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Plan your Work & Work your Plan

11 Dec, 2006 By: Howard Meltzer imageSource

Plan your Work & Work your Plan

We’re all prone to squander time and priority during our business day. What
follows is a quick refresher to simply refocus us and provide some "rules of the
road" to more efficient Time Management.

Time management is a set of skills, tools and systems that work together to
get more value out of your time with the aim of improving the overall quality of
your life. If you look at successful reps in our industry, more than their sales
skills or product knowledge, it’s their ability to productively manage time that
leads to real success.

The key to time management is to realize that you cannot possibly do
everything that there is to do; instead, you have to consciously decide what you
are going to do with the limited amount of time that you have at your disposal.

There is no mystery about managing time.  We have 168 hours each week to
work, eat, sleep, relax, exercise and interact with family. There’s nothing
magical about getting the most from these hours, it just takes effort and
planning. It requires self-discipline  until the behavioral changes are
internalized and become an everyday habit. Day Timers, Palm Pilots, Blackberrys,
TREOs and other devices are useless if one does not utilize them effectively.

Know what you want from your time

Set specific, measurable and attainable goals, such as banging out 50
telemarketing calls a day to increase your sales funnel by 30 percent over the
next three months.

Learn to understand the difference between urgent and important.

The important tasks are those that lead you to your goals and give you the
most long term progress. The trick is to understand the difference and act
accordingly. For example:

You’ve scheduled three hot prospect meetings for today but get a panic call
from your largest customer who is due for a round of upgrade leases. He needs
tickets to a sold out football game tonight and asks if you can help. You have
no idea where to find a scalper.

Both situations seem urgent, but are they really?  Instead of going into
panic mode, you think it through.  You call the local newspaper and talk to
someone in the sports department who refers you to a contact. You get the
tickets then call the customer who gladly sets up a meeting to put together
their order. To make up lost time you skip lunch and hold to your afternoon
schedule. By acting quickly, you covered both situations seamlessly. 

Respect your priorities

Aim to do the important things first. Remember the 80-20 rule: 80 percent 
of  reward comes  from 20  percent of effort.  Time Management helps you refocus
your priorities and your actions to give more attention to the most important 20
percent.  For example:

It is the third week of the month and you have nine prospects that are ready
to close.  You need at least three of them to reach quota.  Instead of trying to
set up closing appointments with all nine, which is unrealistic, you review each
one of them and rank their probability for a quick close.  By focusing on the
most likely prospects you have prioritized your chances for success instead of
trying to hit all nine of them equally.

Plan your actions to achieve your goals

Planning helps you identify potential conflicts and crises, minimizing the
number of urgent tasks, significantly lowering the time spent on routine
maintenance tasks (i.e. database input).

Most planning in a dealership follows a monthly cycle.  That’s the way we are
structured and thus the way we operate toward reaching one simple objective –
making quota.  It is truly a simple but critical proposition to sit down at the
beginning of each month to realistically review where we stand with each
prospect that carried over from the previous month, then project if, how and
when we’re going to move them forward to a sale. By soul searching our prospect
base and developing a specific plan to move each opportunity forward, we will
quickly determine which prospects are truly closeable and those that will slip
over into the following month. That, in turn, will trigger a strategy to close
the hot prospects and fuel the never ending need to prospect, prospect,
prospect.  This simple process will literally determine most activity for the
entire month, and reduce the number of "urgent" situations that can foul up an
otherwise smooth flow of business.

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