time management in sales


Ever wonder how the top 5% of sales reps secured their status as elite reps? They have all the best leads, quickly move opportunities down the pipeline, and appear to effortlessly close big deals. They rarely seem stressed as they line up call after call, sale after sale.

Time management in sales is a key to success

However, if you study the top sales rep closely, they don’t in fact have better territories, a better pool of leads or outstanding negotiating techniques. What they do have is the ability to effectively manage their day-to-day schedules in a way that employs time management techniques to optimize their opportunities for success and growth.

By practicing the following time management tips to create daily habits, you can join their exclusive membership.

1. Schedule everything.

That sounds like a no brainer, but let’s break it down a bit.

  • Prospects.

    Amid the sales calls, visits, and paperwork, prospecting seems like something you should do when you have time. But not necessarily. Prospecting should be a daily habit. Schedule an hour in your day to do nothing but explore your potential client base. While this may not be the most pleasurable task associated with sales, it is one of the most critical.

  • Administrative Time.

    You need time in your day to handle paperwork, customer issues, and other mundane chores that seem to sap productivity but are essential to keeping your existing client base happy and satisfied. By scheduling one hour during the day, you can handle all of these items while winding down for heading home. It has the added benefit of being able to start the next day with a clean slate.

  • Emails.

    If we let ourselves, our entire day would be spent answering and sending emails. Emails are the principal time drain for professionals, both on and off duty. Dedicate 3 or 4 times a day that you will check your emails and then handle it once. Open it, respond or complete the accompanying task, close it and then file or dispose. You will never get the time back that is whittled away by re-reading the same email multiple times to take action. Get it done and get it out of the way the first time.

  • Zoning for Outside Sales.

    For those sales professionals that are in outside sales, split your territory into 4 zones. Use a day per week to exclusively work that territory. If a client asks to see you, and they are outside your sector for that day, see if you can meet with them on the day you are scheduled to be in that area. Most clients, unless it’s imperative, are flexible enough to work with you.

2. Do your least favorite thing first.

After emails, more time is lost to anxiety than anything else. You will come up with the smallest innate things to do instead of the task you just do not want to do. But if you do it right away, before you can think too much about how much you do not want to do it, the rest of your day will flow better. You can approach the other more enjoyable parts of your job with anticipation and appreciate them even more.

3. Do not jump around with your tasks.

Whatever job you decide to do, stick with it until it is done. Multi-tasking is no longer a productivity buzz word. A study reported in the Journal of Experimental Psychology shows that completing a task before moving to the next one will result in a higher productivity level because you lose up to 40% of your productivity when trying to do more than one thing at the same time. Minimize interruptions and take on only those items that can be done in less than five minutes. Any more than that, push it to your clerical or administrative time to complete.

Make these tips daily habits. Be disciplined and stick to them. There will be people and events that challenge your commitment to manage your time better. Be choosy about exceptions; in fact, try not to make them at all, but if you do, get back on track right away.

Habits take commitment and dedication to do them every day. When you do, you can count on the time they give you to be better in every aspect of your sales universe. What tips or suggestions can you add to this list to increase sales and help others become elite sales reps too?

Are you a top sales rep for your company? Check out our 21 Questions & Objections Everyone in Sales Must Know to find out.