but this time tailored to those who work in sales.
Ready to reclaim your time? Let’s go.
Here are productivity tips for sales professionals.
Make a to-do list the night before. Keep it short.
What’s your source of motivation? Be it money, family, responsibilities or your goals, motivation can be tough to keep and sometimes even hard to find. We’ve all had moments where we just can’t be bothered to work—but we have to anyway. Feeling lazy, disorganized but still wanting to get everything done is an awful feeling!
What do you do when this strikes? I’m sure you get up early in the morning and create a long to-do list for that day. Follow up with this prospect. Brush up on the new product update. Clean out your CRM. But the truth—and you know it—is that a long to-do list can actually be more harmful than helpful! It can stop you on your tracks and actually act as a demotivator instead than the opposite.
Here’s what you should be doing instead:
Write down the “big stuff” or most important tasks on a short to-do list the night before. Limit your list to five items. That’s it.
You have more than five things you have to get done? Panicking?
Ask yourself: When was the last time you actually ticked off all things on your list. I thought so.
Writing tasks before you sleep is also a time to asses what you did for the last 24 hours.
Now, all we want to accomplish here is for you to get in the habit of prioritizing your tasks and GETTING THINGS DONE.
Try it. You’ll wake up with purpose and sleep more peacefully.
Anything left out is easy to add at the end of the initial list. Have you ever caught yourself saying, “I had so many things done now I have to be more productive.”? There you go.
I actually learned this from Neville Medhora, copywriter and online entrepreneur. Watch this video of him explaining this to-do list hack.
Organize your workspaces. Keep peace in the battlefield and the war in your head.
Do clutter and chaos keep you on your toes? I doubt. It’s true: Where you work affects the way you work. A distracting environment takes your focus and keeps your energy scattered throughout the day.
For most sales reps, the desk is the only haven. It’s where your tools are—phone, computer, photo of your family, little trinkets and snacks in your drawer. You spend most of your time in front of the screen and most—if not all—of your tasks are accomplished in your workstation. If you want to be productive, you must ensure that your desk is inline with that goal.
Here are some quick tips you can do today to lessen clutter and have an overall clean, organized station:
⇒ The desktop is for the essentials:
✔ Files for today
✔ What you need today
⇒ Charge your phone at home so you don’t deal with a lot of cords during the day
⇒ Use your drawers
✔ Keep supplies you don’t need everyday inside the drawer
✔ Ensure that your drawers are within your reach and are easily opened even from your seat
✔ Keep a waste basket within reach. You don’t want to fill your desk with trash of the literal kind.
✔ Keep trinkets on the wall of your workspace. Photos and calendars go to t he wall and should not take space on your desk.
⇒ Set aside 15 minutes each day to tidy up your desk and ensure that things are in their proper places
These may seem like small, insignificant things but an organized workspace will do wonders for your time and productivity.
Schedule meetings in clusters.
Who likes meetings? Meetings have gained such a bad reputation that the first thing that comes to mind when they’re mentioned isn’t the work that’s supposed to be easier because of it but the time that’s wasted sitting around waiting and being unproductive.
Successful meetings are few and far between, at least in the shared experience of today’s professionals. In 2013, $37 billion was wasted in the USA just on unnecessary meetings.
See, having productive, quick and snappy meetings will benefit us all. Right now, most you can do is fix meetings you have say for though and these are usually meetings with clients.
Meetings are costly and could be unsatisfying when it amounts to nothing. Client and company meetings can rack up so many hours: for a full-time worker, from 520 hours to 1,664 hours can be spent just on meetings.
A big change you can effect in your own workflow is scheduling client meetings in clusters—and this can only be done with conscious and early planning. Lay out your day’s schedule. Estimate the hours and the schedules that make sense for all your other tasks outside client meetings. Then, let’s get to work.
See, it’s true that there are best practices when it comes to the hours we ask for calls or in-person meetings with clients—but the truth is that when we have a definite time in mind, it’s easier to get them to agree. So, having a planned schedule where you cluster your meetings isn’t really counter-productive or preempting the customer. If in case a customer chooses a time outside the window you set for the meetings, it’s still a win. A bit of movement in your daily schedule, but you still keep the win of getting an appointment.
Free yourself from the throes of email.
Guilty of checking your email every five minutes? So many unread email and you don’t even know half of these people?
Of course, salespeople are more forgiving of random emails falling into the inbox—cold emails are a vital part of sales. However, there is a long list of things you can do to reduce emails. Not only the ones you have in your inbox now, but those that are incoming.
Golden rule: Check emails thrice a day.
[Adjust according to need.]
The idea is to set a set number of times you will check email in a day. I found that three is a good number but you might need to adjust according to your need. The thing is sticking to this number. Each email check is limited to 10-15 minutes.
Now, you’re thinking this is impossible! Before you freak out, here are the things you need to do to prepare for email freedom.
* Setup a day each month where you go over all your subscriptions and unsubscribe from half or more of them. Just do this. I know my email inbox and tabs are bursting at the seams. You probably open one or two emails for the lifetime of your subscriptions—so just get rid of half of them. Do this monthly and not only will you find that you get less emails but you also get more conscientious with which sites you subscribe to.
* Unsubscribe from social media notifications. Do you really need to be notified each time someone comments on a post on Facebook or when someone connects with you on LinkedIn? You actually visit those sites anyway and this is just redundancy you don’t need in your busy schedule.
* Filter out FWD: emails. These emails are usually office banter, political emails or chain mails. They’re sent out by some funny people in your email list but you can’t really be bothered by these emails during your day. Just go ahead and filter them out. Maybe check them during weekends. This is easy using Gmail. If you’re using different email clients, I’m sure a quick search will net you instructions.
* Write smarter emails. Yes, you know how sending one email results in a chain of emails where half of them really aren’t useful? The Asian Efficiency Blog calls this problem the Email Boomerang Effect.
✉ Think thrice before sending CC’d emails. It’s a series of replies waiting to happen. Should these persons really get this email?
✉ If it applies, send emails that don’t require replies. For setting meetings with colleagues, include a sentence that says: “No reply means we’re good.” or “If I don’t hear back from you by tomorrow, I’ll assume that’s fine.”
✉ Use FYI (For your information) and NRN (No response needed) in your subject lines. If you’re just circulating a memo or some information that needs no discussion, use these liberally.
✉ Don’t send emails. If you can pick up the phone, do that.
There’s a plugin, an app, an extension for everything. Technology is on overdrive and creative minds are continuously looking for ways to make our lives easier. For salespeople, the tech star is the CRM. For all the tips that are listed here, though, there’s a piece of technology that can help you out.
If you’re thinking twice about using apps to help you reclaim your time and become productive, you’re not alone. Of course, people are skeptical. For a lot of people, procrastination and the lack of discipline are manifested through extended use of tech: smartphones, social media, gaming consoles, websites. But tech is meant to make our lives easier—and these tools usually demand very low levels of commitment anyway. There’s nothing to lose when you use these tools, only some or a lot of time to gain. Alongside productivity tips for sales professionals, these work great.
Todoist Accomplish more, every day. Managing millions of tasks. Loved by millions of people worldwide.
Focuster Be more productive in just minutes a day. Let Focuster automatically manage your schedule for you.
All you need to do is focus on the next thing.
Streaks The to-do list that helps you form good habits.
Assistant.to Book meetings with one email. No back & forth. No double bookings. And it’s free!
TimeBridge Simplified, beautiful scheduling.
World Meeting Time A tool to plan your meeting in other time zones.
X.ai Personal assistant with artificial intelligence.
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