Time Management graphic by Geoff Winthrop

Time Management: Best Friend or Worst Enemy?

At Acquirent, we pride ourselves on our top-notch sales training for our sales professionals. Over the past 11 years, we have continued to refine and perfect our “Sales Fundamentals” training series–a 12 week course we require all new hires to complete. Each class is led by a member of Acquirent’s senior leadership, covering topics crucial for success in sales, such as Attitude, Resolving Objections, Asking Good Questions, Listening Skills, and The Pitch.

I have had the great fortune of leading the session on “Time Management.” I always start with a disclaimer:[/fusion_text][imageframe lightbox=”no” lightbox_image=”” style_type=”none” hover_type=”none” bordercolor=”” bordersize=”0px” borderradius=”0″ stylecolor=”” align=”none” link=”” linktarget=”_self” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” hide_on_mobile=”no” class=”” id=””] [/imageframe][separator style_type=”none” top_margin=”” bottom_margin=”” sep_color=”” border_size=”” icon=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_color=”” width=”” alignment=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_text]Exactly because I struggle with it, the team thought it would be a great idea for me to present on this topic…brilliant! But actually, it makes a lot of sense as I have spent countless hours/days studying up on the topic, reading all sorts of books, and even attending seminars in order to improve this area of my life.

The following are a couple nuggets that I’ve picked up along the way that I hope are helpful in advancing your sales career:

  • 168 Hours in a Week – No matter who you are, you only have 168 hours in a week (no more no less). Why is it that people like Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, Barack Obama and so many more can accomplish so much when others accomplish so little?
  • Time Management = Self-Management – With that being said, it turns out that Time Management isn’t about managing time…it’s all about managing yourself!
  • Where do you spend your time – A crucial exercise is cataloging everything you do and then categorizing it into buckets. Stephen R. Covey (time management guru) talks about tasks falling into one of four separate areas, as outlined in the grid at the top of this post. He advises concentrating on important but non-urgent tasks. Frequently, sales professionals spend too much time in the not important, not urgent area. Focus as much as you can on your highest valued tasks.
  • Stop Multitasking – In today’s fast paced, web-centric society–many pride themselves on their ability to multitask. It turns out the human brain was not programmed to multitask very well. In my presentation I have everyone do a practice drill. I challenge folks to write the sentence “multitasking is worse than a lie” and then write the numbers 1 to 27 out as fast as they can while I time them. After that’s done I ask them to do the same, but this time write the letter followed by the number (example M 1, U 2, etc.). What everyone quickly realizes is that it takes them twice as long to get the same result. Same goes for sales!

I always end my presentation with some best practices, such as:

  • Preparing in Advance (set Daily Goals)
  • Schedule Your Time
  • Start Early
  • Improve Your Organizational Skills
  • Increase Your Productivity (learn to say “NO”)
  • Complete One Task at a Time
  • Concentrate on Highest Value Task

I hope you find these tips and tricks as useful as I have!

Happy selling!