This post has been contributed by Jessica Magoch
Many people join sales organizations or start their own companies so they can have the flexibility of time to do other things they love like spending more time with their families and using the increased income to enjoy their life to the fullest. However, if you’re working 80-hour weeks that defeats the purpose, right?
As often as people tell me they’re surprised at how much I get done, they’re as shocked that I get it all done between 9:00 AM and 2:30 PM Tuesday through Thursday, the only time both of my young children are in school. Because my family is my top priority, I want to spend more time with them than anyone else (before having a family, it was spending more time traveling and relaxing on beaches!). So I’m challenged to get in the same amount of work as my competitors in a very short period of time.
Today I’m going to share my Top 10 Hacks for Making More Sales in Less Time so you can be more productive with the time you have and spend more time doing other things love.
- Schedule everything.: The key to getting everything done is to schedule it! Take time once a week and once every morning to schedule and plan your week. Scheduled when you will check emails so no one books you, scheduled when you will complete time consuming tasks like drafting proposals and employee check-in meetings. Control your schedule by not letting people book you when you’ve booked yourself. For instance, if prospecting for customers is not the first thing you do every week, soon the week will come to end and it will not get done. Make an appointment with yourself for prospecting, and don’t let anyone else book over you. Making sure you schedule properly will actually open up more time, keep you focused, and make sure your sales pipeline is healthy 3-4 weeks from now.
- Get an online booking link: Use a scheduling tool like youcanbookme.com or Doodle to schedule meetings. Why take 3-4 emails back and forth to schedule a meeting when you can simply send someone your availability and they can choose what works for them? This tool also reminds them of the meeting and gives them a link if they need to reschedule. Doodle is great for coordinating meetings with multiple people, You propose possible times, send out a link and the attendees check off which times they are available. This one little tool will save your hours per week of frustrating emails and the possibility of losing a client because it took too long to decide on a meeting time. One tip, however, only send out your link when you’ve agreed to a meeting prior. The worst cold emails include a booking link to schedule an appointment. It’s just too soon.
- Don’t Put Down The Phone: When you are making calls, whether it’s cold calls, follow-up calls, warm calls etc., spend the time upfront to create a list that you can call immediately one after another. Turn off all distractions and start your calls. Type your notes on the call while you wait for the phone to ring and while you are talking. Jot down any tasks that need to be completed related to that client on a separate to-do and do not complete them (however tempting) until you have finished all your calls. You will not be able to get through all your calls if you stop in between to draw up proposals or send out information. Turn off all distractions and don’t hang up the phone until you get through all the calls. Literally: Do not put down the receiver. Challenge yourself to dial the next call before the dial tone stops. By focusing on one task at a time, you will get more done because it takes time for your mind to shift from one task to another.
- Limit checking email twice per day: Email is probably the biggest time sucker of every professional today. Do not let email run your time. Limit checking your email to twice per day. Set expectations with your team and your clients that urgent issues should be directed to phone or text, otherwise, you respond to emails within 24 hours. Most people will find that reasonable as long as you let them know upfront and you’ll find that there are not as many emergencies as previously conveyed! Another tip is to avoid using your email as a task list. If you can respond within 5 mins, do so, if there is task you need to complete, create a task on a separate task list with a deadline attached to it. Target having an empty inbox every Friday afternoon and you’ll be able to enjoy your weekend much more! Finally, use a service like unroll.me to “roll-up” and unsubscribe from email lists.
- Install Boomerang for Gmail: If you use Gmail, get Boomerang for Gmail. It allows you to schedule emails ahead of time, “boomerang’ emails so you are reminded to follow up, and also track emails.This prevents you from having to create a separate task for each follow up to an email you have sent. I also Boomerang internal emails so I can send an email and not have to worry about remembering to follow up.
- Take care of your Mind, Body, and Soul: There’s nothing like hitting a wall during the day and suddenly feeling tired, uninspired and unmotivated to complete tasks. Taking care of your mind, body and soul through healthy eating, exercise and meditating will pay off for you in productivity during the day. Learn when your mind and body are most productive and schedule important tasks for those times of day. Invest in personal development resources so you don’t get emotionally attached to sales such that the win or loss of them drains your energy.
- Invest in Sales Training: Ok, maybe this is a little plug for myself, but I believe wholeheartedly if you want to get great at something, you need to become an expert at it, and that means becoming a student first. Get yours hands on as many different sales methodologies as you can and apply them all to create the strategy and scripts that work for you. By starting out where others have left off, you’ll save yourself thousands of hours and dollars of trial and error to figure it out on your own. And it doesn’t have to involve using sales tricks that are icky, sleazy and just plain annoying. You can check out our library of online course offerings here: magicsalesplaybook.teachable.com
- Outsource: Your time is valuable and your time is worth real money. If you own a company or you are selling for a company, closing deals is extremely valuable. Decide what your hourly rate is, and, as you complete tasks during the day, ask yourself, “Is this task worth $X per hour?” If you are worth $250 per hour and you are completing $10 per hour tasks or even $50 per hour tasks, you are not using your time optimally. Outsource anything that can be done by a lower priced freelancer or employee. You’ll make more sales because you can spend more time selling than doing admin.
- Qualify Your Customers: It is a big waste of time to set appointments with customers who are not qualified for your product. Make sure you properly qualify customers upfront so that you know they can say, “Yes!” directly after your presentation and avoid objections you can’t overcome like “I can’t afford it,” and, “I have to think about it.” This is the key to shortening your sales cycle and making sure you don’t burn out.
- Design a Sales Playbook: Every well-operating company has manuals – manuals for every department that document processes within the organization. Sales is no different. A Sales Playbook outlines the sales process step-by-step and documents what works for you so that you can replicate it in other people. The key to growth is to be able to duplicate yourself. A Sales Playbook is a sales manual that anyone can read through front to back and know how to sell for your company. I’ve created this free Sales Playbook Template that you can start filling out today: template.magicsalesplaybook.com
What next? Schedule a time to start implementing each of the above tips. You’ve invested about five minutes reading this article, so take the time to apply the tips and see the payoff.
Let us know your own productivity hacks below!
About the Author: Jessica Magoch is CEO of JPM Sales Partners, a sales training and consulting firm. She teaches people how to sell (without being icky, sleazy or just plain annoying) in one-on-one consulting programs where she designs Sales Playbooks for startups, live training engagements and online training programs in her school, The Magic Sales Playbook.