One of the most common complaints I hear from salespeople is they don’t have enough time to sell. They spend their time following up orders, answering questions, and providing customer service. Handling these activities is a large part of being a good salesperson. However, when these actions are unplanned and uncontrolled they reduce the time available to prospect for new business.

Not All Salespeople are Organized

The problem may be a lack of organizational skills. When salespeople, or anyone, waste minutes and hours due to a lack of focus and methodology, it reduces the time available to work on important tasks—such as finding new business. Planning doesn’t happen on its own; time has to be made for important tasks. To make time, activities have to be organized. Here’s more on gauging the importance of a task. Why am I so Behind?

Organize Your Time

The key to having more time to sell is organizing your time by using simple time management tools. Follow up and repetitive tasks can be organized and scheduled. Activities that are repeated shouldn’t require a lot of thought. Using brain power to keep track of, and juggle tasks that could be handled in a reusable format takes time and thought capacity away from creative pursuits such as selling.

Step One: Use a To-Do list

Use a weekly planner and a daily to-do list to prioritize, track, and schedule actions. Taking the time to plan your week and day keeps tasks in focus. A lack of planning leads to folks following their noses, which in turn leads to time wasted on unprioritized and less important tasks than selling. Here’s more on creating and following a to-do list. To-do or Not To-Do.

Step Two: Set Notifications

A to-do list shouldn’t be bogged down with long-term follow-ups, projects in-waiting, or next month’s itinerary. Rather than wasting creative energy keeping track of future events, use notifications. Using an application such as Google calendar, or Outlook, for reminders saves brain power, which could be used prospecting for clients. Preparation for a future event is one thing, misusing time and energy, another.

Step Three: Create Checklists

Most routine and repetitive tasks can be simplified by using a checklist. For example, if part of the sales process is following up on orders a checklist can be used to avoid missing steps, document progress, and free up space in the hard-drive we call our brain. A checklist doesn’t need to be complicated it can be as simple as the following:

  • Artwork sent to design
  • Customer approval received
  • Material ordered
  • Project sent to production
  • Inspection completed
  • Shipped to customer

A simple checklist can be used to track and follow up on processes thus freeing time for more creative pursuits such as sales calls. Here’s more on checklists. Why you should use Checklists.

How Valuable is Time?

Time is the most valuable commodity any salesperson has. Time is precious and when it’s squandered it’s gone—forever. There is no time bank to save up seconds and minutes for when they’re needed. Spending the time to organize, schedule, and plan saves time. Weekly planners and daily to-do lists, notifications, and checklists create time to sell. How do you make time to sell?