Sales Seminars - Nose to the Grindstone

January 1, 2004

3 Min Read
Sales Seminars - Nose to the Grindstone

By Tara Seals

Nose to the Grindstone

By Tara Seals

Do you feel like your time is not your own? Always under the gun and behind?
Do you wish you could spend more time with your family and less time catching up
on paperwork?

Overworking at the expense of other areas of life is a chronic problem for
the self-employed. Its time to take back your life, with streamlining,
goal-setting and better organization. All of these things bolster productivity
and free up time for yourself.

One way to balance workload with life is to take a step back and evaluate
your actions at the office. According to the United Kingdom-based Institute of
Business Technology, executives receive 75 percent more information than needed.
The average piece of paper in a medium-sized organization is handled up to 30
times before action is taken. Applying this to your own business, taking stock
of your everyday habits and information handling could go a long way to
streamlining — eliminating wasteful activities. Do you need to look at the
promotional flyer from AT&T at this particular moment? If not, leave it for
a time when things arent so busy. Throw away previous drafts of letters. Are
you inundated with useless spam e-mails that take forever to slog through?
Consider investing in a spam filter. Spending too much time talking with your
best customers or subagents? While customer service is important, learn to
eliminate needless calls and e-mails. And perhaps a short e-mail is a viable
alternative to a phone call to a chatty client.

Prioritization goes hand-in-hand. Know what is important. Clearly define
the most important aspects of your job and the effort that generates key
results. If you don’t know what that is, ask questions such as, What has the
greatest impact or value on your staff members or clients? What will
increase sales? Focus on the 20 percent that generates 80 percent of the
results, writes Gregory P. Smith, president of a management consulting firm
called Chart Your Course International, located in Conyers, Ga. His brief on
time management, written for the Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors National
Association, also notes that scheduling big tasks for peak energy periods
whether thats the morning, mid-afternoon or lunchtimeaids in focusing
mental and physical resources.

Another problem pressing on salespeoples time is the lack of realistic
expectations. Knowing when enough is enough is a key factor to achieving a
healthy balance of work and life. In theory, one could never have enough leads,
enough customer appointments or enough calls made. As a channel partner, you are
most likely your own boss; so its important to set limits for yourself, since
there is no organization to do it for you. The key is to set reasonable goals
for calls made per week, appointments set and customers visited, then enforce

A third area is organization. According to Pace Productivity Research,
managers spend an average of 30 percent of their time on administrative
activities, and only 9 percent on planning. Part of the reason may be that desks
become messy, files are misplaced and perhaps you havent had time to update
your Act! database in weeks. However, taking a day to get things in shape, once
a month, can go a long way to improving your productivity in the long run.
Investing in the right technology also can help. Computerized forms with
standard information already filled in can go a long way to reducing paperwork.

If you are interested in further productivity tips, check out these sources

University of Waterloo Tips:

Pace Productivity:

The Time Management Guide:

TEC for Chief Executives:

Chart Your Course International:

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