Doubling your sales is simple, says speaker and consultant Brian Tracy, author of Time Power (AMACOM, 2004). Double the number of minutes you spend with customers and you will double your income, says Tracy. Here are his keys for managing your time the way top performers do.
- Focus on the single activity that produces the results you want. “Ask yourself: If you could only do one thing all day long, what would that thing be?” says Tracy. For salespeople, it would be face-to-face contact with people who can buy. That means salespeople must spend more hours in front of prospects and customers, and managers must free up time for their reps to do so. “Everything else is secondary,” emphasizes Tracy.
- Forget the concept of a 40-hour week. Effective salespeople work based on the results they get, not on the number of hours they’ve put in. “Stop thinking as a nine-to-fiver,” says Tracy. “You must think of yourself as a self-employed business owner.” Reps should plan on spending the prime selling hours – between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. – in contact with customers. All other activities, such as call reports, data entry and the like, should be done before or after business hours.
- Believe in the early bird. Surveys show the average salesperson makes his or her first call at 11 a.m., says Tracy. By procrastinating, these salespeople waste some of the most valuable hours of the day. His suggestion: Make your first call at 8 a.m. because then you’re up and running the whole day.
- Recognize when salespeople don’t want to sell. Salespeople avoid selling to evade pain and rejection. Instead of thinking they’ve hired the wrong folks, managers should recognize that this is natural, says Tracy. Once you’ve acknowledged this tendency, then you can develop ways to thwart your reps’ call reluctance. Tracy tells the story of one manager who took sales in his territory through the roof by making one simple move – he took out all the chairs in the office. This action made it clear that the office was no longer a place to gather and the salespeople figured that since they couldn’t just hangout, they might as well be calling on customers.
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