I regularly hear from sales managers who want to know how to help their reps with time management to increase their sales results. They see their reps wasting time and assume that if they managed their time better, they would close more deals.
In reality, time management is not actually the root of the problem. After all, it is possible to make more efficient use of time, but still not be doing anything effective.
The real issue is not time management, but priority management.
When sales managers help their sales reps identify and then focus on the top priorities, sales improve. As you work on this with your reps, there are two keys to keep in mind.
1. Don’t allow your reps to be ruled by “the tyranny of the urgent.”
Too many times, sales people get so easily distracted by doing things that are urgent that they neglect the truly important things. They may be so focused on filing reports or meeting other deadlines that they don’t get around to doing the most important things such as prospecting or making sales calls or closing opportunities. But when people keep the main thing the main thing, their performance improves and “time management” issues disappear.
2. Get clear about what your goals and plans are.
People are easily distracted when they don’t have well-defined goals or a plan for achieving their priorities. When a rigorous goal-setting program is implemented with accountability, “time management” problems improve, and so do sales results. Help your reps establish clearly-defined goals, and hold them accountable not just for achieving them, but for doing the individual activities and actions that will lead to their achievement.
If you believe you have a time management issue, examine the situation more closely. You will most likely find that what you really have is a priority — or lack of priority — management issue. Help your reps focus on prioritizing the activities that drive sales, and you’ll help them achieve the results you’re all looking for.
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