by Tibor Shanto – email@example.com
No this is not an alternate to Timothy Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek, a good read I would recommend, many applicable ideas for B2B sales pros; but this piece is about helping sales people deal with and conquer one of our biggest challenges.
One of the biggest reasons (excuses) I hear, and hear very often from sales people as to why they don’t have enough (any) prospects in their pipeline, is that they just don’t have the time to prospect. They tell me that by the time “I finish all the things I have to do, I just don’t have the time.”
In the past I have talked about the shortcomings of time management, preferring instead to focus on time allocation to the right activities. But still many people find it difficult to do “all” the things they have to before the clock runs out. This is interesting in that what they often end up doing is nowhere near as important as prospecting, after all, what can be more important than finding and engaging with future revenue streams? Based on work with sales teams, here is a way you can do all the important things you have to do in the course of a week including prospecting.
Let’s say you have a 40 hour work week, if you really are in B2B selling you know this is a hypothetical, but let’s go with it. Sales time is like a gas, it fills the space available, put no matter if it the canister is five litres or ten. I have seen sales people get as little done in 45 hours as in 40, whether their deadline is close or far, they always come right up against it. It is not simply procrastination, it is a question of habit; and sales people are not alone in this, people work to deadline, a rare few don’t.
Add to that the element that they don’t always commit their valuable time to the right activities, and these will differ based on what you sell, but you don’t have to watch sales people lone to see that some of the things we do are busy work and not revenue related work. It may make us feel good, you know like taking a customer service call, gabbing with that caller for 20 minutes, rather than passing them to the right person right away. Of course you then have to follow up to see how things ended, and after a 90 minute investment, you have little to show for it other than feeling good. Given that the average sales year is about 1,760 hours, do just that one thing once a week, and you’ve wasted 75 hours or almost 5% of your face time, or 5% of you quota.
Here is where the 30 hour work week comes in, rather than fighting to set aside a mere few hours to prospect, turn it around, pretend that your week is only 30 hours. Remember you will fill the time you have, so if you have 30 hours, you’ll do all the things you are doing now in 40, and then have 10 hours for prospecting, and maybe the football pool. Do this for a week or four, and it will become habit, and the next thing you know you’ll have more prospects, more money, and more time to run, more time with the kids, and money to boot.
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What’s in Your Pipeline?