Prioritising time is crucial to achieve results

At 20NINE we talk about being sharp. With that we mean we value our own and others’ time. People working in sales are accustomed to goals and requirements to deliver results. What they also have in common is time, we all have the same time available, we just use it differently.

How is it that some sales reps always produce better results than others? Is just related to their sales skills or are there other factors at play?
The answer is of course YES and of it is how they prioritise their time.

Prioritising time is a factor to achieve great results

If you should achieve results it’s important to prioritise yourself, your results, yours and others’ time, i.e. be sharp. You don’t waste others’ time but you most certainly do not waste your own time!
In general, those that are successful in achieving great results are better at prioritising their time and not waste it on things that do not bring them closer to their targets.
They don’t stay in meetings that don’t bring them the elected results.
They don’t spend time on the “wrong” people, they don’t waste time on poppycock, they require respect for their time and they always know what to achieve with each activity they take on.
One of the most important insights a sales rep should have is: Prioritise time on the “right” people. So, who are the right people?
It’s people who
> are within the right target group for the company you represent
> have a problem you can solve or a request you can and should fulfill
> can make a decision about the deal
> wants to do business with you

Prioritise time for the right target group

It’s easy to fall into the behaviour to sell to anyone. That will however never give you the most efficient way to your target.
Here are some thoughts on how to think regarding prioritising time depending on if you work with incoming requests or work with more proactive outbound sales.

Incoming requests

It’s easy to answer any incoming resets, regardless of what type of potential customer asks. The potential customer is asking to get a quote or claim they want to do business with you? It feels comfortable, easy, and also flattering, right? I mean perhaps they even say they want us.
However, it might not be the right strategy to get the most efficient way to your target. To check the incoming requests towards the given target customer profile and only reply to them is a matter of long term efficiency.
You should only sell to those customers to get the most efficient sales and best possible hit rates.
Knowing what type of goods/services/products that you should answer is also a crucial priority. You should only answer those requests that really match your core business, not just because you can.
The focus should be on prioritising time on those customers that can give you the best revenue, profitability, and where you can deliver the best possible results.

Proactive outbound sales

When it comes to proactive sales it’s important to only indulge in dialogues with companies and people within your target group.
It’s this target group that will provide you with the fastest deals, best deals, become most satisfied, and create the most efficient way to your sales target. Any time spent outside this target group is actually a pure waste of time and should be aborted immediately.
In note scenarios, it’s really important to know the given target group and target solution. If you do not have a customer target group defined within your company I highly recommend reading this article that describes how you easily can create both the target company and the target person, you should be looking for.

Focus on results or just looking busy?

An important personal aspect that makes a big difference when prioritising time is our personal attitude towards our targets.
I have during all years I have been working with sales noticed that it often boils down to one single basic ingredient if an individual will reach the target or not.
It’s the drive to reach the target and the view upon targets in general.
There are plenty of people talking about how result-focused they are but fewer that are result-focused, for real, in reality.
Those that are result-driven, for real, are prioritising time carefully. They also have the ability to determine when its a good time to perform different actions, i.e. they have a solid sense of urgency.
They are always well prepared and also spend time during nights/weekends to be able to maximise their time during office hours, to be able to achieve the results.
They who claim to be result-driven but aren’t in reality often have the ability to look very busy and fill their workdays with a bunch of things to do.
They are very similar to politicians who believe it’s more important to participate in conferences, order investigations or just say the right things to make it appear they care and take action, rather than actually fight to accomplish true results.
All this might be a result of the society we live in. we are at the peak of civilisation and can, in many cases, not get it much better.
For many, it’s not worth the effort. What can I gain on an extra effort? That’s probably a very common question many ask themselves. I don’t need more expensive wine bottles or a better car, better house, better vacation, or whatever it might. Many people already have a good enough material standard.
In such a state its easier to go down the path of just looking busy rather than fighting hard to achieve targets and results.
I participate in so many meetings every day, I therefor must accomplish something is probably a perception many have. Few do however reflect over what actual results they have accomplished. Results that matter.
This is a danger for the company. There is always a more driven and hungry competitor and the company is only one recession away from a spiral down to bankruptcy.
If the competitors are not on the local market they exist internationally. In the global world, there are not only local competitors to consider and worry about.
Philosophically this also goes for whole communities, societies, and countries. If the inhabitants in a country become too satisfied they will lack the hunger and drive. In such a state another society will eventually take over.
It has happened so many times historically that society has gone backward in development and the people got it worse than before, just because the majority lost the hunger and drive to push forward. Rome is a great example of that.
We, therefore, need to secure we don’t base our drive purely on material success.
We need to do it based on pride in creating new things, making a difference, or just achieving results can in itself be IT.
It’s like physical exercise/training. It’s not always stimulating to go out when the weather is bad but if the target is going to be reached that session still needs to be done. You just have to push yourself.
It’s not enough to just walk around in sporty clothes and look sporty.
A wise person once told me: Andreas, there are no shortcuts, there is only hard work. That’s a motto I have always had in the back during al years and it has really helped me mentally.
It’s an insight that in the long run, it’s only hard work that makes a difference. Otherwise, you get crushed by the competitors. That goes for us as individuals, companies, and whole societies.
Therefore, always consider prioritising time and place it where you think you have the greatest opportunity to reach your targets most effectively!