You really can’t have a serious discussion about Execution without talking about time; problem is that the context of the discussion is often wrong, especially when it is framed in the context of “Time Management”. Time Management is one of those feel good concepts that many buy into because it sounds good, but in reality offers little other than frustration to those who end up wasting their time trying to apply it.
What a silly notion, time management; let’s face it, time already comes pretty well managed, 24 sixty minute chucks fit nicely into a container of seven, which sits snugly into a carton of 52 to make a year, etc. The Lunar guys may wrap it a bit differently, the Gregorian version lags a touch, but as far as sales go, we all start out with 24 hours in a day, and no matter how much you “manage” it, there is not much of that you can change.
The real issue is time allocation!
What do you allocate your time – And – How well do you manage your activities in the time allocated to them.
Now I know some of you are sitting there saying “well that’s what I meant”; and how many times have you lost a sale because you said one thing and meant another.
This is where Attitude and Planning come to play. Part of planning on this level is the need to understand and pan to spend the “right” amount of time on those, and only those activities that deliver success. There are a whole bunch of things I can spend time doing that look good, look productive, look important, but do not contribute to success as measured by how close I am to delivering quota while at the same time delivering measured value to the client.
It is not as hard as it sounds, but in real life it is a lot harder than it seems. To get the most out of it you need to understand both what are the key must do activities to succeed with your sales, which is different than someone else’s, so we are not looking to pretend that there is a perfect set of activities. Second, your conversion rates, this will tell you how much time you need to spend on specific activities. You also have to make allowances for the known distraction, like real client emergencies, and other things that WILL come up, you they will, you just don’t know when and in what form. For a full breakdown and description of this see: Allocate Time – Manage Activities.
Once you allocate the proper amount of time to an activity, you need to stick to it, and stick to it for as long as you committed to. Don’t multi task, you are not an operating system, do the one thing you scheduled. Focus on the one thing and get it done, multitasking will just ensure that you don’t get a number of things done at the same time.
Another place where Attitude come is to play is around how you deal with distractions, all kinds of distractions, colleagues, the web what have you. I know it is easy to “go for a coffee” with a friend, especially when you are faced with doing something you don’t like, things like prospecting or driving the limb. One classic is “responding to a client” as a means of avoiding something that has to be done, and wasting time. If you allocate different periods during the day for voice mail, e-mail, then stick to it. There are very very few real emergencies, make sure you don’t fool yourself.
It takes a lot of discipline to execute, and it takes a lot of discipline to make sue you do what you have to before you run out of day.
What’s in Your Pipeline?