Time Mastery in Sales
Your precision guide to time well spent.
Alright, vet sales pros, let’s cut to the chase. Research shows that a lot of you are spending just 35% of your time actually selling. That’s right, only about 14 hours a week is dedicated to real sales work in a typical 40-hour grind. Want to double your sales? Simple math – double the time you spend on sales activities. You’ll still have a dozen hours for all that other stuff that doesn’t directly ring the cash register.
In the sales battle, autonomy is your best friend and worst enemy. Success isn’t about how free you are to manage your day; it’s about how disciplined you are in using that freedom. Sales success is all about self-discipline – or as I like to call it, “me management.” You can’t control time itself, but you can control what you do with it. Once the quarter’s gone, it’s gone. No do-overs.
Time management: The sales edition
In sales, especially when you’re dealing with busy clinics and animal hospitals, there’s only one thing that matters: winning opportunities. And to win, you first need to create those opportunities. This starts with setting up meetings. If you’re avoiding the phone like it’s a rabid dog, forget it. You’ll end up with too few meetings, too few opportunities, and a whole lot of nothing in the win column.
Remember, life’s a cause-and-effect game. You plant in spring; you reap in fall. This isn’t changing anytime soon, so you better get in line with nature’s playbook. Here are some time management elements that’ll help you stay on top of your game.
Element No. 1: Goal setting
First up, set your own goals. Sure, your company gives you quotas, but that’s their number, not yours. Set goals that fire you up, that connect with your ambitions. Align them with your quota if you must but make them yours.
Element No. 2: Planning your week and day
Your calendar isn’t just a bunch of boxes and dates; it’s a map of your priorities and commitments. Treat your sales activities like unmissable meetings. Plan your week before it kicks off. While others are sifting through emails for a game plan, you’ll be hitting the ground running.
Element No. 3: Killing distractions
Your smartphone, that little beast in your pocket, is your biggest interrupter. It’s essential for booking meetings, but it’s also a giant time-suck. And don’t get me started on the distractions your computer offers – internet browsers, Slack, emails. Cut these out when you need to focus.
Element No. 4: Cold outreach
Here’s a truth bomb: opening is the new closing. You can’t win if you don’t get in the game. Meeting strangers, that’s where the magic begins. Consistent prospecting equals consistent results. It’s not about how many calls you make, but how many meetings you book. One rep might need 60 calls for three meetings, another might nail it in 15.
Element 5: Chasing and sealing the deal
Created an opportunity? Now go win it. Spend a big chunk of your time chasing down these opportunities. If you’re focusing on creating and closing deals, you’re already miles ahead of your distracted, undisciplined competitors.
Don’t fool yourself with “I’ll make those calls tomorrow.” Tomorrow turns into never. Good intentions won’t get you in the President’s Club.
Element No. 6: Prioritize follow-ups
In sales, the fortune is in the follow-up. Develop a foolproof system for tracking and prioritizing your follow-ups. Remember, not every follow-up is created equal. Some are closer to the finish line than others. Focus on the ones that are ready to cross it.
Element No. 7: Leverage your networks
Networking isn’t just for finding new opportunities; it’s also about nurturing existing relationships. Your current clients can be a goldmine for referrals. Happy clinics and animal hospital staff talk, and their word carries weight. Tap into this resource. A referral is a warm lead that cuts through half your work.
Element No. 8: Self-education
Never stop learning. The veterinary sales field is evolving at a breakneck pace, and you need to keep up. Understand the latest trends, technologies, and treatments. Knowledge is power – it builds your credibility and arms you with the insights needed to connect with your clients on a deeper level.
Element No. 9: Embrace rejection
In sales, ‘no’ is just part of the game. Don’t let rejection slow you down; let it fuel you. Each ‘no’ brings you closer to a ‘yes.’ Learn from rejections. What went wrong? How can you do better next time? Keep refining your approach.
Element No. 10: Celebrate your wins
Recognize and celebrate your victories, no matter how small. This boosts your morale and keeps you motivated. Hit a tough quota? Reward yourself. Closed a challenging deal? Take a moment to bask in your success. These little celebrations keep the fire burning.
Element No. 11: Self-care
This might seem out of left field but hear me out. Sales is a marathon, not a sprint. Burnout is real. Make sure you’re taking care of your physical and mental health. Exercise, eat right, get enough sleep. A sharp, rested mind is your best tool in this game.
Element No. 12: Build a personal brand
In today’s world, you’re not just selling a product; you’re selling yourself. Build a personal brand that resonates with your clientele. Be someone they trust and want to do business with. Use social media, write articles, speak at events – get your name out there.
Time management in sales is about more than just keeping a neat calendar. You need to set and smash goals, cut through the noise, and make the most of every opportunity that comes your way. It’s about learning from your losses and celebrating your wins. It’s about taking care of yourself so you can take care of business.
Remember, in sales, time is more than just ticking seconds; it’s opportunities waiting to be grabbed. So, grab them and don’t let go.
Brian Sullivan, CSP is Founder of PRECISE Selling and a member of the National Speakers Association. Brian is author of the books “20 Days to the Top” and “PRECISE Leadership.” To learn more about Brian’s cold prospecting tips and sales process, reach him at [email protected]
Photo credit: istockphoto.com/Tera Vector
Photo credit: istockphoto.com/Tera Vector