Zig Ziglar, one of the most notable sales leaders of the 20th century, said that “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem.” Great sales agents cultivate time management skills.
They understand what is important to make a sale, and how to eliminate or delegate duties that don’t directly help them accomplish that goal. Because there are so many tasks that are potentially a part of the sales process, from cold calls to follow-up meetings, sales professionals must know which things should be delegated away and which things must be handled personally.
1. Scheduling Meetings
Although it is a good idea to get “in front” of potential clients as often as possible, scheduling meetings is one area where you can skip the extra face time. This repetitive task can consume huge amounts of time, especially when tracking elusive leads. Delegate this task to someone who knows your availability and has the time to make the necessary calls in order to the meetings scheduled. Since these kinds of calls require little expertise, virtually anyone can make them for you. By delegating these tasks away, you can focus on closing new business and supporting your customers.
2. Filing Expense Reports
Every moment you spend preparing and filing expense reports is time that you’re not spending on customer relationship management. Even so, it’s important that this kind of important documentation is prepared and submitted with care. Jim Lanzalotto, a manager at Scanlon Louis said in a recent Entrepreneur.com article, “Don’t outsource something just because you don’t want to do it. Sometimes there are things you don’t want to do but they are important to your core business.” Save yourself time and stress by outsourcing important documentation to professionals who can get the job done quickly and correctly. Spend the hours you’ve saved on managing your sales responsibilities.
3. Answering Phone Calls
Phone calls eat up more time than almost anything else in business. Professionals take phone calls all day long, but from whom? Consider how often your potential prospects are the ones calling you. It’s likely that for every potential lead that calls in, you’ve gotten 10 calls from managers, competing sales agents, or non-sales-related entities. Avoid the wasted time completely by delegating this responsibility. Not only will you free yourself up to have more productive face-to-face interactions more often, but you can have your “gatekeeper” filter phone calls by importance, giving you the freedom to call people back in the order of their importance.
4. Answering Emails
A recent independent research study by Atos Origin found that employees spend 40% of their work week dealing with non-work-related emails. That’s almost an hour a day that you and your staff could instead spend developing new business and prioritizing person-to-person relationship management. Instead of spending hours each day managing, filtering, and reading e-mails that will never result in an increase to your bottom line, consider investing in email software that helps with sales process automation . You can use this software to filter unwanted emails, leaving you with those that are an integral part of the sales process and which can contribute to the financial success of your business.
5. Prospect Homework
How much time do you spend preparing before you go into a big meeting? Because it is so vital to the closing process, it can be tempting to micromanage the research process. Depending on your industry, research can take anywhere from minutes to hours for a proposal. Real estate agents, for example, may have to make several calls, drive to various locations, or even have face-to-face meetings to get a warm lead. While you should be involved in the investigation process, make sure your secondary staff also learn about customer management for real estate agents, insurance agents, or other specializations as your industry dictates. They will become more knowledgeable and better able to help potential prospects, giving you the opportunity to focus on closing the sale.
6. CRM Profile Completion
Inputting and maintaining CRM profiles in databases often keeps sales personnel occupied when it shouldn’t. To the chagrin of both management and customers, this vital step often gets overlooked or done haphazardly. Large numbers of potential customers can be lost when busy sales agents forget to update CRM profiles or include crucial information. Automating this process through a professional CRM software will help you avoid this critical error. You and your agents can worry about making better person-to-person relationships, not about whether you have the right information to make your leads into loyal customers, once you automate this process.
- On Delegating