7 Ways To Manage Your Time In Sales

Time management is an important skill no matter what industry you work in. Lawyers must balance their time between multiple clients, truck drivers must be efficient in reaching their next stop in the time allotted, and managers must attend to their own duties while overseeing operating hours and other employees. So also must salespeople be efficient at managing their time between visiting and piching prospects, servicing their current customers, attending networking events, and acquiring new leads for additional business.

Outside sales reps, in particular, must be able to manage their schedule and still keep up on their book of business without necessarily always having a desk or office with a secretary to manage such things for them. Fortunately, there are ways you can begin to improve upon your time management skills in order to become a more effective salesperson. Here are a few ideas for your consideration.

1. Prioritize and manage your schedule.

With the advent of the smartphone, technology has continued to make managing your schedule even simpler than ever. You can manage events in your calendar right from your phone, whether you’re an inside rep sitting at your desk, or an outside rep on the go to see your next prospect. You can also utilize a hand-written calendar at your office to write down notes and schedule meetings while doing some code calling or planning your networking activities for the upcoming week(s). Keeping a detailed schedule will help you to better prioritize your daily activities and make your all the more efficient at managing your own schedule. 

2. Plan for time in front of customers.

It might not take long to pitch your product or service to a prospect, and really an experienced sales rep will be able to close a sale before he/she even finishes the pitch, but just like other unforeseen distractions occur, so also do extended pitches in front of customers. This being the case, it is important that you provide yourself with enough time to get through the whole pitch and answer questions the prospect may have, as well as time to fill out any documents or contracts before scheduling your next meeting for the day.

3. Utilize a flexible time management system.

No matter how efficient your schedule or time management system is, there will always be unexpected distractions and interruptions that you will have to deal with on a daily basis. An inside rep, for example, may end up having an unexpected meeting with a supervisor, or an outside rep may end up in traffic because of car accident on the highway. It is important that you allow yourself enough time in your schedule to get from one meeting/activity to the other. Avoid clustering a bunch of activities into one day, especially if you have to travel between activities. Try and spread your meetings and other activities out over the course of your week; this will also allow you some extra time to schedule last minute meetings without having to cancel on someone else or skip something important like a networking event.

4. Include networking in your schedule.

Most of your time in sales is spent pitching prospective customers, making code calls, and traveling between meetings. Another key element to your success, however, will be your ability to network your product, as well as yourself as a professional. Set aside time in your calendar to attend networking events. This could include attending a specific networking event through a service like Meetup.com, going to a lunch for your Chamber of Commerce group, or going out to local businesses to drop off information on your company and/or your business card.

5. Schedule time for improving your sales skills.

A day in the life of a salesperson is always guaranteed to be slightly hectic and, at times, even more frustrating. Going through a dry-spell of not closing any deals can also do wonders to worsening your mood and negatively affecting your attitude. In order to stay on top of your ability to close deals and manage your time, set aside some time to practice your sales skills. This could mean reviewing your pitch out-loud or to a family member or coworker, or simply reviewing your product knowledge in order to come up with new approaches to selling your product.

6. Plan for advancement.

If you plan on moving up from your sales position into a management position, make an effort to review the necessary skills required to get the promotion, as well as any additional educational credits or other certifications you may need to fill the position. In the sales industry, staying in your sales position is a perfectly acceptable career choice, mainly because most sales positions have uncapped earning potential, but if you do plan on moving to a higher position with the company, setting aside some time in your schedule to plan for it is another great way to practice good time management.

7. Take time away from work.

Although your time is precious, especially in the sales industry, taking some time away from work is also important. Many sales professionals may feel that taking a vacation means losing out on potential sales, but going for extended periods of time without a break can quickly lead one to feel burnt-out and have even more negative affects on one’s personal life. Spending time with family and friends in your spare-time can do wonders in keeping up your energy and positive attitude, and reducing your stress level.