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Time Management: A Critical Key to Success

7 Feb, 2006 By: Marvin Himel imageSource

Time Management: A Critical Key to Success

“If you want to make good
use of your time, you've got to know what's most important and then give it all
you've got.” - Lee Iacocca

critical factor that separates professional salespeople from salespeople who
constantly struggle is the use of their time. Salespeople that are not
succeeding are controlled by time instead of controlling their time.

There are many salespeople that believe that although they are floundering now,
they will be more successful in six months down the road. What is amazing about
this is that they will be doing the same thing six months from now that they are
doing today. Einstein sums it up best, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and
over again and expecting different results.”


The best place to start is by understanding the difference between what is
urgent and what is important.

Urgent typically represents what must be done. Important usually represents the
things you would like to be done. To become effective managers of time, we need
to learn to place more emphasis on the important and less emphasis on the

Every day we are controlled by the urgent tasks that must be accomplished. The
phone rings, an email must be answered, or the boss has an urgent deadline.
Whatever happens, we respond immediately and out goes our plan for the day. It
is vital that you begin to understand that spending time doing things that are
strategic is much more important than simply accomplishing tasks.


● Important planning never takes place.

● Long-term projects continue to get put off.

● There is no time to learn or grow.

● Life is full of stress.

● Job burnout becomes inevitable.

● Productivity drops off by more than 60 percent.


The first step in gaining control of your time is to recognize that urgent tasks
should not always be the first priority. What is a priority in your life? The
best way to recognize a priority in your life is by how much time you give

Many people say their children are a priority, but most people spend less than
30 minutes a day with them. If something in your life is a priority then it
should get the time and attention it deserves.


Every salesperson should set an appointment on a daily or weekly basis to spend
time planning. Setting aside this time will help you become much more strategic
and put you in a position to improve your productivity. Make planning a

Plan how you are going to be more successful. Plan how you are going to
accomplish your short-term and long-term goals. The old adage “If you fail to
plan, you plan to fail” still remains true.


The foundation of time management is goal setting. You have to set goals to know
where you are going. Your goals should be the guide that lights your path to
success. To be successful in goal setting you should always remember:

● Set goals that are defined, realistic and obtainable.

● Set an appointment with yourself daily, weekly, and monthly to set goals.

● Focus at least 60 percent of your goals on strategic targets.

● Set up a system of personal rewards for accomplishing your goals.

● Have your goals posted where you can review them several times a day.


Between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. the successful salesperson should have
clearly defined priorities:

1. Closing appointment

2. Appointment set to present a proposal

3. Qualifying appointment

4. Initial appointment with a new prospect

5. Prospecting via phone or cold calling

6. Proposal preparation

Most salespeople argue with the “nine to four rule” because they feel like there
are always going to be other things that need to be done in the office between
those times. A few examples of these would be working on a quote or proposal,
which has an urgent deadline, returning an important prospect’s call or email,
and helping customer service solve a customer’s problem.

All of these can be urgent tasks that need to be accomplished. What the
salesperson has to determine is what the long-term impact of violating the rules
of nine to four are versus the gain of being in the office.


General Norman Schwarzkopf says that everyday he writes down the five most
important things to accomplish. It is great advice to follow. Whatever else you
do, get those five things done. Insist that the people who report to you operate
the same way.

The best time to set your five priorities is the day before. Listed below are
some examples of daily priorities that are strategic:

● Get with my boss and spend 20 minutes strategizing on how to close that big

● Spend 15 minutes a day reviewing my yearly goals and grade myself on what I
have accomplished so far.

● Spend 20 minutes a day on prospecting.

● Set an appointment with a strategic partner who can supply me with leads.

I see salespeople every day running around in a whirlwind of activity, which
typically generates few results. Do not confuse activity with sales success.
Spending time in front of qualified prospects will equal sales.


It is my firm belief that a successful salesperson will earn at least $100,000 a
year, which equals an hourly rate of $51.23. Every minute is worth 85 cents and
wasting just one hour per day costs you $12,500 every single year. Think about
it! Not using your time wisely can cost you a pretty nice family vacation.

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