If you look at any group of hard-working sales professionals, some sell well above their quota while some barely make it. They all feel that they’re working hard and they all appear busy, so what’s the difference? When comparing mere activity to productivity, they may look alike from a distance, but activity and productivity are not the same.
The key to being productive is ruthless prioritization. To be productive, you must stay active in the right way, focusing on activities that move you toward your goal and leaving all else (the busy-work) aside.
If all your days are busy, but only some are productive, you need to analyze the specific tasks completed–weighing activity vs. productivity. Adjust your task list to include only the highly productive (essential) activities with the best ROI, leaving out non-essential, non-productive (“nice to have”) work. Here’s how:
- Track your activity. Which activities generate the highest dollar sales or bring in the most new clients?
- Group your tasks together. Don’t manage your time sequently. You will accomplish significantly more by following this simple step. For example, begin each day by prioritizing your “hot” follow-ups and scheduled calls or meetings, prepare and complete any required research, then make your phone calls, and then set aside time to send your emails. Then schedule lunch, schedule follow-up calls and perhaps allow some discussion time with colleagues.
- Carve out a specific amount of time for each task block. Follow your schedule and adjust time accordingly.
- Track your total productive time. Be honest with yourself. How much time was spent on those most productive activities? Were you able to stick to your schedule? Did you avoid the trap of sequential activities?
- Devote half your time to high-return activities. For a couple of weeks, eliminate or cut down the least productive tasks with the lowest ROI. You will start to notice how those activities diminish your productivity.
- Evaluate. Are you closer to your short- or long-term productivity goals? If not, re-analyze your “high ROI” set of activities, making sure they’re truly the highest-producing tasks. Compare your task list with more productive colleagues and adjust your list. After a few weeks, you should be able to complete more projects and close more sales.
For more on how to make the best use of your time so that you can sell more, contact the professionals at FRONTLINE Selling.
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