A Successful Sales Representative Must Manage Time

A successful architectural sales representative, must be an efficient manager of time, whether he is a direct hire or an independent manufacturers’ representative. Time is a sales representative’s major asset, so he must optimize his time to be a sales leader. Efficient time management requires planning. An efficient time management system begins with an Annual Marketing Plan that includes broad objectives that are in-tune and coordinated with a corporate plan. Using this broad plan, the time management system then incorporates prioritized daily, weekly, and monthly planning lists. Each list has a similar format with the daily list having the most detail and the weekly and monthly lists having broader action items. One excellent time planning system is based on a variation of what is referred to as the “Eisenhower Box,” developed by Dwight Eisenhower to help evaluate urgency and importance. The items on any of the planning lists with the highest priority are categorized as “Important and Urgent” and are given precedence over all other actions. They are sometimes referred to as “A” items in a planning “to-do” list. To place even more emphasis on the “A” actions, refer to them as the “Focus Actions.” At the end of the list are the “Not Important, Not Urgent” activities, sometimes referred to as “C” items. Many times these “C”s eventually get deleted from a list because they are simply not worth doing. “B” items are normally “Important but Not Urgent.” Here’s a sample of typical activities that might be included in each box: Urgent Not Urgent Important Close a large sale Visit a key customer Not Important Answer a minor service request Complete an unsolicited questionnaire   An example of a partial daily planning list is below: Sales Representative Planning List – Monday July 20, 2015 A – Focus Actions Close large order with “X” (a major customer ) Resolve urgent service problem Quote “Y” (another major customer) B Complete and file weekly expense report Handle minor service problem Complete call summaries for trip just completed C Talk to customer service about being slow to respond to customer complaints Follow-up on the shipping status of a relatively small order With computerized calendars, planning lists are easy to modify and update within a few minutes. Google and Outlook calendars are just two examples. Often, Focus Actions require much more time and thought to complete than the “B” and “C” items. There is a human tendency to complete at least some of the “B” and “C” items before a “Focus “Action,” because they are easy to “cross off the list.” This gives a sales rep satisfaction that considerable actions are being completed. In reality, time is being wasted and not focused on...

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