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The most valuable asset a sales person has is time. Seasoned sales pros are adept at focusing their time on the right opportunities at the right time. This can mean thoroughly qualifying new prospects early in the sales process but, it can also mean tuning up the day to day time management techniques used by individual sales people.
Following are 5 simple time management techniques any sales person can implement today without spending much or any money to significantly increase their sales results. To be clear, while contact management or CRM software is one way to get organized and better manage time, these techniques can work without ANY technology so, don’t let the lack of the latest cloud based CRM stop you!
1) Keep everything in one place
New business cards, phone messages, emails, rumors, ideas – new sales opportunities can come from anywhere. Make it a point to be diligent in corralling all the sales intelligence you’re gathering every day in one place. If you’re not organizing, you’re drifting toward disorganization and that costs time and money. Use a day planner, rolodex, your iPhone, or your company’s CRM solution.
2) Separate sales contacts based on status
When things get crazy, you need to be able to put your fingers on the sales contacts you hope to close this month and focus on them. It takes too much time thumb through all your contacts to find the hot ones. Use a card file or a color coding system to make obvious the status of each contact, including existing customers. This is also helpful when it’s time to beat the bushes for new opportunities. If you’re able to quickly grab the list of old prospects that did not buy last year, you’ll be able to jump start your pipeline with a quick email blast or calling campaign.
3) Track follow up action items
Every time you talk to a lead or prospect, you agree to do something, “I’ll call you next Tuesday to see what you’ve decided.” Your follow through on these commitments, no matter how small, builds trust with your customers. Plus, spending time trying to remember who to call today can gobble up lots of time. Use Outlook or a day planner to write down follow up actions while you’re committing to them so you’ll always know what to do and for whom.
4) Keep a daily call list
Staying in touch with prospects can be a big competitive edge. It strengthens the relationship and keeps you in the driver’s seat. Making follow up calls and cold calls to new leads is an area sales people tend to procrastinate. Don’t let it happen to you. Plan a window of time in each day to make your follow up and prospecting calls. Make it early in the day, get focused and smile and dial!
5) Create a lead qualification and status sheet
When you connect with a lead or prospect, it’s easy to let the customer take charge. However, this can lead to the sales person spending too much time with the wrong prospects. Sales people can stay in charge of the process by focusing on qualifying each prospect by asking the right questions early on. Create a “Lead Qualification and Status Sheet” that lists the questions you need to ask each prospect and provides the typical answers in multiple choice form so it’s easy to circle the right ones. Create a place where you can note the size of the opportunity, product specifics, etc. that are helpful in your industry.
Following these simple suggestions can easily save hours per day for a typical sales person and increase sales results significantly by focusing time on the most productive activities. Of course, technology solutions like online CRM and email marketing systems take sales organization up to the level of sales automation. However, no sales person should be guilty of waiting for the perfect technology to be provided by their management. Get organized now the old fashioned way if you have to and you’ll be ready to leverage online CRM solutions to take things to the next level.