Keeping ourselves on the move feels great and it gives us a sense of self worth. In fact, I want you to try something out: go stand inside your office pantry or wherever your workmates stay during their breaks and casually eavesdrop on their conversations. Chances are, you’ll hear at least one person talk about their overladed schedule and how busy their week has been.
Nowadays our society seems to have an addiction to being busy. A busy person is viewed as someone who loves what he does and spends most of his time doing it. However, squeezing too many tasks in a small amount of time does not make a person productive. In fact, doing so will only keep your stress levels high. It puts your mind in a constant “survival mode” — a state which puts a toll on your health and well-being and eventually stunt your overall productivity.
The sales industry is packed with busy workers. However, the Docurated’s State of Sales Productivity 2015 research shows that salespeople “only spend ⅓ of their time selling.” What do they do to the remaining ⅔ of their work hours? Everything else, apparently. While I am not saying that they are spending the entirety of their precious work days dilly-dallying on their desks, they are still performing some tasks that seem gratifying but are actually counterproductive.
In light of this, I have listed below the top 3 most time-wasting habits that salespeople need to get rid of.
Salespeople need to master several skills before they can consider themselves successful. They must have the ability to persuade. They must have the ability to build rapport. They must know how to use their voice effectively. However, there is one ability that is often neglected.
The ability to pay attention.
If you’re a regular person living today, your attention span can only last for 3 minutes. Focusing — and I mean really putting every ounce of your concentration — on the task at hand is almost impossible. Why? Because we let ourselves be distracted.
How many times have you checked your email today? Your social media channels? Your phone? A lot, probably. When you’re calling a prospective customer, put all your attention into convincing them to close a deal. Don’t think about the next customer that you need to call because right now, the person you are talking to is the only one that deserves your attention.
This can take a lot of practice but once you do, you’re one step ahead of the game.
To be successful, you need to practice saying this one word: “no”. Saying no to distractions, unnecessary meetings, or needless networking events is good for your productivity. Let’s face it, you can’t do everything. No matter how skilled and enthusiastic you are, there are things that you just have to refuse. For example: a co-worker may ask you for help while you’re in the middle of a phone call with a customer and if you don’t know how to say no, you’re compromising your chances at closing a deal.
By being picky about the things you say yes to, you’re allowing other, more important opportunities to enter your schedule.
Like I said in the beginning of this article, people want to be seen as busy. Salespeople in particular are rather guilty deriving pleasure in living overly busy lives. When they are not moving, they feel vulnerable.
“I must attend that meeting.”
“I have to keep taking down notes.”
“I need to answer that email, ASAP.”
The sense of ‘fulfillment’ that you feel after doing something can be ecstatic. However, do you really have to spend one hour manually answering the same countless questions that your customers ask? Did your last meeting help you gain vital insights about your clients or did you just discuss the same old issues from previous meetings?
Take a look back at the tasks that you did today. Which ones could have been done in a more efficient manner? Perhaps you could make a template email that answers frequently asked questions. Or maybe you should start saying no to non-mandatory meetings. Learn how to differentiate the important from the urgent. If you can delegate a task to someone who can do it more effectively, ask for their help. Always remember that you do not always have to catch all projects that come your way.
Learning the art of time management is vital if you want to make as many sales as you can. If you feel overworked, perhaps it’s time to rethink your daily routine. By picking which tasks to prioritize, you will see your productivity blast through the roof.
So pay attention, say no, and choose tasks wisely.