Sales professionals enjoy lots of autonomy over their time, and those who manage it effectively often enjoy boosts in productivity and outsell their peers. On the other hand, practicing poor time management in sales causes wasted minutes to turn into hours and entire days. This proves especially problematic in commissioned sales — a position that doesn’t pay unless you sell, no matter how many hours you work. By following a few time management strategies, even the biggest procrastinators can learn to make the most of their selling hours.
Prioritize Moneymaking Tasks
In the sales profession, certain tasks make you money, while other tasks simply support those moneymaking tasks. For example, if you’re a mortgage professional who gets paid a commission from every closed loan, your daily tasks include calling prospects to solicit new loans, helping to process loans in your pipeline, and completing administrative tasks related to closed loans. If you prioritize these tasks based on what makes you money, you should call new prospects first, work on processing second, and do your administrative work last. If you don’t procure new business and ensure your pending loans make it to closing, you have no loans to process and no closed loans to file.
Focus on Singular Tasks
While you may hear workers bragging about their multitasking skills, this false confidence stems from a widespread myth that people can perform two or more tasks simultaneously without losing efficiency at either. Studies indicate that combining two duties, even simple ones such as walking while talking on a cellphone, reduces performance at both. For instance, think about how many times someone lost in a phone conversation bumps into you on the sidewalk. This lack of focus makes it important to break away from the multitasking mindset. Consider compiling a list of tasks to complete each day and working through the list sequentially. Try to focus all your attention on a single task until you complete it, then savor the feeling of accomplishment you get when you scratch it off your list and move on to the next item.
Keep Distractions at Bay
Picking up the phone and grinding through 100 cold calls in a work day requires focus and persistence. This crucial task becomes difficult when Facebook and Instagram beckon from your browser tabs, Tinder right-swipe notifications blow up your phone, or your coworker stalks the water cooler waiting to dissect last night’s game with you. If you want to make money in sales, you have to prioritize selling over fun distractions, as difficult as that may be. That might mean installing browser plugins that block social sites, consigning your smartphone to a desk drawer, and telling your buddy to chat with you after work. By employing time management strategies, you can boost your sales numbers without increasing your working hours or your sales skills.
Block Off Your Time and Take Breaks
You may find that you get more accomplished by blocking off your work time and taking short breaks between tasks. Many sales and business professionals use the Pomodoro Technique to do this, giving work their full attention for 25 minutes and then enjoying a five-minute breather. The key to staying productive when using this sort of time management technique comes down to giving your brain a quick reset by going on a fast stroll or savoring a glass of water. This helps you stay fresh so you’re ready to tackle more difficult tasks once you return to your work space.
Those with the drive to excel in sales — commissioned or otherwise — know that time management skills remain the most important factor for success. By keeping your work day on track and avoiding distractions, you can get through your key tasks at a faster rate while boosting your sales volume. The QuickBooks Self-Employed app helps freelancers, contractors, and sole proprietors track and manage business on the go. Download the app to see what it can do for you.